Why Do We Have Emissions Testing?

What’s the deal with emissions testing? Hint: There are benefits beyond air quality. 

Clean Air Colorado is the official emissions testing company for gasoline powered vehicles in the state of Colorado. Diesel emissions testing is conducted by third-party automotive repair facilities. 

The most obvious reason for emissions testing is air quality. Long-timers in the Denver metro area remember well the days of the “Brown Cloud.” Ensuring good air quality is important to everyone in the community, especially the young, the elderly, and those with respiratory illnesses. 

To pass an emissions test, the emissions equipment on a given vehicle must be working properly, and the engine itself must be running efficiently - not smoking or sending excessive unburned fuel or combustion byproducts out the tailpipe.  

The hidden upside of having to keep your car in good enough condition to pass emissions is that it will be more fuel efficient and last longer, saving you money over the course of time.

If you ignore a check engine light, you may end up with a variety of problems that can be very expensive to repair. Damaged catalytic converters, for example, typically cost hundreds of dollars to replace. 

Making needed repairs as soon as possible is virtually always less expensive than waiting. Even if you are not experiencing driveability issues, chances are good damage is being done. 

Oxygen sensor replacement is a fairly common emission-related repair: Oxygen sensors provide real-time information for the fuel system in your vehicle. An engine running too rich or too lean will soon develop problems and may require significant repairs. 

Cars less than seven years old are exempted from emissions requirements in Colorado, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore a check engine light. Drive-through testing in traffic is an easy option - you may have seen the vans on highway entrance ramps.  

If your check engine light is on, get it checked out. If you have failed an emissions test, get your vehicle repaired. Keeping your car or light truck in good running condition is not only a requirement, but doing so will maximize reliability and efficiency, and has strong potential to save you money in the long run.

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