Your Car Failed Emissions Testing

At AAMCO Colorado we take great care to keep you informed about your car and all its systems, as well as keep your car on the road with scheduled maintenance services and repairs, including full transmission repairs and rebuilds. We handle exhaust systems, too, so if you fail your Colorado emissions test, don’t worry – AAMCO Colorado can help!

Emissions testing can be a real inconvenience, but is a requirement to drive a registered vehicle in the state of Colorado. Emissions testing is important because it helps to minimize the impact of automotive pollutants on our environment and helps keep our air clean and breathable. Emissions also influences engine performance, so if you’ve failed, your car may not be getting peak performance or fuel economy. If your car fails emissions testing, repairs must be made to ensure it is compliant with local and state laws before it can be registered legally.

What do I do after I fail the test?image - Colorado Rocky Mountains

If you fail the test, the DMV will not register your car, therefore you will not be able to obtain a license plate for your vehicle. There could be a number of reasons to explain why your vehicle did not pass. You may have failed because the check engine light was on, the OBD (on-board diagnostics) diagnostic trouble codes are set, or more emissions were emitted than allowed. Alternately, it may have failed because of visible smoke, missing equipment such as a catalytic converter, oxygen sensor, or gas cap.

You are responsible for getting necessary repairs made to your vehicle before you can have it retested. Upon completion of the test, you should receive what’s called a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) from the testing facility. This should detail what areas failed during the testing process. It is recommended that you take this report with you to your preferred mechanic for them to review and help address the areas of concern. In a majority of cases, simple fixes are required to get the car back into optimum condition. Once you are confident the repairs have been made, your technician will need to complete the back of the form, and you may now return to the testing facility where you’re eligible to be retested.

What do I do if I fail twice?

Though uncommon, it is entirely possible that you have failed an emissions test, made the required repairs, and then failed again. In these instances, some states are willing to cut you a break if you can prove that you have gone through their processes. If your vehicle has failed more than twice, you have several options available to you.

  • If you have spent $715 or more on emission related repairs (this is not including the fee for inspection or replacement of components that were identified as missing or broken) you may be eligible for an emissions repair waiver.
  • If you’re currently received public assistance and the vehicle is not smoking or missing critical emissions components, you may qualify for an economic hardship time extension.
  • If you or your mechanic have completed necessary repairs, but spent less than $715 required to qualify for the waiver, and your vehicle still does not meet emissions requirements, you should contact one of Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Emissions Technical Center.

If you have found yourself in this frustrating position, you are not alone. Schedule an appointment at your preferred AAMCO Colorado location and we can help you better understand why your car did not pass. Even after you do pass your emissions test, it is important to make sure you have your vehicle regularly maintained. Make sure you have the Muffler and Exhaust System regularly inspected and repaired as needed. You can help keep the environment clean and clear by simply maintaining your vehicle!