This month I would like to clarify the annual NYS inspection program that’s been in use for about 5 years for vehicles 1996 and newer.
Many people think inspections are hassle free and for the most part they are with a few exceptions. All vehicles get a safety inspection no matter how old or new they are. Vehicles 25 years or older only get a safety inspection and are exempt from emissions testing. Vehicles 1995 and older still get emissions testing but as of January 2011, NYS only requires a visual inspection of all emission control devices. They must be in place and in working order. Vehicles 1996 and newer get a different kind of emission test. There are no tailpipe tests. These vehicles use a newer computer strategy and monitor their own emission all the time through the use of more sensors. The inspection procedure involves plugging in to the cars computer diagnostic connector and checks for trouble codes and readiness monitors.
Trouble codes are codes that are set and stored in your computer’s memory when the check engine light comes on. This means that your computer has detected a problem that can affect the emissions. If this light is on you will not pass inspection. Your car has to be diagnosed, repaired and the check engine light must be turned off which clears the trouble code.
Readiness monitors are your computer’s result of testing your car’s computer system as you drive. Your car must have enough monitors set to ready to pass inspection. These monitors stay in the memory of your computer until you either clear the trouble code, (turn off the check engine light), disconnect the battery or have a dead battery which changes the readiness monitors to NOT ready. Once this is done you have to drive the car in a certain manner, highway and local driving, to get enough monitors ready to pass the inspection. We drive the car hooked up to a scanner and watch the sensor readings to make sure the car is ready for inspection.
So you see inspections can get complicated if the check engine light is on. That is why it’s bad to ignore the light. Eventually you will have to fix the car and it’s bad to wait until the end of the month to get your sticker.