If you are like most people in New Mexico, it’s shocking to find out that your license plate tags are expired and you didn’t get a notice in the mail. You then decide to get your emissions test but fail because your check engine light is on. Grrrr the frustration begins.

This guide is to help you save some time, and hopefully money, before you have your cars emissions test done.

Bernalillo County is the only county in New Mexico that is required to have emissions testing done on vehicles. If the vehicle gross weight is over 10,000 lbs. testing is not required. If the vehicle is over 35 years old testing is not required. If your vehicle is older than 1996 but less than 35 years old, the vehicle is required to have a tailpipe test. Diesels do get tested and so do hybrids.

The first and basic start of each emissions test begins with a visual test. The technician looks under the car to check for holes in exhaust, and to make sure if the vehicle is supposed to have a catalytic converter that it indeed has one. Also the vehicle has to have a gas cap and correct one for the vehicle.

The next step is to check the function of the check engine light. This is a simple and easy test you can perform yourself. Start by turning the ignition key to the on position but don’t start the vehicle. The check engine light should illuminate and then when you start the vehicle it should turn off. If you do this and your light doesn’t illuminate, then you will fail your test. Bernalillo County Air Care stations are not allowed to tell you this during the test. They will complete the entire test to tell you it failed and collect your money.

Do yourself a big favor and check your light yourself. If it doesn’t illuminate, it will fail. If it stays on while the vehicle is running, it will fail. If you lost your gas cap and didn’t put a new one on, it will fail.

When checking your check engine light, the various manufacturers have different styles of the check engine light. Here are a few examples of what they might look like.

Here at Dan’s Automotive we can diagnose and fix emissions related issues with your vehicle.

So if your due for emissions testing check your light before your go. You could save some time and money.

Posted by DansAuto on May 15, 2019