OT - Check Engine Lights, Computer Codes and Passing Inspection

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On Sun, 5 Jan 2014 15:55:47 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

Part of the issue I found with these things is that there is an issue I didn't see mentioned here and that is whether the reset has been reset (I forget the right terms). Basically you can make the CEL go out by clearing the error codes and starting over. There are several tests the system needs to run but they are not like the constant "listening for a spark misfire" tests that's always running. For example, once or twice a day the computer will test the EGR by purposely sending it a signal to OPEN WIDE which will cause the engine speed to drop. By monitoring the engine speed during this brief ERG open cycle the computer an tell that the EGR really is working... if the engine speed didn't drop it would mean it wasn't opening when the computer told it to open. But this isn't a "test" that is run all the time, just occasionally. So if you take it in for inspection right after you have reset the computer those tests will not "be ready" to be read and you will fail the inspection, not because something is definitely wrong, just because the test have not been run by the computer yet. They usually say "drive it for a few days" and get it retested because by then these tests will have been run and stored. As far as I know that's the only thing that will get you other then if the CEL is actually on. I went thru this with the last used car I bought due to, what else, the EVAP system causing the CEL to go on. I reset the system and went to the emissions test and it "failed" due to the "monitors not ready" (I think that's what it's called).
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It won't pass if the monitors are not set - that's how they know if the codes have been recently erased.

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On Sat, 4 Jan 2014 23:33:23 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

I thought if you disconnected the battery it cleared all the codes. Do it down the street from the inspection center and hope you don;'t have a failure before you get there.
OTOH if this is "history" you can always say that was a long time ago and you had that problem fixed. They can only fail you on an existing condition.
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On 1/4/14, 6:44 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Was anything said about 'readiness monitors'
More here:
http://www.dmv.ny.gov/broch/c114.pdf
Yea, I know this is from NY, but it's much the same song/dance anywhere emission testing is done.
Disconnecting the battery, or code clearing resets the things, some of which take a few days and some driving to 'reset'
Erik
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That's an interesting brochure. I read the part about the "generic drive cycle". I tried to imagine a time and/or place where a driver could safely perform the required steps. A major highway, like an interstate, at three in the morning is about the only place where it would possible to drive 55 for three minutes, coast down to 20, go back up to 55 for five minutes and then cost to a stop.
However, getting to the interstate will not allow the cold start portion of the cycle to be adhered to. I guess you have to drive to a rest stop, take nap while the vehicle cooled down and then perform the routine.
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On Sun, 5 Jan 2014 15:55:48 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

The cold start portion will reset the next day if everything else is OK.
It is because of this issue that ONE readiness monitor failure is allowed for a pass in Ontario - and is the loophole that allows a faulty vehicle to pass if you work it right.
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On Sat, 04 Jan 2014 21:44:01 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Not true. If you disconnect the battery on an OBD2 vehicle the code stays. Period. If the light goes out and a history code exists - you fail. If you clear the codes just before testing - you fail.
They CAN fail you for conditions that do not exist at the moment - it needs to pass all required tests - in Ontario that means you can have one "monitor" unset - but not two. Not sure if all areas allow that one "grace" monitor. Resetting the codes unsets the monitors
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On Saturday, January 4, 2014 9:44:01 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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As CL stated, that's likely a guaranteed failure. The emission testing they do uses the data from the computer. They aren't just looking for the check engine light to be on, or for fault codes. They are looking for data that affirms the car emission system is working correctly. Specifically, they look for a list of emission monitors that must be set by the car computer, which says they are OK. When you clear the computer, those all get cleared and the car must be run/driven for some period of time before they get set again. Some get set within mins. Some, like the evap system one, can take hours or a day of two to get set. I think here in NJ they allow you to still pass if one of those is not set. But if you clear them all and drive a mile to get it tested, almost certainly it will fail.

I don't think any stories are going to have much effect, nor are they needed. As you say, they only fail you for an existing condition. And if the puter says it's not right, I don't think any stories are going to prevail.
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On Saturday, January 4, 2014 9:44:01 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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Here in Maryland they won't test a car if the memory has been reset within a certain number of miles.
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wrote:

They can't tell how many miles it's been since it was reset. They will not test if any monitors (or a certain number of monitors) are not reset.
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On 01/04/2014 05:33 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I think it could depend on what state, and what county within the state, you are in.
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On Sat, 4 Jan 2014 23:33:23 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

Don't know about where you are, but in Ontario you can have one monitor not set and still pass as long as the light is out and no code. If the monitor sets and the light comes on before the test is done, you are out of luck.
If you have 2 or more monitors not set, it fails - period - light or no light - code or no code.
Evap is one of the monitors, and to be sure the monitor will not set, keep the tank below 1/4 tank or over 7/8 because the monitor cannot set under those parameters..
You need to make sure the other monitors all set or it WILL fail. A good scanner will tell you if the monitors are set
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On Saturday, January 4, 2014 11:05:00 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

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I'm pretty sure it's the same here in NJ, you can have one monitor flag not set and still pass. I think they even allowed two for older vehicles. Best of all is older diesels, prior to like 94, I think. You no longer have to get them inspected at all here.
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On 01/05/2014 10:47 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Here in Wisconsin the state no longer does the testing, they have authorized independent service stations to perform the test so there is obviously some possibility of abuse.
Though there are safeguards, there are ways an unscrupulous service facility could con people into getting costly "repairs".
If you have a well known mechanic you know you can trust,,,that's the best router. Since the place where I go is not on the state-authorized list I just have it done when I get my oil changed at one of the national chains and where the person who runs the test is not going to gain monetarily from a repair.
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In my state the inspections have been done by "state authorized facilities" for as long as I can remember, about a half-century. Used to be there were three types of inspections stations: straight-up, no nonsense stations where they inspected your vehicle, passing it or failing it and telling you what was wrong if it failed; unscrupulous stations that would fail the car saying it required repairs; and stations where you could ride in on a bicycle and ride out with an inspection sticker for your "no way it would pass inspection ever" vehicle. Some stations were a mixture of a couple of these.
Many, many years ago I had a mechanic friend who took his vehicle in for an inspection and they failed it for a cause my friend knew to false. He called the state who sent a DMV rep to his house. The rep and my friend drove over to a different authorized station and the rep asked the station to check the part that "failed". There was nothing wrong with it and the state pulled the other station's inspection privileges for a year. Turns out it wasn't the first complaint against the station.
These days, with all of the emission data being sent to the state via the computer, I think it would be hard to fake a passing inspection and just sell stickers like they used to. I'm sure it's still done, but I do know of a couple of small repair shops that no longer do inspections because the didn't want to buy the required equipment.
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On 01/05/2014 01:18 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

That friend of mine who had been trying for 5 months to get her car passed grew suspicious when the garage that flunked the car gave her a photocopy of the failure report.
Since the computers have to be linked to the state...when she checked with the state and they had no record of the failure, she knew the place was crooked.
She did have a real problem with her car but it was intermittent.
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Same way it's been done here in Ontario for years - but they just dropped the sniffer test for OBD2 this year. I recommend always use a "test" facility, not a "test and repair" because a "test"tation cannot sell you repairs.
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On 01/05/2014 02:53 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote: X

Good idea.
In Wisconsin , the repair cost is limited to $500
If your car still won't pass but you spent $500 trying, they will exempt you.
I am sure you know how many bills for $495 have been issued for possibly very minor repairs.
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In Ontario, if a vehicle REQUIRES more than a given amount ( I think it'd $640, but don't quote me) for a single repair you can get a "conditional pass" which does not let you transfer the vehicle but allows you to keep driving - WITHOUT spending the money. If it needs 5 repairs totalling that amount, you are out of luck. Fix it or park it.
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On 1/4/2014 3:33 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Clearing the codes is sometimes not enough to pass. I had a dead battery in a vehicle that I don't use much and even though there were no codes, I failed the smog check. Too many "incompletes" because I hadn't driven it enough, and hadn't followed the "drive cycles" that the manufacturer specifies that will get rid of the incompletes. You can search for the specific drive cycles for each vehicle that will allow you to quickly clear the "incompletes."
I learned that before going to a smog check I need to do a scan and make sure there is not more than one incomplete.
I use the Android "Torque Pro" app ($4.95) <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.prowl.torque and a Bluetooth OBD-II dongle. It's an extremely well done app that goes far beyond just reading and clearing codes. Bluetooth OBD-II dongles are about $13 <http://dx.com/s/126921 . I put a dongle into each of our vehicles. Unfortunately, there is no app for the iPhone or iPad that's as good as Torque Pro. I'm sure the author would have loved to port the app to iOS but Apple limits the Bluetooth profiles that iOS supports so the Bluetooth OBD-II dongles won't work (except on Jailbroken iOS devices).
I'm in California. Each state is probably different in terms of what they require in order to pass. On older vehicles California allows two incompletes. On newer vehicles they allow one "incomplete."
"Additionally, if too many readiness flags are "incomplete," the vehicle will fail the inspection because it has not been operated enough to allow all of the self-diagnostics to run." From <http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/obdprog/obdfaq.htm .
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