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New York State Inspection nightmare

Who else out there cannot get their car inspected in NYS when the “check engine” light goes on? I know many of us are frustration. They call it an “idiot light” for a good reason. This is the second year with this problem. It’s believed to be a false signal/a quirk. HELP!

The CEL is not an idiot light. The car is attempting to talk to you so you should listen to it.

Providing a tiny iota of detail might help in someone formulating an answer.
What kind of car, how many miles, CEL on steady or flashing, has the car been scanned, reason for the failure, etc.

Many auto parts stores will scan your computer for trouble codes for free. Then at least you will know WHY the light is on…

You should also write your state rep. and ask him to sponsor a bill to REPEAL the safety and emissions inspection program unless the people who promote it CAN PROVE it makes any difference in highway safety or air quality. They can’t. Many states with no inspections have a better safety record and better air quality…

Caddyman, there’s something I’ve always wondered about and have never taken the time to research it.
What’s polluting more; half a dozen old simple, carbureted cars that are able to be maintained (cheaply) by their owners or half a dozen late models that have been running around with the Check Engine Light on for the last 3 years? My guess would be the latter.

I always thought it somewhat amazing, or even comical, that an 1984 Subaru sedan with a 1.8 carbureted engine w/5 speed manual would get 40 MPG and a 1986 Subaru sedan with a 1.8 port fuel injected engine w/5 speed manual would get less than 30.
Both cars were essentially the same size and weight with the 86 being more aerodynamic yet the earlier “crude one” would go 10-12 miles farther on the same amount of fuel.

I have similar thoughts when I hear of people complaining about humungous energy-sapping SUVs and then see them drive off in a clattering 20 year old Accord with a cloud of blue smoke behind it.

A well-tuned engine is a well-tuned engine.

No ONE, in the U.S. of A., can get their car through the emissions test when a check engine (OR, safety related) light is on. It’s FEDERAL law, not State. Further, only one monitor (two, on older cars) “not run” are allowed.

It’s possible for something transient to set a code in the engine computer. If you really believe it’s a momentary glitch, a few days before the test is to be performed, disconnect the battery, or let an auto parts store scan for codes, and erase the light. If it is just a temporary glitch, the light will stay off until next year. If not, get your car repaired.

I agree. My 19 year old 1989 Honda Accord has over 480,000 miles on it. I maintain it and keep it in tune. It starts on the first crank and gets 30 mpg on the highway, using only a little oil between changes (some drip, some smoke), but amazing. Happy Thanksgiving! Rocketman

How you maintain your patience, OK . . . is beyond me. Happy Thanksgiving! Rocketman

I agree with the others. This is not a nightmare, just get the car fixed. The check engine light went on, and you want to ignore it. The emissions station will not, under penalty of law, and your stuck, still refusing to see a mechanic.

PS. only idiots ignore the CEL.

Typically, only 3%-4% of all cars tested FAIL the emissions test. FORGET repairing them so they pass (at least until the next “test” is completed) but instead TAKE THEM OFF THE ROAD, PERIOD. Even this drastic action would produce NO MEASURABLE DIFFERENCE IN OVERALL AIR QUALITY !!! As bad as these cars may be, not enough of them FAIL THE TEST to make ANY difference in overall air quality.

Therefore, emissions testing accomplishes NOTHING other that providing jobs for the testers and a revenue stream for the State…

California has NO safety inspection program. They enjoy a LOWER accident rate per mile driven than most of the Eastern states that still cling to this useless hassle endured by many motorists who have been brainwashed into believing “It keeps the roads a lot safer” when it FACT it accomplishes NOTHING. You can not prove statistically or any other way that “Safety Inspections” make any difference in “Highway safety” …

The CEL is there for your protection. It is trying to tell you something is wrong. It might be nothing more than a sensor has a loose connection, or it could mean your engine will be damaged if you fail to take needed action now.

Along with the light there is a code that tells us a lot about why the light came on. Get the code and lets go from there. Some auto part stores will read it and give you the results for free.

Every state safety inspection program I have been involved in is joke except NY. If you pass the safety inspection there, your brakes work and your wheels are not going to fall off any time soon. The lights, windshield wipers, horn and other safety equipment will be working. You will have reasonably good tread on your tires.

CA does not salt their roads in any meaningful level where population lies vs New england. Most of the safety inspection in NH prior to emissions is brakes, muffler, tires, defrost functional, rust, and frame rust inspection. NH recently added a code read for OBD-II vehicles. So you can still tinker away with your oldie if it has not turned to rust.

The check engine light stands for “check engine never.” It is simply a way to take more of NYS tax payers dollars. Every year i get ripped off when the CEL goes on right after i drive it from the garage after having paid a boat load of cash> a< the brakes and steering< tires etc are important but that light is just another way to steal your money!!

Every year I am terrified to have my car inspected. Between the lost day, the excuses and the costs. Every year it costs me about the same $500 dollars. These people are horrible and abuse the general public. Changes need to be made. NY caters to these people and hands are tied as they siphon away your paychecks through inspections and other half-baked policies.

When the check engine light is on there’s almost certainly something wrong that needs to be corrected. If the problem is addressed promptly the car will be more reliable, safe, and emit less air pollution, so dealing with it is better for you, your car, and the rest of us. One problem with state inspection and emissions testing is the state is not very helpful when you fail. They could for example tell you that when this particular car has failed for other owners with the same failure, the reasons were … most frequent reason … to … least frequent reason. But they don’t provide that sort of information, which makes the car owner feel vulnerable. That’s a problem with the state and its testing system, not the idea of inspecting cars regularly to make sure they are safe to drive for everyone concerned. I’m not sure why states take such a hands-off approach to all this. You’d think they’d want to do all they can to help the car owner get the car’s problems addressed so it will pass.

Find a different mechanic to do your inspections. Are the problems they find legit??

NY State was much worse 40 years ago.

Are you going to get inspected every year with the check engine light on? Or do you neglect maintaining your car so that every inspection you need brakes, steering components or other safety items?
If you suspect you are being sold things you don’t need, do what I do. I go to an oil change place near my house that does inspections. The only repairs they do are light bulbs, wiper blades and batteries and the battery is not part of the inspection.

I also check my lights and wipers before I go. I also check my brakes , steering and suspension. but I realize most people can’t do that.