Will My Car Pass Inspection If I Reset The Check Engine Light?

Updated October, 2020
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There is an extremely small chance you can pass an emissions test by resetting the check engine light. However, this is not advised as masking a potentially serious issue poses a risk to not only you, but other drivers and passengers on the road. You need to address the root cause of the problem so that your vehicle passes the test and remains safe to operate.

What is emissions testing?

All cars give off emissions. Due to regulations, cars are only allowed to give off a certain amount. For vehicles produced from 1996 and beyond, technicians need to install a diagnostic device into your car's onboard diagnostic II port.

The device looks up specific parameters related to your car's emissions output.

If your car passes, then you receive a certificate allowing you to register your car with your state. If you fail, then you need to address the problem. Otherwise, you break the law by continuing to drive.

Not every state and city requires emissions test. Check with local guidelines to see which camp you fall into.

Why might my vehicle fail the test?

There are numerous reasons why you car produces more emissions than allowed. A mechanic can perform a more thorough inspection to determine the exact cause.

  • Faulty catalytic converter
  • Contaminated engine oil
  • Bad vacuum lines
  • Broken gas cap
  • Broken-down air injection system
  • Poor exhaust gas recirculation

Will turning off the check engine light allow my car to pass the test?

A lot of people think they can get around an emissions test by simply turning off the check engine light. While resetting the light is possible, it can't help you pass.

As mentioned above, technicians plug in a device to read your car's onboard computers. It detects an issue regardless of whether the light is on.

Additionally, turning off the light doesn't help you in the long run. Your engine doesn't function as well as it should, and it could result in even worse problems down the line.

Don't mask the problem—get your car fixed, now!

Putting aside repairs is a dangerous proposition. You don't want to put yourself in harm's way, and you're only doing more harm in the long run.

For instance, it typically costs between $900 and $2,500 to fix a catalytic converter. However, if you delay the repair, then it can combust and potentially catch fire. It can destroy your engine, either totaling your car or forcing you to spend thousands more.

Most cars fail the emissions test due to a small problem. Those small issues lead to bigger conundrums over time. Don't let that happen, and fix your vehicle sooner rather than later.

Does my insurance pay for maintenance and repairs?

Insurance doesn't cover routine repairs and maintenance. If your catalytic converter breaks down, then you're responsible for any repairs.

However, you may want to consider an insurance policy that comes with roadside assistance. You may ignore the check engine light for some time only to find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Some policies cover tow trucks to pull you to the nearest auto shop.

You can help protect all the parts inside your vehicle with comprehensive and collision coverage. it protects you against everything from harsh weather to auto collisions.

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

Get instant quotes tailored to your needs - fill out our short form, today!

Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
866-996-3156