If you’ve failed your Colorado emissions test, LinDen Automotive can often get your vehicle into compliance, whether it’s gas or diesel.

Referring to gas-powered cars for a moment, in Colorado, there are currently two test levels – one for vehicles made before 1981 and another for everything after. People often call our shop asking about these two levels, and where to take their older vehicles for a test. Simply put, if your car was made before 1981, you can take it to several specially licensed places within the Denver metro area that can perform the test for around $15. They’ll check your vehicle’s exhaust for two gas pollutants: carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, measured as a percentage and parts per million respectively.

The big test stations can test older vehicles, but it often causes production flow problems as the test is slightly different for newer vehicles. The mom-and-pop places are often much quicker, and you will be in and out in no time.

Emissions Testing for Newer Vehicles

For cars & light duty vehicle made after 1981, the vehicle has to pass a more stringent test conducted only at one the Air Board recognized test stations placed all over the Denver metro area.

More gas pollutants are tested for compliance and as well as carbon emissions per mile. For those not accustomed to this type of test, the vehicle is subjected to a rolling road "dyno style" test where a more intrusive tail pipe test takes place to measure how the car is performing and whether or not it will conform to State and Federal limits. Additionally, the fuel tank cap is tested for serviceability as this can be a source of ozone pollution.

Since 2008, there has been a drop in certain pollutant levels permitted, which means you can’t assume your car will pass this year just because it passed last year! Again, we have test equipment that allows us to measure exhaust gas while you drive so we can easily detect if your car will pass or fail.

Emissions Pre-Tests for Older Vehicles

Because there is a difference in the permitted gas pollutant levels depending on the year of vehicle manufacture up to 1981, it’s important to know if your car will pass before you take it to be tested. To take away the worry, we advise an emissions pre-test at our shop. We have equipment to check your vehicle while you wait, uncover any issues, and advise you on the best course of action to obtain compliance.

The best advice is don’t wait until the last minute to handle emissions testing because an unexpected failure will prevent you from getting license plate renewal. In short you are off the road!

My check engine light is on. Will my car automatically fail the emissions test?

Not necessarily! Basically, there are lots of reasons why a car flags up a check engine light. Many of them have nothing to do with how the engine is running or affect how the vehicle will pass its emissions test.