Smog and Emissions Checks in Illinois
Nearly every car on the road emits some form of pollution; after all, even hybrid vehicles require gasoline. The buildup of emissions can cause consequences such as heavy smog in large cities, and can severely degrade air quality and health. Fortunately, there are measures we can take to reduce and minimize the negative environmental impact.
Understanding Emissions Standards in Illinois
Like most other states, Illinois maintains emissions standards which must be met for a car to remain registered and legally drivable. However, Cook, Lake, and Dupage Counties are also affected by smog testing regulations. These counties go one step further and make it illegal to even own a car which does not meet emissions standards.
Failing to test your vehicle or bring a failed vehicle up to code could resulted in a revoked license. Practice due diligence to get your vehicle tested every couple of years and keep it in excellent working order. Most gas-powered vehicles produced in 1996 or later must be checked once they are at least four years old.
How to Get a Smog Check for Your Vehicle
In Illinois, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of smog and emissions checks. To get your vehicle tested, simply bring it to one of their official inspection stations. They will run some quick tests and present you with a report comparing your emission levels to the legal, acceptable standard. If you pass in all areas, you can bring this report to the Secretary of State’s office to complete your registration.
If you have failed in at least one area of the test, it will be your responsibility to bring your emissions to an acceptable level. The inspection center will present you with several documents detailing what improvements need to be made to your car, and where to have the repairs done. Afterward, you will need to bring the car back to be retested and ensure that no further repairs are needed to make your car clean and safe to drive.
Tips for an Easy and Successful Smog Check
- Make sure your car has been running for at least 15 minutes before your smog test, or it may not be warmed up enough and could delay the process for everyone involved.
- If your car comes with its diagnostic link connector covered, be sure to remove the cover before arriving at the test.
- Try to schedule your test during the week or early in the month, as there will be fewer people waiting to get their vehicles checked.
- Repair any obvious damage to your engine before getting tested. If your car is deemed unsafe, the inspection center may decide not to test it.
You can learn more about smog emissions tests on the state EPA website.