Rock Talk

What To Do If Your Car Fails the Emissions Test

Last updated on November 22, 2019 at 08:52 am

Perhaps it will happen only sporadically, but some people will fail their state-mandated New Jersey emissions test and you might be left wondering: What to do if your car fails the emissions test?

Every so often — longer if you have a new car — the date on that little sticker at the bottom left corner of your windshield will expire. It serves as a nagging reminder that you’ll need to haul your car in for emissions testing at a New Jersey-run inspection station or a privately operated, state-sanctioned one.

I’ll leave the merits for and against choosing a state-operated facility versus a private one for another post. However, I will say that I live in central Somerset County and there are no conveniently located state stations, so I usually go to a private one.

Your car’s emissions — we’re focusing solely on private passenger vehicles here — need to be gauged every two years, except for new cars, which are given a five-year exemption. When the time comes, you’ll need to bring a few documents: driver’s license, car registration and proof of car insurance.

Now that you’ve had your car inspected, let’s say, for example, that it fails the New Jersey emissions test. What now?

According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission:

  • You’ll get a red “Rejected” sticker on your car, placed above the current inspection sticker.
  • That will be accompanied by a vehicle inspection report (VIR) that will help identify the reason for the failure and how much time you have to fix it. You will also get an emission repair form (ERF).
  • Repairs must be handled by a registered Emissions Repair Facility, or alternatively, you can do them yourself. You have one month from the last day of the month on the inspection sticker to make your repairs. Cars overdue for inspection do not get additional time to make repairs.
  • After repairs, bring your VIR and ERF to a state-operated or privately owned inspection facility to be reinspected.

If your car fails, don’t sweat it. You’ll want your car running in tip-top shape for the summer driving season, which is just around the corner.  Plymouth Rock in NJ wants you to remember when you’re out on the road to stay focused and make responsible choices with your mobile device.

One thought on “What To Do If Your Car Fails the Emissions Test

  1. I like how you say that you would want to get your emissions tested every two years or so. It would seem to make sense to do everything you can to improve the emissions before you get it tested. I just bought a pretty old car, so I’ll have to remember to get the emissions tested every two years.

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