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State of Connecticut Emissions Testing on Used Automobiles

Introduction

In the big scheme of things, emissions testing on used automobiles may seem like a very minimal requirement. All residents should gladly do it right?

Many states do not require it of automobile owners. The State of Connecticut does. There are a lot of rules and requirements to it as well. It's not as simple as some may think.

I hope this article provides a better understanding of what's involved in emissions. Having a basic knowledge of emissions is crucial to buying a used car in Connecticut.

Know about emissions before buying a used car.

state-of-connecticut-emissions-testing-on-used-automobiles

My experience buying a used vehicle.

In November 2011, we purchased a used automobile from an auto mechanic that also sells used cars. He is a licensed Connecticut dealer.

We were told that the vehicle had to be registered, and that his dealership would get the emissions testing done because it was due.

Within a few days, the vehicle was ours. We drove home happily in our new-to-us ride.

The check engine light was on the entire way home. The next day we called to complain because we had bought the vehicle with a used vehicle warranty. It was not sold as is. The dealership was really thorough about how they fixed it for us for free. Then two more times within the warranty period, the check engine light came on and both times the dealership fixed the problems. Finally, when the warranty expired, the check engine light came on again so we took it back to the dealership. They charged us over $600 for repairs. They claimed the entire engine had to be taken apart and put back together and we got a great deal for the time they put in it. All the while claiming they did this for us as a favor and would have charged us a great deal more if we hadn't been a customer of their dealership.

Then, while traveling on a Connecticut highway in the vehicle with my children and dog, the van started smoking from under the front hood. I pulled over on the side of the highway and called 911. There was smoke coming out from the bottom of the van by now too. My family ran over to a grassy embankment and sat down to wait for help.

Pretty soon a state police officer saw us stranded and came to help. But to my dismay, he told me to get back in the vehicle and start driving. My children were very reluctant. I explained to the officer that the van looked like it was going to catch on fire. The officer told me that he didn't see anything wrong and to just start driving.

We drove about one-quarter of a mile and the van started pouring out smoke. I couldn't see to drive. All I did see were the flashing lights behind me of the state police officer's car and the officer summoning me to pull over again.

I stopped immediately and he told me to go to the nearest exit where we waited for a towing company in a large parking lot.

At the repair service facility, we were told, wherever we had work done on the vehicle prior to that, they forgot to put a bolt back and it caused parts and fluids to come out of the vehicle. That was what had caused the problem. But the new bill was almost $800 for more work done to the vehicle.

For the past two years, the vehicle has been running smoothly. Then just two months ago, the check engine light came back on. We took it to two different repair facilities to get a quote. The first facility said they could not determine why the light was on. The second facility told us that it was a oxygen sensor.

We received a letter from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles claiming the registration is due at the end of November, but we must go through emissions first.

Our vehicle failed emissions. We were told to take it to a certified specialist to get repairs and then bring it back through emissions.

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Within a couple of days however, we received a notice from the Connecticut Department of Emissions explaining that we owe a late fee for noncompliance of emissions. I called the number on the form to protest explaining we never received a notice other than the registration renewal which was not overdue.

We were told that the emissions was overdue on the vehicle. In fact, it's so overdue that the vehicle hasn't been through emissions since 2009.

This means that the dealer where we bought the vehicle never put it through emissions. How then could the State of Connecticut register the vehicle at all if emissions were not compliant?

Upon asking this question of the Emission Department, I was told that they have a law in the Connecticut State Statutes which addresses this, but there is no consequence or penalty for not complying. In other words, it's not ok for a dealer to register a car that has not passed emissions. But there are no repercussions for registering a car that has not passed emissions. In fact, the penalty falls to the owner. That would be me.

Connecticut General Statutes.

C.G.S. Section 14-164c (n), No motor vehicle dealer licensed under section 14-52 shall sell any motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle (1) is in compliance with subsections (c) and (d) of this section and the regulations adopted by the commissioner, and (2) has passed an emissions inspection conducted in accordance with said subsections and regulations...

What is Emissions Testing?

Ozone pollution is invisible. Connecticut ozone pollution exceeds federal health standards, especially in summer.

The Clean Air Act, a Federal law, gives the Environmental Protection Agency responsibility for regulating emission control requirements on vehicles. The Act is overseen by each individual state.

Emission control systems do not always perform as well over the full useful life of the vehicle due to aging.

Emissions testing uses a diagnostic system test is the quickest and most efficient of all emissions tests. The test alerts the owner to any repairs that can reduce air pollution. The test is performed by an inspector. An emissions testing cable is connected to the vehicle’s Diagnostic Link Connector. The test abstracts specific protocols from the vehicle, allowing the testing equipment to verify whether or not emissions is in compliance.

What is an Emissions Test Center?

A vehicle is tested at privately owned automotive service centers throughout Connecticut.

Each location offers a sign outside of their building with a Test Center number. They are also required to provide a designated emissions testing parking and waiting area where you can view the test and information.

At any of the test locations, usually you can just show up without an appointment. It's best to call to find out business hours and to make an appointment if you can't wait.

Most people will need to go to a Full Service Test Center where emissions can be performed on any vehicle regardless of fuel type or model year. (An OBD Plus Test Center performs emissions except on 1996 or older diesel powered vehicles or vehicles newer than 1997 with a gross weight of 8501 pounds.

Also, if your vehicle is oversized, consider calling a test facility first to make sure they are able to accommodate you.

Midas, Firestone, and Pep Boys are examples of chain retailers that provide emissions testing. For a complete list, view the Connecticut emissions website.

What if the vehicle fails emissions?

A vehicle might fail emissions testing if it's exceeding emissions standards for the year it was manufactured.

Vehicles need to be repaired and retested within sixty days from the date of the initial test.

If the registration date falls within this sixty days, emissions must pass before the automobile may be registered. This is a situation for somewhere there aren't sixty days available because the registration date is almost come to pass.

A vehicle will not pass emissions if it is displaying a Check Engine Light in the console. This must be addressed before going to emissions.

state-of-connecticut-emissions-testing-on-used-automobiles

Fees associated with Connecticut emissions.

Emissions testing is required in Connecticut every two years for the most part. There are exceptions contrary to the rule. Most people with an automobile will be subjected to this emissions testing. The fee is $20.

If the deadline has passed to go through emissions testing, there is an additional $20 late fee.

When someone fails emissions testing, they do not have to pay for a second test once the vehicle has been repaired and re-tested.


Do automobile emissions have anything to do with cancer?

I thought it would be interesting to find out what the cancer statistics are for Connecticut. One of the arguments for pro-emissions is that it decreases cancer rates.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2013, Connecticut had 21,180 new cancer cases. Oregon, a much larger state, had about the same with 21,720, and Oklahoma had 20,160.

Based on the statistical map I downloaded and researched, there doesn't seem to be a correlation between a decrease in cancer and emissions testing on vehicles.

According to the EPA, they believe the emissions programs have helped reduce the amount of cancer and other health problems related to pollution.

In fact, the EPA believes that reducing ozone pollution reduces the incidents of asthma and bronchitis. According to the CDC, the number of people diagnosed with asthma is growing every year though. Even the CDC admits, they do not know why asthma rates are rising!

Some states do not require emission tests, but participate in a Low-Emission Vehicle program.
This program requires that all new vehicle models 1996 and newer with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less must have their on-board diagn

Emission testing per stateHow oftenNew Cancer cases in 2013

Alabama

Voluntary

27,080

Alaska

Every two years

3,290

Arizona

Every two years

34,010

Arkansas

None

16,330

California

Every two years

171,330

Colorado

None

23,410

Connecticut

Every two years

21,180

Delaware

Every two years

5,370

Florida

None

118,320

Georgia

Every year (only select locations)

49,280

Hawaii

None

6,650

Idaho

None

7,670

Illinois

Every two years

66,090

Indiana

None

35,550

Iowa

None

17,480

Kansas

None

14,370

Kentucky

None

25,100

Louisiana

None

24,930

Maine

None

9,190

Maryland

Every two years

30,680

Massachusetts

Annually

38,250

Michigan

None

57,560

Minnesota

None

28,410

Mississippi

None

15,830

Missouri

None

33,950

Montana

None

5,450

Nebraska

None

9,060

Nevada

None

13,830

New Hampshire

None

8,470

New Jersey

None

49,440

New Mexico

Every two years and at change of ownership

10,090

New York

None

108,760

North Carolina

None

53,200

North Dakota

None

3,510

Ohio

Every two years

66,610

Oklahoma

None

20,160

Oregon

None

21,720

Pennsylvania

None

79,560

Rhode Island

Every two years

6,280

South Carolina

None

27,620

South Dakota

None

4,570

Tennessee

None

36,580

Texas

Every year

112,230

Utah

None

10,810

Vermont

None

4,200

Virginia

Every two years

40,870

Washington

None

37,290

West Virginia

None

11,450

Wisconsin

None

31,590

Wyoming

None

2,700

Map showing asthma statistics in the United States.

state-of-connecticut-emissions-testing-on-used-automobiles

This map shows that there is more research needed to conclude precisely whether or not emissions testing actually reduces asthma incidents.

Connecticut is one of the states with the highest incident of asthma sufferers.

What happens if the cost is too much for repairs to make my vehicle emissions compliant?

Currently, in 2013, the minimum emissions repair expense to be eligible for a cost waiver is $840.00. That would include costs for actual repairs made to the vehicle by a certified emissions repair technician. Estimates are not eligible.

Also, an automobile owner may apply for a diagnostic waiver if diagnostics fail to provide evidence to suggest emissions repairs are needed.

Keep all receipts as proof of expenses.

What documents will a person receive after going through the emissions process?

After bringing an automobile to an emissions test center, and passing emissions, the owner of the vehicle will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report.

If the vehicle fails emissions, the owner will receive an Emissions Repair Form, a brochure, and a list of certified repair centers.

How to file a complaint against a car dealer or repair facility.

  • First of all, you cannot speak to a person over the phone. All complaints have to be filed in writing.
  • You need Consumer Complaint Form K-35. It's found online.
  • Print out two copies, complete them both and sign them. Also make a copy for your own records.
  • You must include copies of all paperwork related to your complaint such as warranty, invoice, repair bill, etc. Do not send the originals, copies only.
  • Include a telephone number where you can be reached between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Include your email if you have one.

Send one copy to the DMV Consumer Complaint Center:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Consumer Complaint Center
60 State
Street
Wethersfield, CT 06161

The other copy gets sent to the dealer or repair facility that the complaint is about.

If a customer is awarded a court judgment, DMV may be able to assist in obtaining restitution by holding a hearing to invoke the licensee's surety bond.

Complaints investigates by CT DMVComplaints not investigated by CT DMV

Used car warranty

Improper repairs

Deposits and billing

Misdiagnosis by a mechanic

Repair orders/estimates/authorizations

Vehicle vandalism occuring at the repair shop

Sales/purchase orders

Damage caused by improper towing

Titles

Liens

Odometers

False statements

Non-consensual towing and storage charges

Facts about vehicles on Connecticut roads.

There are $2.8 million registered vehicles in Connecticut. Nevertheless, there are tens of thousands of visitors from other states (that do not require emissions testing) to Connecticut for one reason or another, whether it be to go on a nature hike, visit an aquarium, or plan a trip to a casino.

Conclusion.

While I understand the mission of EPA to reduce levels of pollution, it makes little sense why some states have the emissions rules and some don't!

After all, many cars from many different neighboring states that travel through Connecticut daily do not have any emissions testing at all.

That's quite unfair considering Connecticut brings a large amount of visitors and tourists in to this area by automobile on Interstate I-95 because we have Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casinos.

So to make Connecticut residents put up, pay for, and deal with emissions is essentially penalizing the residents for polluting our own state. When other travelers are not required to ensure their cars are not bringing pollutants in to our state. And, also, the amount of tourists we get here, are not necessarily held to the same emissions standards either because it goes by the state of registration.

That brings me to the wondering exactly how many cars in Connecticut are noncompliant with emissions? And out of those cars, are the owners residents or visitors?

We will never know. The only automobile owners penalized are those that register their cars in Connecticut. Also, as I've shown, statistics do not really support the need for emissions testing based on cancer rates. Even with emissions rules and regulations here, we have just as many cancer patients or more than states that do not have emissions. As far as asthma issues, those seem to be growing annually without a specific cause.

What are your thoughts?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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