Why to Get Your Car’s Emissions Test Done Sooner than Later
After being back to Air Care five times in an attempt to pass my emissions test, and still failing, I've had to remind myself a lot lately that my '95 Celica hardly ever needs repairs, and I haven't paid on it for over 10 years.
I should've also reminded myself that it's stupid to drive with expired tags, as they were up for renewal in October. I like to follow the law, and it bothers me not to; but, my thought was "what am I supposed to do?" I have a '71 Mustang that uses exactly twice as much fuel as this car does, and the expense of driving it daily didn't sound too attractive to me.
But... Now that I've gotten a $75 ticket for the expired tags, I'm thinking it may have been a wash.
The Toyota continues to exceed readings for "NoX" emission limits, or nitrous oxide which is what causes acid rain - and that makes me cringe, being a very environmentally conscious guy. This happened last year, too, and I was able to clean out the catalytic converter with some junk I bought at O'Reilly's & dumped in the gas tank. Problem solved.
Like last year, the tech at Air Care told me to replace my catalytic converter, which is like $900, and I already did that about 25,000 miles ago. This time, though, I tried both Caty-clean and (the almighty) BG-44k, and those readings didn't budge. Looks like it's down to an oxygen sensor or e.g.r. valve, each of which is about $30 and a 10-minute project for me to replace. But first, I have to take my car to Choice City Auto (a plug for Mike) to have it diagnosed.
So, I'm easily out of over $200 and a lot of time, because I a) didn't just take my car in early for the emissions test, and b) forewent a professional diagnosis while running the car through a couple tanks of treated gas, while taking advantage of Colorado law that allows you that extra month to even mess with renewing your car's licensing. Live and learn!! It's one of those deals where it just hadn't been an issue before. That's why it's much safer to get your emissions testing done a.s.a.p. when tag-renewal time is coming up.
Now, while I strive for time and money to meet each other to get the car diagnosed, order the part, put it on, have the car tested again, and get my new stickers, I'm having a buttload of fun keeping the cobwebs out of the Mustang.