Style, performance, and reliability at affordable prices are just some of the reasons that Volkswagen continues to be a popular choice, despite the dent to the German car manufacturer’s reputation, from the diesel emissions scandal. We all know the emission test is important, both as an indicator of the overall health of your car and as a means to combat pollutants that are potentially hazardous to the environment and people’s health. But it can be frustrating and worrying to find your otherwise reliable motor failing to pass on emissions levels and this can get worse as your VW ages.
Let’s look instead at the most common issues that are letting your Volkswagen down when it comes to emissions testing. Fortunately, many of these are relatively inexpensive to remedy, so don’t throw in the towel on your VW just yet.
What’s involved in the emissions test?
The emissions test or smog test is compulsory in many states for cars over a certain age, with California having some of the most strictly-regulated testing in the US. The test itself involves a thorough inspection of your vehicle’s exhaust and pollution control systems and all its components and of course a check of your car’s tailpipe emissions.
Failing your emissions test will earn you that dreaded sticker which means you will have to get your engine exhaust system up to the requisite standard within a certain time frame. Prevention and preparation are key to avoiding this stressful outcome.
Here are some of the most common reasons your VW might be failing the emissions test:
- Dirty Oil: Gunk and dirt in your engine oil not only damages your car’s engine, it also has a higher hydrocarbon load, which is what the emissions test checks. You should change your car’s engine oil regularly and replace your oil filter to avoid this.
- Dirty Air Filter: Your car’s air filter does the important job of keeping dirt out of your engine. A dirty air filter will struggle to do this and will ultimately diminish your engine’s efficiency and lead to dirtier emissions. Your Volkswagen’s air filter should be changed yearly to keep it doing its best work.
- Rich Fuel Mix: If your car is running rich, in other words when your engine is injecting too much fuel and too little air, fuel combustion will not run at optimal efficiency. In fact, an overly-rich fuel mix can cause damage and make your car more costly to run. Importantly, it could be the cause of that smog test failure. As there are multiple parts affecting your engine’s fuel mix, there are many possible reasons for your Volkswagen to run rich, from leaky fuel injectors, high fuel pressure, faulty oxygen sensors, and other elements.
- Ignoring that Check Engine Light: It’s tempting to ignore that little red light on the dash in the hope that it just goes away, but the check engine light is letting you know that something is not quite right under the hood. Virtually all testing centers will consider an illuminated check engine light to be an automatic fail for emissions. The light can indicate a range of emissions related problems, but can also be something as simple as a loose gas cap, so do ensure to have it checked and any issues remedied in advance of your test.
- Faulty Spark Plugs: Worn spark plugs can lead to incomplete fuel combustion and higher emissions for your Volkswagen motor. Regular inspection and replacement of worn plugs is essential. This is part of your regular car maintenance service.
The best approach to getting your Volkswagen through the emissions test without stress is to keep your car’s regular maintenance and repairs schedule up to date. This will help to keep your engine running efficiently and your emissions low.
Heynneman European is Ready to Help Your Volkswagen Pass an Emissions Test
Whether your Volkswagen has recently failed or you have an upcoming smog test, Heynneman European is happy to help! We proudly provide quality service to our communities of Larkspur, Kentfield, Corte, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Fairfax, and San Rafael, CA. Call us today or stop by to make an appointment at your convenience.