Emission System Diagnosis And Testing Cost in 2023​

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National average cost of a an Emission System Diagnosis and Testing
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


What is emission system diagnosis and testing and how does it work?

Since the nineteen seventies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that vehicles be equipped with emission control systems to reduce harmful greenhouse gasses. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and hydrocarbons are the main compounds that are regulated by the EPA on vehicles with internal combustion engines. Modern vehicles are equipped with a variety of devices designed to reduce these combustion byproducts.

Emission system diagnosis and testing ensures that these pollution control systems are working properly on your vehicle, and that your engine is not emitting excessive greenhouse gasses.


How do I know if my vehicle needs emission system diagnosis and testing?

Your vehicle likely needs emission system diagnosis and testing if you notice any of the following signs:

The check engine light comes on and a diagnostic scan reveals a trouble code related to the emission system, the EGR valve, catalytic converter, air pump, oxygen sensors, engine air/fuel mixture, or EVAP system

An emissions system warning light comes on

Your engine lacks power on acceleration

Spark knocking

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How is a an Emission System Diagnosis and Testing done?

To complete emission system diagnosis and testing, a technician may perform any or all of the following actions:

  • Visually inspect components of the emission system to check for defects, excessive corrosion, damage from road debris, and the like
  • Connect an emissions analyzer machine to the tailpipe to measure levels of greenhouse gases being emitted from the exhaust system
  • Check the operation of the PCV valve
  • Conduct pressure and/or leak tests on the evaporative emissions (EVAP) system
  • Connect a diagnostic scan tool to the vehicle’s data port and perform function tests of any component that is suspect
  • Use the scan tool to view live data and ensure proper operation of any emissions-related electrical components such as the EGR valve, purge valve, and vent valve
  • Use the diagnostic tool to ensure all readiness monitors are in a "ready" state and do not have any malfunctions or faults listed

Other questions customers ask

What does it mean when your car says "check emission system?"
When your vehicle displays a message to "Check emission system", the car’s computer is telling you that one or more of the emission control systems is not working properly. This could be something as simple as a loose or faulty fuel cap, or something more costly and complicated, like a bad catalytic converter. If an emission system issue is left unchecked, it will likely result in poor fuel mileage, failure of emissions testing, and could damage any number of vehicle components.
Can I drive with an emission system problem?
Whether or not you can safely drive with an emission system problem depends on exactly what the problem is. Or on what is causing the emission system light on your dashboard to turn on. If the problem is minor, such as a loose gas cap, driveability will likely be unaffected (although you might see a check engine light and lose some fuel efficiency). But if the problem is more significant, a bad EGR valve for example, your engine could develop a spark knock during acceleration and incur serious damage. It is best to have your vehicle checked by a qualified professional if you suspect an emission system fault of any kind.
What causes emission system problems?
Emission system problems are caused by a number of factors. These include engine misfiring, unburnt fuel coming through the exhaust system, excessive corrosion causing pressure or vacuum leaks, and simply high mileage that leads to component failure.

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