63,000 Ct Motorists Last Year Failed Emissions Test For Check Engine Light

Brian Sullivan is one of the tens of thousands of Connecticut motorists who every year flunk the state’s emissions tests simply because their check engine light was on when they arrived at a testing facility.

Sullivan of Waterford, raised two issues with me:

One, that he had no idea that Connecticut would automatically flunk a vehicle with a check engine light that is turned on. It’s an issue that is probably valid in every state.

And second, even if the check engine light has nothing to do possible pollution, the car will not be even be inspected.

On the first complaint, Sullivan has a valid issue.

When I toured the Connecticut Emissions Program website www.ctemissions.com learlier this year I saw nothing that stood out warning me that if the light was on I would automatically flunk.

So I contacted William Seymour, the department veteran spokesman and former head of its complaint unit, who told me that there are warnings in the site, about the light.

Not good enough, I told him, since neither Sullivan nor I could find them.

I then suggested that the warning be placed clearly on the home page, where there was even unused space. Seymour agreed. Click here for the rest of the story

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28 Comments on "63,000 Ct Motorists Last Year Failed Emissions Test For Check Engine Light"

  1. Yep, Midas failed me for a loose gas cap

    • Mary Ellen McKeon | March 31, 2012 at 8:50 am |

      I had the check engine light come on in my 2003 Toyota. I took it to Toyota and they told me that it would cost over 1,000 dollars to fix the various problems and that even after fixing, that won’t guarantee the check engine light will go off. Also, I was told it may be even more money if it turns out to be the catalic converter (?) I paid the 50 dollar test fee and left. My boyfriend bought 02 sensors for 80 bucks put them in and the check engine light went off.

  2. My diesel truck has had an engine check light on for the last two years. I carry an OBD II scanner and have determined it is a communication problem between the engine computer and the glow plug controller. Glow plugs are only used when starting a cold engine. Since they still work the communication problem is a low priority repair. This vehicle passed its last emission test four months ago. There was no mention of the check engine light at the test.

    • George Gombossy | March 31, 2012 at 8:32 am |

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience
      The rule is for vehicles under 10,000 pounds

  3. A check engine light on doesn’t always mean the vehicle is polluting. It could be some sort of anti-knock sensor that means if not corrected you might damage the engine. It might mean a connector of some sort wiggled loose and all the technician has to do it pop it back on and reset the light. Not polluting excessively at all. Also, on some cars, if you do not put the gas cap on tightly, it will trigger the check engine light.

    A good honest repair shop will tell you what he/she sees in the OBC scanner and translate what it means.

    Good article. Nice to know they fixed their oversight and made the issue clearer to the public.

  4. Disconnect the battery for a couple of minutes and reconnect it. If the check engine light does not come back on when you run again it is more than likely a false reading.

    • I know some stations have failed people if the OBD II reader detects a historical code even if the CEL is off. That also needs clarification.

    • I’ve taken my vehicle to two different places, both saying “you must have re-set your vehicle, because system isn’t ready”, which is an instant fail. I was told to go back after 100 miles. I did not reset it, the battery died. A lot of people suggest disconnecting the battery on purpose, but it doesn’t help, they’ll send you away until you put 100 more useless miles on your vehicle. I was also informed that if the check engine light is on (and it will be) and nothing shows up on the computer I must pay at least $450 in useless repairs that are not needed. If I don’t I wont pass, and if I do it will only pass me for this year, not next. No one knows why this light is on, I’ve had it looked at by 8 different garages, and no one knows why, yet still I have to pay $450. And as I said next year I’m out of luck. I basically pay $450. To try and figure out the issue in a years time. An issue that no one has figured out in the last 5 years. Who is this law benefiting in these cases aside from the garage?

      Some of us live in areas that do not have public transportation (no cabs, buses, trains, etc), and we cant afford another car or useless repairs, which eventually forces a person to take the vehicle off the road, then they cant make it to work, so they get fired for to many missed days, then they end up on the system. (happened to 3 people that I know so far, and I’m next).

      Forcing us to take our cars off the road is hurting us more than helping us. Why don’t they see this?

      • Because the state of Connecticut gives ZERO SHIT about whether or not we can get to work. They know EXACTLY what they’re doing and they do not care. What they do care about is the amount of money they make off of us from these useless and unnecessary tests. Apparently, the excessive taxes we pay to live in this disgusting state aren’t enough to fund the politicians luxurious and gluttonous lifestyles so they have created required petty programs designed to do nothing but take more of our money.
        Do I think emissions are necessary…..yes……on OLD CARS. Not my 6 year old Nissan Rogue…. maybe do emissions on a 15 or 20 year old clunker where the possibility of spewing hazardous chemicals is actually possible. But THIS is BULLSHIT. Furthermore, when you fail, you’re given a list of vague and generic possibilities for your failure that will cost you another $500- $5000 in repairs depending on how honest your mechanic is.
        My failure was due to my gas cap. My GAS CAP. I’m not endangering any environment with my gas cap. I then went to 4 mechanics where I was told by one that I needed a new transmission, the second said I needed a new catalytic converter, the third said I had an oil leak and the fourth didn’t know but he’d take a look at it for 500 PLUS the cost of whatever the problem is.
        I had the resort to YouTube for some honest answers and advice.
        The entire CT emissions program is an absolute scam and they KNOW IT. But there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. Except leave.

        • Great note by Michelle dated June 22, 2016 captures how I feel about the testing and the screwed up state we live in. It’s not about clean air…it’s about the money.

  5. There is a maximum $ amount put on repairs before you are exempt from emissions. That in itself tells me that the emissions testing program is a scam.

  6. My check light came on and I spoke to my dependable, honest, reliable place regarding the check light. The owner informed me that if this light is on when I take the car for emissions – the place would NOT DO THE EMISSIONS. So I brought my car in to my honest, reliable place. My car had a fuel hose that had a leak for fumes and replaced the gas tank cap which also had a leak – both problems fixed. My 1997 car passed emissions. So not always are check lights not working properly.

  7. John Russell | April 2, 2012 at 11:32 am |

    Just because you turn off the “check Engine” light does not mean they automatically do an emissions test because the car has to go through a “cycle” which is usually 70 to 80 miles and the test center uses an OBD tester to determine the cycle, or if the
    battery has been recently disconnected. The center will not tell you the Codes generated by the OBD, only that it fails the test. Personally this smacks of an ethics violation whereas the “test” center fails the vehicle, and oh by the way we can fix it. Also, I believe the catylatic convertors are no longer part of the repair dollar exclusion.

  8. Douglas Bacon | April 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm |

    My wife has a car that has the check engine light on all the time. She has taken it into our regular repair place & the dealer, who both have told her that there is nothing wrong with her engine, just that the light is malfunctioning & to simply ignore it, as she brings the car in for regular maintenance.

  9. There seem to be so many reasons (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) other than emissions pollution that result in the Check Engine Light turning on. This includes false readings and Pending Codes, which do not indicate a faulty code or component. The http://www.ctemissions.com site and program is run by contractor Applus+ Technologies, Inc.(www.applustech.com, address:
    Applus Technologies, Inc.
    444 North Michigan Avenue
    Suite 1110
    Chicago, Illinois 60611
    The governor, legislature, DMV, media and the public should make their voices heard that the CEL light on should not NOT automatically fail a vehicle for emissions.

  10. You can Google a slew of websites that will tell you how to easily get the “CHECK ENGINE LIGHT” codes straight from your vehicle’s computer.
    In some cases (as in my own…a 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan) it is a simple procedure using only the ignition key and odometer reset button. After executing the procedure, the codes appeared on the minivan’s digital odometer readout. From their you can Google other websites to find out what the codes mean.
    Furthermore, there are even procedures explained for how to turn the check engine light off using similar simple methods.

  11. The current emission law must have been written by Applus Technologies and the auto repair lobbiests. No one else gains, not the state, not the drivers, not the air. Any repair shop can manually turn the CEL off. Then there are emission stations and “authorized stations”. George, does it not seem opaque, heaped with bamboozlement opportunities, too erratic to be a genuine public good type law? Who at the legislature can defend this in good conscience?

  12. If your car is over a certain age the engine light will not be looked at and you will pass the test. Date is on inspections website

  13. Lincoln Taylor | April 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

    I have been in the auto repair business for 50 yrs, I was there for the institution of vehicle emission testing in Business friendly Connecticut when it was a simple two gas tailpipe test. The advent of the OBD2 standard simplified the testing procedure for the testing stations, ( one size fits all ) The State dropped all vehicle inspections ( doors flapping, rotted frames, bad ball joints, and brakes, smoking, broken windshields are all ok ) as long as the MIL is off, you completed a drive cycle and the Testing Station computer likes your car You are all set. Oh by the way, now the police have the ability by running your plate number to tell weather your cars emissions test is currant. Gotta love it !!!!

  14. I am at my wits end with this.I have an excellent mechanic who has checked and rechecked and can’t find anything amiss.I have replaced the gas cap,replaced purge valve as well as catalytic converters.Spent lots of $$ now and still once the computer resets the light goes back on.I have tried to find that tiny window of opportunity between the reset and the light reappearing but no luck.I don’t know what else I can do.Isn’t there anyway to get the old tailpipe test?

  15. Jim Brown | July 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm |

    The “emissions test is a Joke” its unnecessary, and this check engine light failure is BS, every expensive high-end car will have the check engine light on, all the new cars pretty much turn the check engine light on as soon as you drive off the lot. Its a Joke, what happens if you own a Venture, and its light is on because of an oil change? This test is a major waste of money and time, what the hell is the point when people who have a lot of money can purchase pollution. THIS bullshi^ just needs to stop. DO you remember when we didnt have emissions for 2 years in CT. Did the state go to hell? NO its a useless feel good bullshit program made by people who cant even change their own brakes. STOP CT EMISSIONS for good. Instead if you have a really really loud muffler, the cops should pull you over and make you pay for pollution credits. That would take care of stupid loud drunk motorcyclists and kids form driving the crappiest of crappy cars. BUT we in CT love our State Gov just sticking it up our …… Love it they create new useless regulation chiping off freedom one day at a time. Each day a new law is passed, or a new amendment because of TV or an accident or some other stupid crap. Just admit it, IN CT you will get harrassed for walking down a street, and god forbid if you have 15% factory tinted windows on your car, you will be harassed, dog searched and abused by police. Because in our state, every 10th house on the block works for the state police or police, and all cry about how much crime there is in CT and how much more law enforcement is necessary to drive by the tabbacco farms. So your house can be appraised every year by 20,000$ so you can pay the 6000$ on a 150,000 house. Because NOBODY in this state has any ability to pick up a phone and complain. don’t worry you don;t have any rights anymore, you cant do stuff that might hurt you, because the state assumes you have no brain and there for NO RIGHTS sorry, laws here are created secret, you only know when a new law has been made after its passed by WFSB.

  16. The Test Center failed my car twice as my CEL came on mysteriously during the testing. They were so nice and quoted a price for repairs. I came home to find a vaacum hose disconnected and upon my return they explained the hose was taken off as part of testing procedure. The third time it failed, I took the car to my own mechanic and the wires inside the Air Idle Controll were broken. $ 300 later I went to a different test center and passed.

  17. Art Vandelay | July 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm |

    I agree w/Jim Brown. The emissions test should be abolished. Its useless. In its place I’d rather see a full vehicle inspection test. Bald tires, worn out shocks, ball joints, rust etc. It would keep unsafe cars off the road which is a good thing.

  18. Emissions is a scam, and a way to collect money from people. BTW I’ve passed 3 different cars through emissions with either no emissions equipment or tricks to get around it. On my last car I put a spark plug non fouler on the O2 sensor, it pulled the sensor off the exhaust pipe and tricked it into thinking my cat converter was real…it wasn’t.

  19. Joyce Guardado | March 31, 2016 at 3:03 pm |

    If the 63,000 people who failed emissions test contacted their local congressman
    We could get the laws changed . Changing the law so that you would pass or fail emissions test based on the emissions that come from your car.
    All it takes is a quick email.
    Google or search for your local congressmans website usually there is a link right on the
    Web page to email your complaint.
    Lets work together and change this ridiculous law

  20. Here is a startling new development in the world of emissions in Connecticut: The new equipment that communicated with your car during the test is faulty and may damage your car. There are instances where you drive in with no problems and drive out with your engine light on and your car running funny. The communication equipment scans multiple protocols until it finds one that works, as is normally done, however if the equipment is cheaply made and not fault tolerant it can disrupt and scramble information on your car’s internal network resulting in computer faults and possibly a big repair bill at the dealer.

    The contractor is aware of their faulty equipment and had tried to cover their asses by passing out internal warnings that the vehicle must be turned off during the connection process of damage can occur. This gives them an out to blame the test operator rather than the established truth of cheap non fault tolerant test equipment.

    See PDF here: https://dropfile.to/4oxaMsy



  21. Florida did away with emissions testing, even gave a rebate that included previous years of testing. A friend who lives in Florida told me that. Ct is ridiculously overpriced. No way would Ct do away with the stupid emissions program, they love putting people in the black.

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