The Autotrends > OBDII Inspections

What is OBDII (Inspections)

In 1996 the EPA began requiring a universal system for diagnosing and testing emission controls on all motor vehicles sold in the US. This required auto manufacturers to utilize the same connection and language for vehicle diagnostics. With this in place, we can connect to all vehicles and check the condition of the emission control system for inspection requirements. As you drive you car the fuel system computer tests the components and records the result as a completed test. If all the tests have been run and passed, and the “check engine light” works, your car passes inspection for emissions. If a test fails the computer commands the MIL “malfunction indicator light” or “check engine light” to be on. When it does it also records sensor readings and stores a code the mechanic can use to track down the problem and provide you with solid advice for repairs. If you car’s battery cable is disconnected or the computer is cleared by a mechanics scan tool, the test records are cleared. If you take your car for an inspection in this condition it is rejected as “not ready”. In most cased all you need to do is drive the car for a day or two and the tests will run and your car will be ready for the inspection thus, the mechanic may ask you to drive it for a few days. If the MIL “check engine light” comes on during driving for readiness, the problem will have to be repaired and the readiness process will start all over. With the newer more sensitive computer systems, getting the check “engine light” repaired as soon as possible can help insure you get the best gas mileage, prevent problems from creating other problems, and keep you from the headache of trying to get the system ready for inspection at the last minute.


What about that inspection sticker

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, on Nov. 1, 2009 launched an electronic system that tracks vehicle inspections and blocks motorists from registering their vehicles until they are inspected.
The move, in part, was an effort to coordinate yearly inspections with license plate renewal to help better enforce inspections and vehicle registrations.
It also means the state has stopped printing inspection stickers. Drivers will be notified of their inspection and registration deadlines by mail.
Although most people agree that's a good thing, they question why they still have to pay for a sticker. Out of the $30 inspection fee, $6.25 goes toward a sticker fee.
"It has never really been a sticker fee," said Chuck Irvin, a DMV district supervisor in Charlotte
Irvin says that with the November law change, the paperwork and software were changed to call it an "e-sticker," even though the fee has never had anything to do with any kind of sticker – regular or electronic.
The $6.25 designated for the sticker is actually divided among various programs, including emissions and volunteer rescue.
"It probably ought to say electronic authorization fee – (that) is the way it is in the statute," Irvin said. "When you look at the $6.25, it is an electronic authorization fee."
Irvin says that the paperwork-wording change will be considered for the next software update.
The $6.25 is considered a tax and the remaining $23.75 goes to the inspecting station.