1. When You Get Your Notice, Make An Appointment
Your Drive Clean notice will arrive about 90 days before your vehicle registration renewal date. The chart on the back page will help you determine when your turn will come. First step is to choose an accredited Drive Clean facility and make an early appointment for the test.
So don't wait - book early. Remember that you must pass the test before you can renew your license plates.
2. Check the Basics Before You Go for the Test
The Drive Clean test will check that your vehicle's emission system meets the standards for which it was designed. It's simple, fast, accurate and reliable. But before the test can even be done, there are a few things to check:
- The gas tank cap. If it's broken, faulty or missing, the emission controls will not work properly and the car cannot be tested.
- The exhaust system and catalytic converter. The exhaust system is an important part of the emission control system, and your vehicle cannot be tested if there are holes in the exhaust or catalytic converter, or if parts are missing, or there is other damage to the system.
- Major fluid leaks. A Drive Clean facility cannot test your car if it's leaking significant amounts of oil, water, or anti-freeze. Have a qualified mechanic fix the problem before you take the test.
- Damaged or worn tires. The test uses a dynamometer - a kind of treadmill that allows your car to be "driven" on the spot while a probe in the tailpipe analyzes the exhaust gases. If your tires are excessively worn, have loose tread, or visible damage, the vehicle cannot be tested.
- Visible smoking. The Drive Clean test equipment will not be required to disqualify your vehicle if it is visibly smoking. Chances are whatever is causing the smoke is also doing other damage, so have it checked and repaired before you take the Drive Clean test.
3. Study Your Car's Habits
If it's hard to start, stalls, or stumbles even when it's warmed-up, or runs on after it's shut off - these are problems that could cause you to fail the Drive Clean test. Chances are a simple tune-up will set things right, so get it done before your Drive Clean test.
4. Tune It Up!
When's the last time you had a tune-up? Most manufacturers recommend a tune-up at regular intervals to make sure the vehicle meets the emission standards it was designed to meet. A car that's tuned-up will likely pass a Drive Clean test.
5. Do It Early!
You'll have about 90 days from the time of your notice until you must renew your license plates - and you can't renew until you pass the test. The best strategy is to choose and accredited Drive Clean facility and book your appointment early.