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The OBD test / What to do about a check engine light?

If your vehicle is classified as a model year 1996 or newer, an emissions test (as well as a safety inspection) is likely required. This is also called the On-Board Diagnostics test (OBD). Your vehicle is plugged in to a specialized computer that confirms its identity and checks its systems. The "Check Engine" light being on while the vehicle is running will cause it to fail the emissions portion of a state inspection. There are some vehicles exempt from this portion of the inspection (see below). North Carolina no longer performs a "smog check" to check emissions. This is a computer controlled test and we have no ability to override it regardless of circumstances

- but we can help!

We offer a FREE computer diagnostic to determine why this light is on. Just stop in and you'll receive a printout in minutes.


There are "Waivers" issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles for problems related to the "Check Engine" light in some cases, please contact any of our locations or visit the links below for information.


Some vehicles are also exempt from this portion of the test, these typically include:


  • Any vehicle classified as older than model year 1996

  • Any vehicle three years old (or newer) with less than 70,000 miles

  • Any vehicle over 8500lbs gross weight rating

  • Any vehicle that uses diesel or an alternative (non-gasoline) fuel, or is 100% electric

  • Any vehicle classified as a motorcycle

  • Being registered in certain counties that do no participate in the emissions portion of the test


More information can also be found on the NCDMV Vehicle Emissions and Safety Inspection or NC Division of Air Quality websites



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