On Board Diagnostics (OBD)

In order to pass the DC DMV vehicle inspection, you must pass an emissions inspection test. One of the most common tests utilizes the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) computer and sensors already installed in cars model year 1996 and newer. If you don’t pass the first time, don’t panic! We are here to help.

So You Failed Your Emissions Test

If your vehicle fails, you will receive a “failed inspection” sticker that grants you 20 calendar days (not business days!) for you to get it repaired and re-inspected. Every car owner who goes over that 20-day period will need to pay an inspection late fee on top of the inspection fee. Not all test failures mean extensive or expensive repairs, so be sure to consult with us on the best next steps.

Why You Might Have Failed the OBD Test

There are many different reasons why vehicles can fail the On-Board Diagnostics test. Some of the most common causes for failure include:

  • A vehicle’s OBD system reporting a failure or issue with any emissions-related component or sensor
  • The check engine light itself is not working properly
  • The diagnostic connector is missing, damaged, or not working properly
  • The vehicle’s computer memory was reset during a battery replacement or recent car repair

If your vehicle fails because of OBD issues, we will consult with you on the best next steps to repair or reset the OBD system.