In 45 years as an automotive and diesel technician, Richard Crabtree performed thousands of emissions tests on a wide range of vehicles in Northern California.
The reasons for vehicles that failed were just as varied: misfires, bad O2 sensors, EVAP system leaks, bad fuel caps, failed catalytic converters—all things that would trigger one or more of a modern vehicle’s many monitors, illuminating the dreaded check-engine light. What essentially boils down to a diagnostic check is how emissions tests are performed these days, along with a visual inspection. Tailpipe tests are mostly a thing of the past—unless you have a vehicle that’s more than a couple of decades old.
“An emissions test today is usually just checking to make sure the required number of monitors has passed,” Crabtree says. “That requirement is going to vary from area to area depending on state requirements, the year of the vehicle and other factors. But typically, if a monitor or two doesn’t pass, that check-engine light is going to keep coming on and the car won’t pass.”
The best way to ensure your vehicle passes an emissions test, Crabtree says, is pretty basic: ensure it is well maintained and in good running order, so none of those monitors throw up a red flag. That can be easier said than done, of course, as vehicles collect problems with age, such as a buildup of carbon and oil deposits, and fouled injectors. Those common problems are something Sea Foam can resolve, as Crabtree has seen firsthand.
“It’s definitely produced some good results,” he says. “It’s something that’s simple and worth doing for preventive maintenance.”
Sea Foam’s Take
At Sea Foam, we get many calls and emails from customers struggling with emissions problems and looking for advice to pass tests. We think there are a couple of simple ways to look at what problematic emissions are:
- Gasoline and diesel fuel evaporating into the atmosphere from our fuel tanks. This cause of emission pollution is always occurring, though auto manufacturers have made many advances to prevent this problem through better-contained fuel systems.
- Unburnt fuel introduced into the atmosphere when a dirty engine can no longer burn the fuel completely. A common way to actually see this is any time black smoke is coming from the vehicle’s exhaust. This is something Sea Foam can fix.
A car or truck that doesn’t burn fuel efficiently is not running as it should and, more importantly, is emitting its unburned energy that does not belong in the atmosphere (pollution), harming the environment. Sea Foam can help your vehicle run cleaner and greener, which is a win for all of us. So if you’re looking for help passing an emissions test, or you just want a better running car or truck, try this:
- Add two cans of Sea Foam Motor Treatment or Sea Foam High Mileage (for cars and trucks with over 75,000 miles) to a low tank of fuel and drive normally for about 20 miles. The higher cleaning concentration will help clean and clear fuel injectors and chamber areas.
- Follow the fuel treatment with a sequence of two Sea Foam Spray treatments through the intake. This will clean your intake valves and also provide an extra clean for your engine’s combustion chambers (where the fuel burns).
Be sure to complete this process at least a couple of days before taking your vehicle in for an emissions test. Unsure whether your state requires emissions testing? AAA offers a comprehensive list with detailed requirements for the states that have them.