NYVIP (New York Vehicle Inspection Program) began statewide in May 2005 and since its beginning there have been more than a few misconceptions about how it works. The new program is for all NY motor vehicles from model year 1996 and newer. The basic safety inspection, visual inspection of emission components and gas cap test carry over from the old program. New to this program is the OBD (on-board diagnostic) inspection. The inspector will plug directly into your vehicle’s diagnostic connector and the inspection computer will read data from the vehicle. The computer looks for two main things. The state of the check engine light (on or off) and the status of the readiness monitors.
Since the introduction of OBD II in 1996, your vehicle has up to 11 different monitors which check for the proper operation of various emissions related systems. Some of these monitors are for vehicle misfire, catalytic converter, oxygen sensor and heater, EGR system and EVAP system. The vehicle’s computer will only test these systems at a specific time based on the data it receives from various sensors. As these tests are performed and passed, their status will change from not ready to ready. In order to pass inspection vehicles from model year 1996 to 2000 are allowed two monitors to be not ready, while 2001 and newer are only allowed one.
Whenever your check engine light comes on, there will be one or more trouble codes stored in the vehicle’s memory. When these codes are cleared the monitors all reset to not ready. This also happens if your car’s battery dies or is replaced without a memory saving device used. In order to get enough monitors to become ready the vehicle has to be driven through a specific drive cycle. This cycle is different for all makes and models. Sometimes a quick 10 or 15 minute drive will do it. Other times it can take 50 or more miles of driving. You can begin to see the problems a lot of technicians face. You bring in your car with an expired inspection and the check engine light on. It’s no longer as simple as turning the light off and issuing a sticker. The problem must be rectified to ensure that when the vehicle tests that system it will pass, changing the appropriate monitor status to ready, allowing the vehicle to be run through the inspection. This can often time mean returning the vehicle to you without a new sticker and having you return for the inspection after driving the car around for a few days. There are no tricks or ways around this, so don’t think an inspector can somehow bypass this step.
Want your vehicle to pass inspection the first time every year? It’s pretty simple. Don’t wait until the last minute. You have until the last day of the month punched out on your sticker. Bring your car in at least a few weeks ahead of time so that if there are any problems there will be ample time to have them corrected and you can avoid getting a ticket.