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New York State Motorist Fact Sheet

On-Board Diagnostics...

A new vehicle inspection program is being introduced across New York State to decrease the emissions from motor vehicles and to reduce air pollution. The New York Vehicle Inspection Program (NYVIP) is designed to assist New York State comply with federal Clean Air Act requirements by including a new on-board diagnostic test (OBD II) for most 1996 and newer vehicles (light duty vehicles with a registered weight less than 8,501 pounds). This test will monitor the emissions control systems of applicable vehicles as part of the required annual vehicle inspection. The NYVIP program is a joint venture of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

How does the driver know there is a problem?

If a potential problem is detected, the vehicle’s on-board computer illuminates a dashboard light that states either “Service Engine Soon,” “Check Engine,” or simply a symbol of an engine. This light, also referred to as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), informs the driver that a problem has been detected and vehicle service is needed.


How can a vehicle fail the OBDII test?

There are five possible reasons or ways to fail an OBD inspection:

  • The MIL fails to light when the ignition key is in the on position and the engine is not running. This will be displayed as “Key On Engine Off: FAIL” on the receipt.

  • The MIL stays on when the ignition key is in the on position and the engine is running. This will be displayed as “Key On Engine Running: FAIL” on the receipt.

  • The vehicle’s computer has commanded the MIL to light.

  • The NYVIP testing equipment cannot communicate with the vehicle’s computer. This will be displayed as “OBD Communications Failed” on the receipt.

  • There are too many Readiness monitors reported as “Not Ready.” The specific monitors that are not ready will be listed on the receipt.

Explanation of the reasons above...

  • The purpose of the MIL bulb check (when the ignition key is in the on position and the engine is not running) is to see if the MIL can illuminate. If it cannot light, there is no way for the system to alert the operator of the problem.

  • When the MIL stays on (when the ignition key is in the on position and the engine is running), the on-board computer is indicating a potential emissions-related problem with the vehicle.

  • The vehicle’s computer has detected a problem and has signaled the Malfunction Indicator Lamp to light to alert the operator.

  • The OBD portion of the inspection could not be properly completed.

  • The OBD system has not completed its tests of the various components and systems it monitors to be able to make a determination of their condition.

What you should do if your vehicle failed...

For items 1 through 4, you should consult a qualified, trained service technician equipped with the appropriate diagnostic and repair equipment to perform OBD related service. For item 5, you should refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for OBD/Readiness Driving Procedures or drive your vehicle in a normal fashion both at highway cruising speed and “stop and go” driving for a week before getting the vehicle re-inspection sticker is expired, the testing equipment will issue you a 10-Day Extension. You should plan to get the vehicle re-inspected several days before the expiration of the 10-Day Extension, as it will be only one issued.

How do I know if my vehicle is covered under warranty?

Federal law requires that the emission control systems on 1995 and newer model year vehicles be warranted for a minimum of 2 years or 24,000 miles. Additional warranty coverage for the on board computer and catalytic converter is extended to 8 years or 80,000 miles for these same vehicles. Many automakers provide extended warranty coverage beyond that required by law. Depending on the model year and mileage of your vehicle, emission system repairs may be covered by the manufacturer. Consult your vehicle’s warranty documents or your vehicle dealer for more information.

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