Failed Emission test because "MIL Command = Fail"
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  1. #1
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    Failed Emission test because "MIL Command = Fail" WTF??

    I hope this clean air campaign BS here in GA goes out the window. I hate these people. I ran my emission test today at the local suds and quick lube place because they offered a free car wash with emission test. Anyways the car wash machine was busted and the dude failed me because of "MIL Command" failed. He had no idea what it meant nor did his "mamager". I call the 800 number for Georgia Clean Air Force and they are so stupid the didn;t even know what MIL stood for. She kept telling me that I would have to have "engine repairs". The guy pulled the codes off the car and it even noted on the emission printout "No engine error codes". How can I repair something that no one knows what it the message means nor does it have any ECU stored codes to tell me? I hate this sheot. Any suggestions?

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  3. #2
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    I would try someplace maybe a little more sophisticatd thean a car wash place. Maybe they might even know what they are talking about.

  4. #3
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    And lose my free carwash? I felt safe as it doesn;t need the tailpipe test on my Model Year just the odb2 sensor check. Here in GA you have 30 days to "make repairs" to your car and you can get it retested for free as long as you can provide reciepts that you did something. Big scam as my county is on the outermost edge of who does and does not have to have emission tests. I'll try and find out more tommorrow from a friends friends shop hopefully.

  5. #4
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    I think I know what your problem is.

    One of the items checked in an emissions test is the functionality of the Check Engine Light, also known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp, or 'MIL'.

    The test monkeys are supposed to make sure it comes on when you start the engine, and that it also turns off after a few seconds.

    This idea here is two-fold; to tell you when the car has stabilized and is running OK, and to make sure it can tell you if something actually goes wrong. If you never saw the MIL at startup, there could be a bad circuit or a failed bulb, etc.

    The MIL command is designed to test that circuit. It's sort of like a fire alarm test.

    They can also plug into the car's computer and look at Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC)s, cycle warning lights, and change some basics functions, etc.

    This is all part of ODB-II, On Board Diagnostics, which became big in the late 80s with GM's infamous "Service Engine Soon" light. We are now on the second generation of this system, which came out on MY96 cars.

    It is a fairly universal system, that is how the portable readers at Autozone work. The factory tools just have more functionality built into them.

    I think they just do not know what a ‘MIL’ is.

    Also, in the testing, if the MIL stays on, they will still fail it for having something wrong, even if it passes the tail pipe readings. At that point, you’d pull the DTC, fix the issue, reset and clear the light, and get it re-tested. Pretty simple process.

    If they are also required to check for any stored DTCs, they could fail it if any emissions related codes are in memory. Luckily, a lot of places just look for a continuous MIL. Be glad for that, as you don't want to be failed for a random misfire or not putting the gas cap on tight.

    Anyhow, if the MIL comes on and goes off again right after you start the car, you are OK. If it were on, you would either be failed for it being on or for there being a DTC in memory. Sounds like they just do not understand this function.

    I'd tell them about this and have them recheck it.

    HTH,
    Mark

  6. #5
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    Ok so it maybe just a case of having a burned out bulb in the dash? That would suck to have to try and get back there. I am trying to remember if my car even has one of those "service engine soon" lights. I don;t remember if it does. Should some kind of "service engine" light come on when you first start the car for a few seconds? I have a MY '99. Does anyone have a schematic of the dash circuit of how to check the cluster bulbs? Thx for the info Mark.

  7. #6
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    Well, these cars use LED bulbs to light up indicators on the instrument cluster.
    When you start the car, just look for a yellow engine symbol that has the word "CHECK" under it. It should go out in a couple of seconds. If you do not see it, shut the engine off and try again.

    If the MIL is not coming on, there could just be something wrong, but that would be so rare on these cars with LEDs, which never 'burn out'. I'd suspect a loose connection somewhere. Do you ever remember it coming on in the past?

    Try starting the car and letting it idle with the gas cap loose, that will certainly trigger the MIL to come on.

    It does not have a Service Engine Soon light, but can light up the word "Service" in the LCD display if you have it. But, that is just a mileage based reminder for filters, oil, etc. and not a problem caused message.

  8. #7
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    Ok the car has a light that reads "Check" with a picture of an engine that comes on for a couple seconds when key in egnition but goes off after 2 seconds. Completly normal. WTF is this guy talking about? So the bulb works fine and goes off like normal. It does NOT stay on all the time. Are there any Emission techs in the house?

  9. #8
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    I called another emission place (who are professionals) and they said the emissions are probably fine and that the error is probably from the engine not "running a complete cycle" whatever that means. He said to drive it around for a hundred miles or so and bring it back to test. He wanted to know if I had the battery swapped recently and I had the ignition switch replaced about 4 weeks ago. He didn;t think that would have caused it.

  10. #9
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    If the car has not run long enough for the ecu to have gone through it's "self tests" it may show as "OBD II system not ready", causing them to fail you. Did you sit on line long ? Did they/you shut the car off before the test ??

  11. #10
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    yeah car was shut off before the test for about 10-15 minutes or so. Are they supposed to test the OBD2 stuff with the engine running?

  12. #11
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    I'm pretty sure the car needs to be running to do the test. Because there are readiness codes that get set as passed after the secondary airpump cycles on and off. It should probably be running for at least 5-10 minutes I would guess just to be on the safe side.

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