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What is an Emissions Warranty?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 23, 2024
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An emissions warranty is a type of coverage provided by the automobile manufacturer to repair and correct any item that may cause your vehicle to fail government emissions tests. Since 1972, all manufacturers are required to provide this coverage on new vehicles. The coverage is very specifically related to manufactures defects that cause a failure. Emissions are the chemical byproducts of a combustion engine that are released into the environment.

This type of warranty is often described in two sections of the automobile warranty information: performance and design and defect warranty. It is important to take the time and read the coverage details of your warranty thoroughly. The emission control components are closely related to overall engine efficiency.

The performance section of the warranty covers any repairs to specific emission control parts that can cause the vehicle to fail the emissions test. This coverage is typically for the first eight years or a specific mileage. It is important to remember that the coverage is for whichever item comes first, time or mileage. These programs also depend on the exact state or local legislation to determine what level of emissions is acceptable and which component must be repaired.

All emissions warranty policies require written proof that the vehicle has been receiving regular maintenance from a warranty authorized repair shop. The mechanics will verify that there has been no misuse of, or undocumented tampering with the vehicle. If there is evidence of any alterations by non-authorized garages, the warranty policy is void.

The design and defect warranty is provided to cover any emission control components that are defective and cease to operate as expected. The same rules regarding the use of authorized repair shops and regular maintenance also applies to claims make under this section. It is important to note that emissions systems are complex and tend to be quite expensive to repair. Take care to ensure that your coverage is maintained by only using authorized garages to complete regular maintenance.

The legislation surrounding the emissions warranty was first introduced to overcome the hurdle in maintaining minimal pollution standards. As the level of compliance and awareness increases, the requirements should also increase. These improved standards will result in less harmful emissions and create a benefit for the environment.

Most states have a basic emissions test that must be passed before the vehicle license can be renewed. The frequency for this test varies by state and it is important to stay informed about this issue. Avoid waiting until the last minute to renew your license and take the emissions test, as it may take time to make the necessary repairs using an approved emissions warranty repair shop.

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