Georgia emissions testing (boooo!)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by hhoyal, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. hhoyal

    hhoyal New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    6
    0
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    I live in the metro Atlanta area of Georgia, where emissions testing is mandatory for 2005 and older cars. My 2005 Prius is up for inspection this month, for the first time.

    I had read articles about the horror stories 2004 Prius owners had last year. Apparently, the GA emissions testing software doesn't do right with the Prius. The cars fail the test!

    I had hoped they had worked out the kinks in the past year, but that doesn't yet appear to be true. The story I'm getting from the GA Clean Air Force is that they have a procedure they've sent to the emissions test sites for how to get the Prius to pass. The bad news is that in the field, the test sites still can't get the cars to pass.

    I've been to three sites so far, none of which will test my car. I called the GA Clean Air Force twice so far, and they tell me I need to force them to test my car and if they won't, then I should file a complaint about the location with the GA Clean Air Force. They also recommended that I tell the testers at the test site to call the customer service number for the GA Clean Air Force (presumably so they can enforce that my car be tested).

    I'll give it my best shot, but I fear this is about to get ugly.

    For the record, I don't blame the test sites. They are given inadequate testing software, told that they must perform the test which proves to fail more often than not, and then reprimanded for not testing properly when the test fails.
     
  2. ny biker

    ny biker New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    446
    2
    0
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Can you get the testing done at a Toyota dealer? That's where I always took my Camry, and where I plan to take the Prius when it needs inspections.

    I was actually wondering just the other day about emissions test requirements for the Prius here in Virginia, since I thought I had read somewhere that California doesn't require it. But I have a while before I need to deal with that, and the dealer that sold me my car sells so many Prii that I expect they will know what needs to be done.

    Good luck with yours --
     
  3. GreenLady

    GreenLady Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    163
    0
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Boy, that does suck. Here in Colorado, they have mobile emissions testing stations set up at freeway onramps. You just drive by 2 different ones on one day and you're done. Luckily, hybrids are exempt from emissions testing!! :cool:
     
  4. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    7,511
    1,140
    0
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    California won't require testing the Prius until at least 2010. They are still working on the test method.

    CA Dep. Consumer Affairs- Bur. Automotive Repair - Bureau of Automotive Repair

    Taking it to a Toyota dealer seems like a good suggestion. It might cost more, but they will be motivated to get it to pass. ;)
     
  5. NoMoShocks

    NoMoShocks Electrical Engineer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
    1,289
    71
    0
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    It seems like if they cannot test it properly, they ought to give you an exemption until they figure it out.

    Please don't missunderstand me. I don't want every Prius owner to move to Washington state, but Prius and I think all other vehicles classified as PZEV are completely exempt from mandatory testing.

    Here, regular cars must have their tests conducted by a state inspection station every two years beginning on the vehicle's second annual registration renewal.

    Beginning 2011, they will begin waiving the 8 percent sales tax when you buy a Prius. I am not sure if I can wait that long to get a new Plug in Prius with 80 MPG
     
  6. hhoyal

    hhoyal New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    6
    0
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Update: So I found a site that would test my emissions. Trouble is, my 2005 Prius failed! :mad: :( :eek: :mad:

    The reports I've read are that the testing problems in GA lead to an aborted test, which is equivalent to failing in the eyes of the GA Clean Air Force. But my case appears to be different. My 2005 Prius failed outright according to the test. The reason for failure was that my CO+CO2% emissions were too high. Specifically, when conducting the idle RPM test my numbers were:

    HC-ppm: 018
    RPM: 0731
    CO%: 0.04
    CO+CO2%: 14.8
    Result: FAIL (due to CO+CO2%)

    I understand that by having a PZEV that I have a 15 yr/150,000 mi warranty on the emissions. So, I can go to the Toyota dealer to get things checked out. My hesitation is that I think the test is crap.

    I'd rather take it to get tested again to see how I fare in another test. I've read some things about running the car on the highway pretty good just prior to the test and getting oil changed and verifying spark plugs. Do these things apply to my Prius I wonder? I change the oil regularly, and I've only got 16.5k miles on this car. The thing runs perfectly.

    I've left messages with the GA Clean Air Force about next steps, but I don't have confidence in that route either.
     
  7. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    7,511
    1,140
    0
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    What is the limit for CO+CO2? Sounds fishy to me. Perfect combustion is

    CxHx + O2 -> H20 + CO2.
     
  8. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    4,086
    430
    0
    Location:
    Bahstahn
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Have those numbnuts *still* not figured it out? This is SO EASY
    to work around. If you're in deep contact with the people in
    the GA emissions-testing infrastructure, HAVE THEM READ THIS
    and then PROPAGATE that information to all of their inspection
    stations. This is absolutely unbelievable and inexcusable.
    .
    731 RPM is too low, by the way. The Prius idles at about 1000,
    so yeah, that test was invalid. Wth were they doing to the car
    to pull figures like that?
    .
    _H*
     
  9. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    7,511
    1,140
    0
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    I didn't catch the fact that the idle speed is too low, but he is absolutely right. Are you sure they tested your car? Did you see them do it?

    A former coworker from long ago told me about an inspection station in Oakland, CA that could pass any car. If the car under test was too high, they would stick the probe into the tailpipe of a different car instead.
     
  10. The Tramp

    The Tramp Italian Prius Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    327
    16
    0
    Location:
    Turin, Italy
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    This is the E.U. Emission test for my Prius:

    RPM 780
    CO corr 0,0%
    Lambda 1,01 [-]
    CO 0,009%
    CO2 15,62%
    HC 18 ppm
    O2 0,21%
    NOx 0 ppm


    RPM 2190
    CO corr 0.0%
    Lambda 1,01 [-]
    CO 0,004%
    CO2 15,65%
    HC 15 ppm
    O2 0,21%
    NOx 0 ppm
     
  11. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    7,511
    1,140
    0
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    So your car won't pass the Georgia emissions test either. :D
     
  12. The Tramp

    The Tramp Italian Prius Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    327
    16
    0
    Location:
    Turin, Italy
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Ain't I lucky not to live in Georgia.... :D
     
  13. KTPhil

    KTPhil Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    1,379
    13
    0
    Take it to the dealer and make them repair and pass the car. Every car is guaranteed to pass smog for 50K miles under federal law, or the dealer must repair it. As long as you have a clean air filter, there is nothing for you as an owner to do in the way of required maintenance. Yes, some states that follow the California specs give a 10 year/150K warranty for smog-related hardware, but you are already covered under federal regs. Let the dealer sort it out.
     
  14. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    7,511
    1,140
    0
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    I don't think there is anything wrong with the car, its the test and/or the tech that is the problem. But, I agree, take it to Toyota - they will find a way to get it to pass.
     
  15. okiebutnotfrommuskogee

    okiebutnotfrommuskogee Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    1,813
    15
    0
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Move to Oklahoma -- no inspections.
     
  16. hhoyal

    hhoyal New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    6
    0
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Update #3: Georgia emissions testing (boooo!)

    I took my car to the same emissions station for the free re-test, as allowed under Georgia law (I know I'm a glutton for punishment). Long story short, I failed again with almost exactly the same readings.

    I have several next steps, which I hope will yield some positive results:
    * My local dealer will inspect the car for potential emissions problems. As some have noted in posts to this thread, the PZEV certification from Toyota comes with warranty coverage for emissions. I'm not going to go into detail here since I might misquote, but I'm relatively sure that I won't pay out of pocket a penny for this dealer inspection. Trouble is that the dealers don't have this GA emission testing equipment. Dealers don't participate in GA emission testing. So, I can envision a case where my dealer tells me the car is fine, but it continues to fail the test. So...

    * I've got a support case open with the GA Clean Air Force. The likely outcome is that they will send a tech to meet me at a location to 'referee' the test. This is my opportunity to show them that their testing workaround doesn't work, or it is too complicated to follow.

    * Friends and colleagues are urging me to go public with this through various channels (local politics, local news, consumer advocate, etc.). I'm not ready for all that yet. I'm lending my support proactively so that maybe this can be solved for others. If it doesn't get results that route, then I can be persuaded to turn this thing ugly...

    Thanks to the encouraging posts on this thread. Thanks especially to the The Tramp, who gave me his readings. I find it very revealing that we have similar numbers, and yes, you too would fail the test. Phooey. :)
     
  17. hhoyal

    hhoyal New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    6
    0
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    That's a great link. I took that with me to the emissions station the first time. Funny story about that. I arrived at the testing center with my piece of paper and these steps. The conversation went like this:
    Guy: "Prius eh? I'll test it, but it probably won't pass"
    Me: "I heard that the test aborts because the car won't idle. I printed this paper from a website about how you can maintain an idle"...<interrupted>
    Guy: "Has to do with blasting the A/C, right?"
    Me: "No. It's a series of steps to put the car in a mode where it will continue to idle"...<interrupted>
    Guy: "Yeah, I know. We've got those same steps as our workaround. The problem is that the car will only idle for 45 seconds using these steps, and the test takes longer than that usually."
    Me: "Uhhh, I don't know what steps you have, but mine I printed from the internet. There is no 45 second limit to my steps"...<interrupted>
    Guy: "Like I said, I'll test it. Please wait inside sir."

    Of course my car has failed twice now. The morale of the story is that guys that work on cars aren't always very receptive to the customer about how to do their job.

    I asked the guy if he has this problem with other Priuses.

    Guy: "Actually, this is the first Prius I've ever successfully tested."
    Me: "So usually the test aborts?"
    Guy: "That's correct."
    Me: "I'm not so sure I like the word successful here."

    Both times when I left the station after the test, the A/C had been played with during the test.
     
  18. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    7,511
    1,140
    0
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    My condolenses to you. Let Toyota fight with the Georgia government - they are obligated to make it pass.
     
  19. MadHungarian

    MadHungarian Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    139
    9
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta and Miami Beach
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    Hobbit is right-on with the approved instructions that allow the Prius to idle for test purposes--if the tech will use them!

    I had my car inspected at the facility in the parking lot of the Toco Hills Shopping Center. The tech (?) used what appeared to be his own procedure--turn the AC on and run it at the highest/coldest setting.

    I don't think is is the official GA method, but it worked--my car ('05) passed.

    Good luck.
     
  20. Jack66

    Jack66 Kinda Jovial Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    766
    4
    0
    Location:
    Stafford, Virginia
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    I'm not sure that blasting the A/C would make the ICE turn over at the same RPMs as the idle procedure described above. Does the test work at different RPM ranges?