Reasons For Excessive Car Emissions

Cars produce exhaust gases that can be hazardous to people and the environment if released in excessive volumes. That's why you're required to pass an emissions test before your vehicle's registration can be renewed. 

If you fail an emissions test, you'll need to have your car checked and the necessary repair work done. There are many reasons why your car may emit a higher volume of exhaust gases than is legally acceptable. Some of the most likely culprits behind this common car problem include the following.

A Rich Fuel Mixture

For your car to operate reliably and efficiently while keeping exhaust emissions as low as possible, the correct fuel-air mixture ratio must be maintained. If the fuel-air mixture is too rich, that is, contains a higher amount of fuel than is necessary for combustion, you could end up with an excessively smoky car.   

Several things can cause your car to run rich. Some of the usual culprits include:

  • Faulty fuel cap
  • Faulty oxygen sensor
  • Bad fuel injectors 
  • A malfunctioning engine control unit
  • Defective mass airflow sensor

Faulty Spark Plugs

Fouled spark plugs can cause rough starts. When this happens, the engine will misfire and won't be able to burn fuel efficiently. The unburned fuel can lead to increased vehicle exhaust emissions. The good news is that faulty spark plugs are easy and cheap to replace.

A Busted Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter is the vehicle component that helps convert toxic gases produced in an internal combustion engine into less harmful exhaust emissions. When it's not operating at maximum efficiency, the emissions that will come out of your car's tailpipe will be more toxic-laden than is required. This will, in turn, result in higher-than-normal emission levels.

A Dirty Air Filter

An air filter helps to catch airborne pollutants that circulate in your engine during normal car operations. Over time, it becomes clogged with dirt buildup and will need to be replaced. Neglecting the need for timely air filter changes will result in restricted airflow within your engine. This will result in inefficient combustion of the fuel. Consequently, your car may emit higher volumes of exhaust gases than is legally acceptable. Just like ruined spark plugs, dirty air filters are easy and cheap to replace.

Excessive levels of car emissions are not just bad for public health but the environment as well. If your car is producing excessive emissions, you should get it checked and repaired by a reputable auto mechanic. Visit a car repair shop in your area.