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My daughter has a 98 Ford Windstar that will not pass emissions no matter what we do. What can we do to make it pass?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Colleen McGee, Driving Instructor at Americas Driving School There is a product called "Guaranteed to Pass Emissions Test Formula" It cleans your fuel system where it should pass the emissions test. good luck!

Karen Salvaggio, Owner/ Editor Thunder Valley Racing and Professional Race Car Driver at Thunder Valley Racing There are a number of possible reasons that your *98 Windstar would not pass a smog test. Your first effort should be to look for a "Check Engine" light on the dash. Cars such as the Windstar have an electronic monitoring system that continually checks the functionality of the emission system. The check engine light is usually the first indication that one of the smog components in the system has failed. A local parts house, such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, or Kragen usually has a code reader that can be used to diagnose. If no light is indicated, then you can also look into doing a tune-up on your car yourself. This would include changing the spark plugs, replacing PCV valve, replace any vacuum lines that may be worn or leaking, and assure the car is in good working order. If these more simple maintenance actions don*t assist in getting the car through a smog test, then you most likely have a more serious issue that will require a qualified mechanical diagnosis.

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Ed In some states as Missouri if you provide receipts up to $300 in efforts of emissions repair they may issue a waiver. I recommend checking your state requirements first. Situations such as this can be costly in a hurry especially exhaust repairs. Check your states laws in waivers before you dig too deep in your pockets.

Audra Fordin, Owner at Great Bear Auto Shop Hello Ed, Different states have different state inspection requirements to have your car pass inspection. When you bring your car in, ask to have a detailed estimate of what is needed to pass inspection. In NY if repairs are done, and the car still does not pass inspection emissions a one year waiver can be issued, giving the car owner 1 year to meet the states inspection standards. Mechanically yours, Audra

Diane Larson, Owner/Manager at Larson's Service Hi Ed, Sorry you are having a challenge getting the Windstar to pass emissions. In Massachusetts we have been repairing Emissions problem for a long time and have a great program. Part of that program allows for a waiver, if you have spent a certain amount on repairing the emission problem at a Registered Emission Repair Shop by a Technician who has the proper training to fix your vehicle. However we have not had anyone need the Waiver Program in over a decade and encourage you to find a Technician with the proper tooling & information to properly repair your vehicle. Most of them can be repaired! Lean Condition? Have a Fun Day!

Kristin Brocoff, Director of Corporate Communications at CarMD.com Most states now use on-board diagnostic computerized systems for their emissions tests. Even if your daughter's Windstar doesn't have a check engine light on, it may have a pending problem just waiting to do damage. She should have a qualified automotive technician, shop or dealership (I recommend one with ASE Certification) conduct a diagnostic scan on your vehicle and make necessary repairs. Another option is to use a product such as CarMD (www.CarMD.com). Its colored lights will tell you if your vehicle is ready to pass its emissions test before you event take time off work to drive to the emissions station. Once your daughter identifies the problem, she should have an ASE technician conduct the repairs. Keep in mind also that once the repairs are made, she may need to drive it a few days before it will be ready to pass its test. You can get more information about emissions tests at http://www.carmd.com/46.5/Article/Ready-for-an-Emissions-Test? Safe driving, Kristin Brocoff CarMD.com

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Ed, You need to find a technician who can properly diagnose your problem and fix it. Depending on the state you live in, you can check on getting a waiver as well. This means that you spend $150, or whatever the cost is mandated by the state, and if it still doesn*t pass they write you a waiver. I wouldn*t recommend doing this more than once. Again, a good technician should be able to find and fix the problem. Lori Johnson

Suzanne Grego, Technician at City of Philadelphia Fleet Management Ed, The emissions test relates to the gases being produced in the engine and what happens to those gases before they exit the tailpipe. The only way to pass this test is to find what is causing the elevated levels of bad products that are exiting the vehicle and correcting it. Correcting this problem will not only get the vehicle to pass the test, it will also most likely improve vehicle performance and gas mileage. Suzanne

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