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New Emissions Test Begins in Illinois

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By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis – A slight change to car emissions tests in Illinois took effect Friday (1/2).

The new rule requires motorists who fail the on-board computer test to immediately get repairs. In the past, they could try to pass a second test that measured the actual exhaust leaving the tailpipe.

The change only applies to cars with 1996 and later model years. But Mike Right, with the American Automobile Association's St. Louis office, says it could mean more unnecessary and costly repairs.

"I don't mean to slam the repair industry but this situation is very, very complex," Right said. "And many in the repair industry as well as some of the manufacturers, frankly, are not totally up to speed with how to do these repairs as economically as possible."

But the Illinois EPA constantly updates its software. The agency says the computer tests measure more than just the exhaust, which sometimes find problems before they affect emissions levels.

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