A Matter of Convenience
“I pride myself on managing a shop that provides conveniences for customers,” said Les Neel, manager of Lube Stop #43 in Avon Lake, Ohio. “Vehicle emissions testing is just one more service that I can provide for my customers without them having to go somewhere else.”
Emissions testing came about as a result of air pollution harming the environment. When studies were conducted to determine the cause of air pollutants, people were made more aware of the carbon emissions their vehicles produce. Various government and state agencies create and enforce emissions testing to combat this issue. Required emissions testing is statewide in a few states, whereas other states only require emissions testing in certain counties. You can visit http://bit.ly/14CAPsZ to determine if emissions testing is required in your area.
“Essentially what an operator would do if interested in offering this service to their customers is determine whether it is required in their area, then contact the state government directly,” said Jenn O’Hanlon, director of Marketing of Lube ‘n Go in El Paso, Texas. “The state should be able to tell you what to do to become a certified testing center. In our case, we were given a list of qualifications we needed to meet or exceed to become a testing center in Texas. We work with the Department of Motor Vehicle Inspections, which is a part of the Department of Public Safety, but it’s a different agency depending on your state and/or county.”
Now that you’ve established you can offer emissions testing, and the steps to get involved, let’s break down the particulars.
Training also depends on the agency running the emissions program in your area.
“Our technicians, in El Paso County, have to take a certification class taught by someone in DPS,” O’Hanlon said. “After the class, they must pass an exam to get their certification.”
She also noted that technicians cannot have certain traffic infractions on their record if they want to receive certification. For example, technicians with a DUI on their record cannot be certified.
In Ohio, it’s slightly different.
“The training process for our technicians consists of eight hours of classroom training, and then, at minimum, four to six hours of hands-on training to be certified,” Neel said.
However, in California, not surprisingly, training is more extensive.
“It’s become a little easier to offer emissions testing in California, but technicians still need at least two to four years of on-the-job experience (general automotive), plus school time and testing,” said Don Shields, owner of Speedee Oil Change & Tune Up in Auburn, California. “Then you must maintain and continue education every other year, up to 16 hours, to keep your certification. Needless to say, I pay for a lot of school!”
Equipment is all across the spectrum when it comes to cost. Also, depending on your agency and area, equipment can differ.
“We have a computer that checks emissions, which was supplied to us by the state of Ohio,” Neel said. “We did not have to invest in the machine.”
However, Shields definitely did.