Schools Training

Green Auto Careers 101: Smog-busting Vehicle Emissions Inspectors

16 FEB 2012
Career Path : Automotive

When you were a child, you played with toy trucks and cars, but along the shore of a treasured lake long frequented by your family. When you got your driver’s license, you couldn’t wait to take your first solo road trip: to participate in a shoreline cleanup project. You love nothing more than rolling down the windows and belting out the words to your favourite song on an empty stretch of highway, except for maybe turning the soil in your organic backyard garden and dreaming of the coming harvest. Is there any way to balance your love of wheels with your concern for the environment? In a word, yes. Today’s auto technician training can prepare you for an environmentally minded automotive career of the future: vehicle emissions inspector.

If you are interested in automotive careers, but are searching for auto careers that reflect the values you hold dearest, consider taking auto technician training to become a vehicle emissions inspector.

This is one of the auto careers for which demand is expected to rise. Many provincial and state governments are bringing in legislation requiring cars to pass emission tests before drivers renew their registration or license plates. These programs are meant to improve human and environmental health by reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change. Emissions inspection is one of the automotive careers that help fight smog.

Wondering how the emissions test is actually performed? Qualified graduates of auto technician training first perform a visual check of the vehicle to look for such issues as:

  • missing gas caps
  • a smoking tailpipe

Gas caps are also inspected to make sure that they don’t allow any vapours to seep out.

The other stages of the test depend on the type of vehicle:

  • full-time all-wheel drive
  • diesel
  • 1991 and older vehicles
  • 1992 and newer vehicles

Some vehicles are tested on something called a vehicle test stand. Other names for the stand used by those in auto careers include:

  • emission dyno
  • dynamometer

The vehicle test stand is essentially a treadmill that graduates of emissions auto technician training use to simulate actual driving conditions.

While a car is on the test stand, the vehicle emissions inspector inserts a sample probe or exhaust collection device into its tailpipe. This probe is connected to a computer, which measures for such smog-forming pollutants as:

  • nitrogen oxides
  • carbon monoxide
  • hydrocarbons

The emissions inspector drives the car following a prescribed cycle of acceleration, while tracking performance on a video screen. The test can take as little as four minutes.

There is also a test called the “curb idle” test, which simulates congested city traffic (e.g., idling during a traffic jam), testing the car at low speed and again as it idles. Some cars are also submitted to something called the two-speed idle test.

Interested in emissions-inspection auto careers? Look for auto technician training at a local college that offers classes in emissions testing, and prepare now for one of the environmentally friendly automotive careers of the future.

Contact the Automotive Training Centre for more information on their Automotive Programs.