Schools Training

The Importance of Emission Safety

14 SEP 2012
Career Path : Automotive

Owning and operating a car comes with great responsibility. The convenience they afford us regarding commuting, transportation, and even recreation must always be taken with a strong consideration for safety and responsibility. But automotive safety goes well beyond the road. Proper maintenance of your car goes a long way to protecting the physical safety of your passengers and other commuters, with unexpected breakdowns causing many accidents. But just as important is the regular testing and controlling of your car’s emissions, for this can not only affect one’s physical health, but the environment as well.


Emissions are the fumes that are expelled from a car as it burns gasoline and other fuels. These by-products are necessary for the car to operate, just as it is necessary for the car to expel them from the exhaust system. Most range from mild pollutants to noxious fumes and are a major cause of urban air pollution.


Some of the main automobile emissions are:


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Sulfur
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Formaldehyde
  • And various soot or particle smoke


When combined, some of the adverse effects of these emissions on the environment range from acid rain to the rise of greenhouse gases and smog. The deleterious effects on personal health range from asthma to other respiratory diseases, lung disease, cancer, and poisoning.


This is not to say that cars are completely harmful, but they do require us to regularly maintain and check the amounts of emissions we create both as a society, as well as individually with our own cars. This is especially true when the emission regulating system of an automobile is malfunctioning. For this, we have trained specialists who perform regular emission testing. This position makes up an important part of auto mechanic apprenticeship training.


Three major systems to control emissions that one learns are air injection, exhaust gas circulation, and catalytic converters.


Air Injection


This system utilizes fresh air along with exhaust gases. It is pumped into the exhaust system after being filtered. When it mixes with the exhaust stream, the engine uses a higher percentage of its gases and thus emits less by-product.


Exhaust Gas Circulation


This is a system whereby exhaust fumes are diluted. This is done by recycling some of the exhaust gases right back into the system instead of emitting them outright. It also has the effect of lowering the peak temperatures of combustion, which result in lower levels of nitrogen oxides.


Catalytic Converters


The catalytic converter is a type of conversion instrument made of solid, primordial transition metals and installed in the exhaust pipe. This device converts many of the noxious emissions into less harmful ones by oxidizing them, for example, converting carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.


The more students entering general mechanic apprenticeships, the more we can rest assured that problems regarding auto emissions won’t get out of control. But while we can rely on specialists to maintain our emission systems, we should not neglect that we have the first responsibility to bring our cars to them for regular checkups.



Visit Mohawk College for more information on auto apprenticeships.