Check engine light bill seeks to ease inspections

By Scott Weiser


With the 2020 legislative session underway, state Senators Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada and John Cooke, R-Greeley, along with House Representatives Chris Hanson, D-Denver and Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs submitted Senate Bill 20-036 to allow drivers to complete an emissions tailpipe inspection even if the vehicle’s check engine light is on.

Colorado law says if the “check engine” light is on, the vehicle fails the emissions inspection immediately.

During last year’s legislative session, Zenzinger and Cooke offered a similar bill, seeking to ease difficulties drivers face when getting a vehicle emissions inspection.

Drivers have to have the problem fixed so the light is off and return for another inspection. But many cars have sensors indicating problems having nothing to do with emissions, such as burned out light bulbs or low fluids.

The automatic fail means drivers have to have minor repairs not associated with emissions fixed before they can pass the inspection.

The bill failed last time around

This year’s bill directs the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to seek approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a change in the federal rules for Colorado’s air pollution program to allow a vehicle to undergo the tailpipe emissions test even if the check engine light is on.

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