How Many Miles to Drive After Resetting Check Engine Light for Inspection

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How Many Miles to Drive After Resetting Check Engine Light for Inspection?

The check engine light technology is tailored towards emission control and when that of your car turns on, it indicates that the internal health of the engine is threatened.

The problem may be oxygen sensor failure, loose fuel cap, Catalytic converter failure, ignition coil issues, bad spark plug wires, or a mass airflow sensor failure.

The bottom line is that when your engine light is provoked and you take your car out for an inspection test, failure may be imminent. You fix the issue and then drive some miles to reset check engine light for inspection.

The distance to cover to affect the repair, however, depends on the lifespan, model, speed, and general condition of the car.

In modern cars that store permanent trouble codes, it depends on how many drive cycles are needed to clear the code.

Vehicles have different software and hardware configurations, so a sole cap may not fit all. Given these variations in engine management systems and diagnostic codes, cars may not necessarily run the same miles to reappraise check engine light.

Related Article: Is 100k Miles a Jot For a Jeep? What is Considered High Mileage on a Jeep Wrangler?

How many miles to drive after resetting check engine light for inspection

On average, you would need to drive for about 50 to 100 miles to clear a check engine light. That said, it is important to note that the OBD-I and OBD-II models have slightly different operations.

The OBD-I scanners are compatible with old cars and transmit error codes differently from OBD-I scanners which can retrieve error codes and diagnostic information and are more suited for cars made in the post-1996 era. When you consider all these, you may arrive at a logical narrative on how your car clears out. 

Will your Car Pass Inspection With Check Engine Light On?

Frankly, the chances are slim, but the answer still depends on certain factors that come into play. The location also determines. In the United Kingdom, for instance, a car is immediately written off as unworthy of the road once its check engine light is on. In many cases, your car will not even be inspected until you have fixed it and have the check engine light out. 

In some places, the law grants a safe passage even when your check engine light is illuminated, provided that the vehicle emissions are 1.5x greater than the regulation of the manufacturing year.

In the U.S., vehicle inspection standards and practices vary across the states as environmental policing and climatic consciousness’s differ. 11 of the 50 states are free from the routine safety inspection, and only 32 states do smog tests, with few ones assessing for road-worthiness at times. This sharply contrasts states like Massachusetts and South Carolina, for instance. 

How to Pass New York State inspection with Check Engine Light On?

The New York State Inspectors check vehicles to ascertain safety and emission at once and they would charge you for inspection whether you pass or not. New York is one of those states that have the strictest regulations when it comes to inspection. Cars of 1996 to date are required to have OBD-II tests and older ones just have their parts visually tested. 

If the check engine light of your car is on when you take it for the New York inspections, it is almost certain that it would fail the test. Clearing out the codes to falsely take out the check engine light for inspection is deemed illegal and is most likely to be detected by the rigorous inspection computer systems.

There are unverified assertions, however, that clearing the codes, removing the battery for a while, and driving some miles with the codes off makes the car pass the inspection test even if the check engine light is indeed off. 

Will a Car Pass Inspection With Check Engine Light on in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, safety inspections do not capture car models that are 35 years or older. Also, emission tests are carried out in less than half of the State’s counties.

Cars that were produced in or before 1995, cars powered by diesel, and those used solely for farming purposes are all exempted from emissions testing in North Carolina.

Also, newer cars of the last three models that are fewer than 70,000 may be considered for an exemption too. All these imply that if your car falls on this exemption list, it is not subject to inspection and having its check engine light on is legally permissible in the State of North Carolina. And stickers are not issued to certify inspection; the information is simply stored in the electronic database of the State. 

New York State (NYS) Inspection Check Engine Light Waiver

There are certain conditions to be fulfilled before a person can legally be issued an inspection waiver from the New York State Inspection services. Well, in other to be issued the nys inspection check engine light waiver, first the vehicle in question must have passed NYS safety inspection, but failed the initial emission inspection; then an amount not less than $450 has been spent to reverse the initial emission failure and the vehicle still fails the emission inspection. Any vehicle that has experienced these are considered eligible for a check engine light waiver for inspection in the New York State. 

How to Pass a New York Emission Test?

For a vehicle to be registered as roadworthy in New York, it must pass a safety inspection and emission inspection. Well, you have to obtain first-hand information about the test requirements to be successful at a smog test.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires your ID, Vehicle Registration, and evidence of insurance, and of course, the inspection fee. The emission inspection fee is around $27 in New York. Safety inspection in the State costs $10, so the total inspection fee is $37. There are chances of failing the emission test even if your check engine light is off.

The causes are: you just got your battery charged; your car has been idle for long; you recently had your check engine light repaired or reset, and your car recently became off.

There is a need for you to take note of all of these to have a hitch-free inspection of your car. Also, you should know that you can always carry out a pre-inspection check on your car to preempt underlying problems. Your mechanic would that for you gladly, if he or she considers you as a loyal and esteemed customer. 

Resetting Check Engine Light Before Inspection

You need to understand your car’s diagnostic codes to reset effectively. It would probably take you a few minutes. Here are different ways you can reset your check engine light. One way is to use an OBD2 Scanner to scan the car components connected and detect error codes.

The error codes diagnosed are then decoded to arrive at the exact problems. The second method is to disconnect the battery. To do this, you have to remove both the positive and negative terminals of your battery. 

After this, ensure that any available electricity in the battery’s capacitor is fumed out by pressing the horn for about 30 seconds. You can also turn on the light to rid the capacity completely of electricity. You then leave your car for about 20 minutes, after which you should reconnect the battery terminals very well and switch on the car. 

Another way is to turn the ignition on and off to have a hard reset. This is easier and less stressful than disconnecting the battery. Putting your car in motion and letting it go off by itself is also an effective way of resetting the check engine.

Lastly, you can remove the fuse and put it back. This will work by disconnecting the check engine light’s connection with the electronically controlled unit (ECU). With any of these methods, you can make the check engine light to go off. If the light is turned on after a few days that implies that the car is seriously impaired.

So let look the final faq in this post which is how many monitors have to be ready to pass inspection in NC?

How Many Monitors have to be ready to pass Inspection in NC (North Carolina)?

For vehicles of models between 1996 and 1999, will only allow one “not ready” monitor of the On-board-Diagnostics (OBD2) for it to pass inspection in NC.

However, vehicle models from the year 2000 onwards will need to get all emission monitors in a “READY” mode to pass the inspection test in North Carolina. The only exemption here is the EVAP monitor, which is not required by law to be in a “READY” mode as it does not cause an emission test failure. 


The check engine light is an indicator of internal health; such that an illumination represents a red flag. The problems are diagnosed by the On-Board-diagnostics through the transmitted trouble codes.

After fixing the problems, there is a need to reset the check engine light to put it back on track. The various methods of resettling have been extensively discussed. This is followed by driving an average of 50 to 100 miles to verify the reset for inspection.

And when the car is inspected, the OBD2 tests the components of the engine, emission control, and the computer interface, and each component may be monitored as “READY,” which is positive feedback, “NOT READY,” which is negative feedback or “NOT APPLICABLE,” which implies that the component is not diagnostically compatible.

As discussed, these operations and methodologies vary across states in the U.S., and indeed across countries, but the variations are slight, compared to the uniformity of practice.  

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