Utah Emissions Inspection Guide

In 2018, Utah removed safety inspections as a requirement for registration for most cars and trucks. Save a few exceptions, you can register any vehicle in Utah without a technician or mechanic signing off on it.

However, all vehicles are still required to have an emissions check performed. Emissions checks verify that a vehicle is not releasing excessive noxious gasses into the air while operating. The type of check and frequency varies depending on the vehicle type and year it was manufactured.

vehicle_inspection_sign

How often do I need to get an emissions check?

Only five of Utah’s 29 counties require emissions checks. They have a slightly different rule regarding the frequency of emissions checks.

Salt Lake County Emissions Rules

If your vehicle is less than six years old, you are required to get an emissions inspection every two years. A car with an odd number model year must get checked on all odd number years to meet the biennial interval requirement (cars with an even model year are checked on even-numbered years). Vehicles older than 6 years require yearly emissions inspections in Salt Lake County.

Exemptions 

  • Any model year 1976 and older
  • Diesel vehicles made in 1997 or earlier with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) under 14000 lbs
  • Motorcycles
  • EV’s (electric vehicles)
  • Agriculture and farm vehicles
  • Vintage cars
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Construction/maintenance vehicles
  • Military vehicles

Utah County Emissions Rules 

Gas vehicles registered in Utah County follow similar rules to those in Salt Lake County. Cars and trucks 6 model years old or newer require an inspection every two years, and cars older than six model years but newer than 1967 require yearly inspection. Anything older than the model year 1967 requires no inspection. Diesel vehicles with modal years from 1998 to 2016 require yearly inspections.

Exemptions

  • Any model year 1967 and older
  • Diesel vehicles made in 1997 or earlier with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) under 14000 lbs
  • Motorcycles
  • EV’s (electric vehicles)
  • Agriculture and farm vehicles
  • Vintage cars
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Construction/maintenance vehicles
  • Military vehicles
  • Diesel vehicles from 2017 or newer

Davis County

Davis County follows the same rules as Utah and Salt Lake Counties but requires light, medium, and heavy-duty diesel engines to follow the same inspection intervals.

Exemptions

  • Any model year 1967 and older
  • Diesel vehicles made in 1997 or earlier with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) under 14000 lbs
  • Motorcycles
  • EV’s (electric vehicles)
  • Agriculture and farm vehicles
  • Vintage cars
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Construction/maintenance vehicles
  • Military vehicles
  • Any heavy-duty diesel meeting the following criteria:
  • IRP registration
  • GVWR greater than 26.000 lbs

Weber County Emissions Rules

Vehicles in Weber County follow the same emissions rules as those registered in Salt Lake County. Cars and trucks less than six years old need inspections every two years, and cars older than six years require yearly emissions checks.

Exemptions

  • Any model year 1967 and older
  • Diesel vehicles made in 1997 or earlier with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) under 14000 lbs
  • Motorcycles
  • EV’s (electric vehicles)
  • Agriculture and farm vehicles
  • Vintage cars
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Construction/maintenance vehicles
  • Military vehicles

Cache County 

Cache County has unique emissions policies that set it apart from the other counties in Utah. Vehicles six years old or newer are not required to undergo any emissions inspection. Any vehicles older than six years require biennial emissions checks. The cutoff for age in Cache County is the model year 1969. Any vehicle produced in 1968 or before is exempt from emissions inspections.

Exemptions: 

  • Any model year 1968 and older
  • Diesel vehicles made in 1997 or earlier with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) under 14000 lbs
  • Motorcycles
  • EV’s (electric vehicles)
  • Agriculture and farm vehicles
  • Vintage cars
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Construction/maintenance vehicles
  • Military vehicles

For more information on Utah’s emission rules, check out the Utah DMV website.

What does an emissions inspection look like?

Older vehicles (produced in 1995 or before) get an actual tailpipe emissions test with a gas analyzer to measure vehicle emissions. Any car produced in 1996 or later gets an OBD2 test. The technician will plug into the vehicle’s computer and check to make sure emissions systems are ready. In Utah, you can have one emissions monitor fail but still pass the inspection. If two monitors are not ready, the vehicle will not pass.

Get a Utah emissions inspection at Matson Point S!

Time for an emissions check? Our technicians will make sure your car passes its emissions check and if it doesn’t, recommend and complete the repairs needed to get it passing. Give us a call and schedule an appointment at our Riverton, Utah shop today!

Is It Really Necessary To Rotate My Tires?

Tire rotation is important, but misunderstood. It can vary significantly depending on your car and the tires you use. Tire rotation is beneficial to safety and tire life. Depending on your tires, regular rotations can also keep them covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Why should I rotate my tires?

There are several key benefits to regular tire rotation

1.) Even tire wear

Rotating your tires ensures they wear as evenly as possible. Keeping the tread wear even lengthens the life of a tire. There are a variety of factors that can impact tire wear. If your vehicle is 2-wheel drive, the tires that receive power and torque from the engine are subject to more rapid wearing. If you neglect to regularly rotate your tires, you may need to replace them both more frequently and unevenly.

2.) Improved safety

Keeping the tread on all four tires even makes your vehicle safer. Tires adhere your vehicle to the road and help with braking, acceleration, and handling. the performance of the tire is restricted by uneven tread wear. While worn down tire tread is inevitable and will always impact performance, keeping the tread wear as even as possible will maximize safety.

3.) Reduced stress on all-wheel-drive vehicles

All-wheel drive vehicles are sensitive to variations in the tire tread. If the tread on your tires is uneven, it forces the vehicle’s differentials to rotate at different speeds constantly. Differentials can accommodate varying wheel speeds temporarily, but excess wear and tear can occur if they are forced to do this constantly.  

Types of tire rotation

There are a variety of different tire rotation patterns depending on the drive type and tire size(s) of your vehicle.

1.) X-pattern 

The X-pattern tire rotation swaps the front left and back right tire, and the back right and front left. This rotation pattern addresses uneven tire wear and can be done on vehicles with the same size, non-directional tires

2.) Front to rear 

Front to rear tire rotation switches the front tires with the rears on the same side. Vehicles with directional tires must use a front to rear rotation pattern.

3.) Forward cross

The forward cross tire rotation pattern moves the rear right tire to the front left, the rear left tire to the right front position, and both front tires directly back the same side rear positions. Front-wheel drive vehicles with uneven tread wear benefit from this rotation pattern.

4.) Rearward cross

A rearward cross tire rotation is the opposite of the forward cross. This rotation moves the front tires to the rear positions and crosses them, moving the rear tires forward. Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and 4-wheel drive vehicles use this rotation.

5.) Side to side

A side-to-side tire rotation simply swaps them horizontally (right rear switched to the left rear, etc.). Cars with staggered tires (wider tires, usually in the rear require this rotation pattern.

Regular tire rotation is an opportunity to inspect your vehicle.

This is an indirect benefit of regular tire rotations. When a technician rotates your tires, they will have an up-close look at your brakes, axles, suspension, and other components of the drivetrain. Regular tire rotations put eyes on these areas of your car that may not be looked at until a serious problem arises.

How often should I rotate my tires?

The frequency of tire rotation depends on your vehicle. In general, it’s a good idea to rotate your tires every 5000 miles which is typically the interval you would get your oil changed. Check your owner’s manual to see the recommended oil change interval for your vehicle. Modern cars often have higher mileage intervals. If this is the case with your car, try to rotate your tires twice a year.

Matson Point S Can Rotate Your Tires!

If it’s time for a tire rotation or any other scheduled maintenance on your vehicle, give Matson Point S a call or schedule an appointment online! Our trained mechanics will keep your vehicle running and driving properly.

Why Is My Car Leaking Oil When It’s Parked?

It can be worrisome when you move your car or truck from its parking spot and notice a puddle of liquid on the ground beneath it. Any time fluid escapes from the engine is a cause for concern, whether it’s coolant, oil, or transmission fluid.

Finding a puddle of oil beneath your parked car is perhaps the most concerning. The oil keeps moving metal components in your engine lubricated while it operates, preventing catastrophic metal-on-metal friction, a death sentence for any motor.

Unless the leak is significant, do not worry, your engine is not in immediate danger. Regardless, if you notice oil on the ground where you parked your car, you need to look at it before it gets worse.  

How to identify an oil leak

Identifying an engine oil leak is not particularly difficult. If you notice a puddle of brown or black liquid under your car, you likely have one. If the pool contains pink, green, or orange fluid, the leak is likely coolant or transmission fluid.

The challenge with identifying an oil leak comes with modern vehicles. New cars have a lot of plastic shielding under the engine. The shielding will catch leaking oil before it hits the ground, meaning may not even know you have an oil leak until you bring your car to a mechanic for service. Sometimes when looking under the hood you will notice oil on the engine itself.

What causes an oil leak?

Old and worn-out gaskets

The surfaces in the engine that are sealed with gaskets are the most likely areas to leak oil. Some of the more common areas are the valve cover gasket, head gasket, and oil pan seal. If you have a leaking head gasket, you may not notice oil on the ground. Sometimes a failed head gasket will only leak internally, so you may see blue smoke coming from your tailpipe.

valve-cover-oil-leak
Gaskets like the one separating the valve cover from the cylinder head can begin to leak oil as they age.

Damage to the oil pan

The oil pan sits on the bottom of your engine. Oil settles in the pan when the engine is off. When you drive, the oil starts and finishes cycling through the engine in the oil pan. Because of the oil pan’s close proximity to the ground, debris from the road and impacts with objects can puncture it. A punctured oil pan is a serious issue and can leave your engine without any oil. The potential for engine damage under these circumstances is much higher than with a slow oil leak from a gasket.

Improperly installed or poorly tightened parts

If the studs or bolts used to hold together engine components are not tightened to the correct specifications, an oil leak is possible. It’s important to have a qualified mechanic perform a major engine like an oil pan seal or valve cover gasket replacement. An incorrectly tightened oil filter can also be to blame for an oil leak.

oil-filter-on-car
An improperly tightened oil filter can cause an oil leak.

The oil drain plug is not tight

The oil drain plug is located on the oil pan and allows for the oil to be drained from the engine. If this bolt is not tightened properly when it is replaced, an oil leak can result.

Can I drive my car with an oil leak?

It entirely depends on the severity and cause of the leak. A small oil pan gasket or valve cover leak shouldn’t prevent you from driving as long you check your oil level frequently and add more if needed. However, an oil leak caused by a punctured oil pan or other major engine damage will usually require your car to be towed.

Pay attention to the size of the oil puddle on the ground under your car. A large puddle of oil indicates a dangerously fast oil leak. If you know you have a slow leak, check the oil level in your car every time before you drive. If the oil light comes on when you are driving, pull over and turn off your car immediately to prevent catastrophic engine damage.

Preventing future oil leaks

The best way to stay ahead of an oil leak is regular maintenance and paying attention to your car. Every time you have your car serviced, ask your mechanic to do a quick look around for any leaks. If you notice a puddle of oil where you park your car, get it to a repair shop right away.

Let us fix your oil leak!

If your car is leaking oil, visit Matson Auto and Marine! Our skilled mechanics can get to the bottom of an oil leak, or any fluid leak, quickly at our Riverton based shop. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

How Old is too Old for Tires?

Tire age is an often-overlooked factor that can drastically affect driving safety. Drivers usually gauge the life of their tires by the amount of tread it has left, rarely taking into account the effect age has on them. Just because your tires have tread left doesn’t mean they are safe.

For daily drivers and work vehicles, tire tread tends to wear out long before age compromises their performance. For classic cars, show cars, and weekend drivers, tires are much more likely to reach an unsafe sage before the tread wears out. Tires that are kept in storage for an extended period and spare tires are also more likely to succumb to the effects of aging.

How to identify the age of a tire

The manufacture date is on the sidewall of a tire. Locate the four-digit number after the visible DOT (Department of Transportation) designation. The number shows as a week and year. For example, a DOT number of 0820 would mean the tire was made on the 8th week of 2020. 

If you check the DOT number and it only has three digits, the tire was manufactured before the year 2000. If you have a tire of this age on any vehicle, replace it as soon as possible.

tire-age-dot-code-on-sidewall

How long can a tire last?

Most auto manufacturers recommend replacing tires over six years old regardless of tread depth. Some tire manufacturers like Michelin and Continental give a 10-year limit.

As rubber compounds age, they deteriorate and become weaker like other rubber and plastic components on your car. This process is called rubber oxidation, which dries out the compound. As the rubber oxidates, it becomes stiff and brittle, resulting in internal and external cracking under load.  

There is no mandated rule on tire age, but the older they are, the more dangerous they become. Several factors can shorten a tire’s life while it is in storage or off the road.

Exposure to heat 

Heat contributes to faster rubber oxidation. Exposure to sunlight and warm climates can make your tires age faster.

Extended storage

Tires kept in storage are not immune to the process of aging and rubber oxidation. Storage spaces without climate control like a garage or shed will cause tires to oxidize and breakdown due to the effects of heat.

Even if a tire is stored in an environment that protects it from extreme temperatures, the rubber compound will still breakdown over time. A tire stored inflated on a wheel will succumb to oxidation faster than one stored unmounted.

Remember, a tire that has been in storage for years may look completely fine, but the effects of time will still impede its performance.

Summer and weekend car tires

If you have a vehicle that sees the road less than your daily driver, you may hit the tire age limit before they wear out. The temperature and storage factors from above also come in to play on summer and weekend vehicles. Check the age and condition of the tires on your summer or weekend vehicle whenever you take it out of storage for the season.

Tires-stored-correctly

Spare tires

Spare tires are rarely thought about unless you get a flat, but they are exposed to poor storage conditions. Spares mounted beneath a truck or SUV are continually exposed to road salts, oil, dirt, and temperature fluctuations. Spare tires kept inside a car are baked by the sun and frozen in the winter.

Tire damage and care

A tire that has been patched, over or underinflated, or has not been rotated will age faster. Tires that are cared for will have a longer life than those that are not.

So are my tires too old?

It depends. Generally, a tire over 6 years old will not be as safe or effective as it was new. However, factors like temperature exposure, care, storage, and use can increase or decrease the amount of time a tire can be used before being retired.

The DOT tire age designation will tell you when a tire was manufactured. The DOT designation is particularly useful when buying tires from a non-dealer, or inspecting the tires on a classic/weekend/summer vehicle.

Need new tires? Come visit us!

Matson Point S in Riverton, Utah is your one-stop shop for tires, repair, maintenance, and marine services. Give us a call or schedule an appointment today!

Why is my steering wheel shaking?

It may start suddenly or gradually get worse, but when your steering wheel shakes, you notice it. The steering wheel connects you to the front suspension, brakes, wheels, tires, and the road. With so many components, many issues can contribute to a shaking steering wheel. The conditions under which the wheel shakes can be indicative of the problem. At Matson Point S, our technicians will diagnose and fix the issue making your steering wheel shake. Before making an appointment, read up on the most common causes of a shaking steering wheel!

Steering wheel shaking conditions

Not all steering wheel shaking is the same. In some cases, shaking is only noticeable under certain driving conditions. The three main conditions that shaking can occur are:

1.) Continuous – The wheel shakes continuously at any speed

2.) Braking – The wheel shakes when the brakes are applied.

3.) Speed Specific – Shaking is noticed only at specific speeds. 

If you notice your steering wheel shaking when you drive, be sure to take note of when it happens. This information can help quickly narrow down the cause of the shake

Causes of a shaking steering wheel

Warped Brake Rotors

The brake rotors are an essential part of your braking system, providing the calipers with a surface to clamp on and slow down. Several factors can cause rotors to become warped.

1.) Rapid Cooling – If you are driving aggressively or braking heavily and immediately wash your car, the rapid temperature change can cause your rotors to warp. Allow your brakes to cool before exposing them to water.

2.) Excessive Heat – Brakes work to disperse heat from the friction created by pads and rotors coming together. If the rotors get too hot, they can warp and cause your steering wheel to shake. Trucks towing heavy loads and vehicles descending steep hills have a higher chance of warping brakes from excessive heat.

3.) Sticking Caliper – A sticking brake caliper creates non-stop friction on one rotor. As you drive, excessive heat from the additional friction can warp the rotor and cause a shake in the steering wheel.

4.) Age – any moving part will become worn out with age. As your rotors age, the overall structural integrity will go down as the material gets worn away. The rotors will become less effective at distributing heat, increasing the likelihood of them warping.

If you notice your steering wheel shaking when you apply your brakes, and the shaking continues until you come to a stop, the likely cause is a warped rotor. Replacing brake pads and rotors is considered a regular maintenance item, meaning a shaking steering wheel caused by warped rotors is a relatively affordable and quick fix.

brake-rotor-and-caliper

Wheel Balance

Balancing is essential in eliminating vibration and shake while driving. When tires are mounted, wheel weights get installed on the rim. If a wheel weight is lost or a wheel is improperly balanced, there is a good chance you will notice shaking in your steering wheel while you are driving. A bent or cracked wheel can throw a wheel out of balance as well.

If improperly balanced wheels are the cause, the shaking will occur at specific speeds, most commonly between 35-50 MPH. Shaking at a specific speed is a good indicator that the issue is related to wheel balancing, not failing suspension components.

stick-on-wheel-weights
Stick-on wheel weights prevent shake and vibration

Tires

Cupping and other irregular tread wear can will cause shaking in the steering wheel. To prevent uneven wear, make sure your vehicle is properly aligned, and the tires are rotated every 5000 miles.

In some cases, vehicles that have sat for extended periods may have shaking in the steering wheel from flat spots in the tires. Most of the time, driving the vehicle will smooth out these flat spots and eliminate the shaking, but not always.

worn-out-tire

Worn Out or Broken Suspension Components

More common on older vehicles, worn out suspension components like ball joints and control arm bushings can cause shaking in the steering wheel at speed, on rough roads, and under braking. When components connected to the steering wheel wear out, the car loses its “tightness” and can become upset by rough roads or rapid speed changes.

Aggressive braking can cause the wheel to shake as the forces of speed change disrupt the damaged suspension. Unlike warped rotors, once the suspension has settled down, the shaking will stop.

Vibration in the steering wheel that is not speed dependent is more likely to be the result of suspension damage or wear. Suspension issues can be a safety concern. If your car doesn’t handle like it used to or feels “loose”, bring it to a technician as soon as possible for a diagnosis.

control-arm-bushings

Contact Us

If you notice shaking in your steering wheel while you drive, don’t wait to get it diagnosed! Give Matson Point S a call or schedule an appointment today. Our experienced technicians will quickly find and correct the issue making your steering wheel shake.