|Photo by Robert Couse-Baker
My car failed DEQ. Now what?
Many Oregonians buy used cars and find out it will not pass DEQ. Frequently, these same buyers ask “is it illegal to sell a car that won’t pass DEQ?” The quick answer is yes, it is illegal.
If a dealer sells a used car to someone who lives in a metro area that requires DEQ testing, the dealer must ensure that the vehicle can pass the DEQ test at the time of sale, unless the dealer first discloses that the car cannot pass. Typically what happens is a consumer buys the car, then a few days down the road the check engine light comes on. When the consumer takes the car in for its DEQ test, it will fail. According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, if a check engine light is illuminated on your dashboard, your car will not pass the DEQ test.
Why did the Check Engine light come on after I bought my car?
A check engine light can come on for a variety of reasons, but they all relate to something needing attention with a car. If a dealer has a car in his inventory that has a check engine light on, he can simply reset the light without fixing the problem. This will keep the light off until the car completes a drive cycle. The amount of time needed for the drive cycle to complete will vary from car to car, but it is usually long enough for a dealer to sell the car. Frequently these are problems with emission sensors or faulty catalytic convertors, which will require repairs. This practice is illegal under Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act.
Is it illegal for a dealer to sell a car without a catalytic converter?
Many used cars are sold with aftermarket parts installed or with modified exhaust systems. This might include a straight pipe, high performance mufflers, or other equipment intended to increase the car’s performance. If the dealer does not disclose that these modifications will cause the car to fail DEQ, that is illegal. It is illegal because a car with faulty emission equipment will not pass DEQ.
What do I do?
It is illegal for a car dealer to sell a car in Oregon that cannot pass its DEQ test to a consumer who lives in a DEQ county. If you just purchased a used car and it has failed its DEQ test or the check engine light has recently turned on, please call our office at 503-383-1496 for a free consultation to see if we can help you with your problems.