DIY E-checks coming to Northeast Ohio

7:55 PM, Jul 10, 2012   |    comments
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TWINSBURG -- Meet the new self check-out and this one keeps you on the road.

The state is installing 16 self E-check spots in Northeast Ohio. Just stop anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and follow the directions.

The state EPA and legislature voted last year to decentralize the E-check program. Instead of 23 locations in the 16 county area, there are soon to be 76 checkpoints, counting the kiosks, lube stops, state centers and individual auto repair shops.

"It's a touch screen it's really easy to use," said Jane Pickett, a training manager with Envirotest Systems Ohio.

"If you can read the screen, you can conduct this test. It's like a cookbook," said General Manager Prentiss Taylor.

"Just like you're at the grocery store," said Pickett, you use a barcode scanner to input the car's VIN number. You can also type it in, and use the screen to update your license plate, or input your mileage.

Then the machine spits out a wireless diagnostic machine, known as an OBD II, which you plug in to do the rest.
"The car's computer tells the kiosk computer whether everything is working right or not," said Taylor.

The automated system works for any gasoline-engine car newer than 1996, and any diesel-engine model newer than 1997.

"The older vehicles aren't equipped with the computers that vehicles 1996 and newer are equipped with," he said.

While it might it easier to fit this E-check into your schedule, the test won't be any easier to pass.

"You cannot fool it," said Taylor. "The car's computer and this computer are very sophisticated and it will know whether that's the vehicle that's hooked up to the kiosk or not."

There's a camera here that's keeping an eye on what you're doing with the gun. And if you don't need an E-check, the system will tell you so and refuse the test.

But we'll warn you: there is always a chance the machine won't communicate well. If that happens, you'll have to go the traditional route. And if you are here while the lanes are open, it will save you an extra trip.

The Ohio EPA also has a new pilot program where you won't even have to stop driving to get E-checked.

Drive by a rapid screen unit, likely alongside an onramp.

Ultraviolet and infrared light scans your tailpipe emissions and snaps a photo of your license plate. That's matched to your BMV record to mail you a passing grade at home.

You can find out more by clicking on the link here. All 16 kiosks are set to open this summer.


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