Smog Check Tips

During 2010, the California State Legislature approved a number of new laws of interest to Automobile Club of Southern California members and motorists. Unless otherwise noted, these measures take effect January 1, 2011.

Local Tickets. SB 949, supported by the Auto Club to clarify existing law, makes it unlawful for local governments to ticket drivers who commit moving violations under municipal codes or other local regulations. All moving violations must be cited under the appropriate state vehicle code section, which specifies penalties. This law ensures that drivers throughout the state will be treated uniformly for moving violations.

Smog Check Under AB 2289, beginning sometime after January 1, 2013, model-year 2000 and newer vehicles will be tested for smog compliance using the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic systems (OBD-II) instead of a tailpipe sensor. If the vehicle is not equipped with OBD-II or has emissions problems, it can be tested using the tailpipe sensor at a test-only station. Changing the testing procedure should reduce the cost of smog checks, according to the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.
Source: January/February 2011 Edition of Westways Magazine

How To Pass A Smog Test

There are lots of reasons why your vehicle can fail a smog check. Follow these tips below to insure your vehicle passes the first time.

Make sure your vehicle is performing correctly before arriving at the smog check inspection station.

The chances of your vehicle passing a smog inspection are slim to none if your vehicle is not is good working order. If you do decide to have a smog inspection completed on a vehicle with known mechanical problems you will more than likely lose your inspection fee (unless you are in a state that requires free retests). Save yourself the trouble and get your vehicle repaired prior to having it tested. Also, keep in mind that if your check engine light is on then your vehicle will automatically fail. To investigate the problem, take your vehicle to a repair shop. They will examine your car with a tool that retrieves check engine codes. You can also check with local auto stores to see if this is a service that is available there. For instance, some Pepboys will check your vehicle and give you the engine code for free.

1. Warm Your Car Up

To make sure your vehicle is warmed up and running at the optimal level, drive it for 20 minutes prior to arriving at the smog inspection station. Keep in mind that your engine functions by burning fuel – proper combustion needs adequate time to occur. You can accomplish this by simply driving your vehicle for at least 10 to 15 miles.

2. Take Advantage Of Fuel Additives

To lower your vehicle’s emission levels you can add fuel additives to the gas tank when refueling. The additives reduce your vehicle’s emissions by removing carbon deposits within the engine’s intake and exhaust paths. This allows fuel and air to flow more freely and improves the combustion process and overall engine performance.

3. Check Your Tires

During the emissions test the smog technician might be required to run your vehicle on a dynamometer. If your vehicle’s tires are unevenly worn or improperly inflated then it could cause inaccuracies in the smog test. Verifying your tires are evenly worn and have the correct tire pressure gives your vehicle more stability and produces much greater accuracy during your smog inspection.

4. Change Your Oil

If it’s been awhile since your last oil change, go ahead and change your oil before you get your smog check. If your oil is dirty because of inadequate oil changes then you might fail your emissions inspection because of it. This is due to the fact that the positive crank ventilation system pulls fumes from the oil pan into the engine. If your oil is dirty, so are the fumes.

5.Having your check engine light on is an automatic failure.

Whether it’s a glitch in your cars computer, or your mechanic says its okay, by law you will still fail your smog check. To find out the main cause of the problem, you will need to bring your car to a certified smog test and repair shop that has the proper tools to scan your cars system. There are also after market products on the market that you can buy that will help give you this information as well.