If you think it's expensive hiring a good mechanic, try hiring a bad one!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A few tips for passing smog check in the state of California:

Quick List:

1.) Disconnected or new battery?
2.) Engine light on?
3.) Old gas or not running well?
4.) Rips, tears, holes?
5.) Gas cap old (especially on 1995 and older)?   

Explanation of Quick List:

1.)  Has your battery been disconnected or replaced recently, had engine repairs or have you had to jump start your car?  If so, on vehicles 1996 and newer this will cause your vehicles computer to require re-booting. Without the re-boot, your vehicle will fail the smog.  In order to re-boot your computer, we recommend freeway/city driving for at least 150 miles over a few days without any disconnection in the battery or jump starting.    

2.) Is your check engine light on or not working? Engine lights come on to notify you that there is a problem within your vehicle's operating system and they should not be ignored as further damage can result.  A repair shop can diagnose engine light codes and test the necessary components to determine where exactly the trouble lies.  FYI-Clearing codes on your vehicle will make the engine light go off for a short period of time but your vehicle will still fail the smog check since your computer will need to re-boot (see tip#1).

3.)  If your vehicle doesn't sound good or run smoothly, this is another clue that the emissions may be out of whack as well.  If  your vehicle has been sitting for long periods of time or you haven't changed the oil since the stone age, you might want to address these issues before going for your smog.  Old gas that has been sitting in your vehicle due to non-use can add to your vehicle emitting high levels of pollution. We suggest you not smog your vehicle until you have run at least one tank of fresh fuel though the system. 

4.) Smog technician's are required by the state to visually check all of your vehicles emission hoses and parts to make sure they are: state approved, fuel rated, free of cracks, holes, black tape/duct tape, rips, etc. To the untrained eye, sometimes these things are difficult to see and a fail cannot be prevented.  Although, some of these things stand out like a soar thumb and you can have them fixed prior to the smog.  Please remember that shops are bound by the state's Health & Safety Code, California Code of Regulations and cannot risk their livelihood for your smog check; therefore, asking them to overlook even the tiniest of concerns, would be illegal for them.  

5.)  Gas caps are also tested on 1995 and older vehicles to ensure they properly seal the tank from releasing fumes.  Therefore, if you see that your gas cap has cracks or you replaced it with one from some old junker in your yard, most likely it will fail this test, so when in doubt, replace it.  This is cheaper than paying for a re-test.  

6.) Keep in mind, once you initiate a smog check and sign your cost estimate, you are giving permission to that business to begin the smog TEST for the price listed.  Key word here is TEST and not smog PASS.  Often times, having a full and complete smog test performed, even if it is failing for one or more things, offers you an entire picture of EVERYTHING you need to address to get your vehicle through smog.  This can prove to be a money saver if the vehicle ends up gross polluting or requires costly repairs.  Rather than throwing money at your vehicle prior to a smog, a failed smog can help determine if it's worth the time and money to repair it or retire it.

7.)  With a FAILED smog, the DMV offers a 2 month red sticker for about $50 which enables you to legally drive the vehicle past it's registration date.  This gives you more time to get the vehicle repaired and can be a big help if the repairs are costly.   

8.)  The state also offers a Consumer Assistance Program to help low income consumers pay for necessary emissions repairs.  Visit: http://www.bar.ca.gov/Consumer/Consumer_Assistance_Program/index.html for more information.

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