8 Tips for Smog Test Success
Smog levels in California used to be incredibly dangerous in the 60’s because there were increasing numbers of vehicles driving on the roads, and no laws in place to control the amount of emissions being let out of them. Since the Clean Air act of 1970 and the development of the California Smog Check Program, smog levels have decreased immensely, improving healthy living conditions.
There are several components that go into a vehicle smog test, which is a requirement in California in order to keep our air fresh and clean. Are you worried about your car passing? Maybe you’re just thinking ahead about what you can do to ensure your car passes. We’ve made a list of things you can do to make sure your car passes when the time comes!
1. Check Engine Light
If you take a car into a smog test with the check engine light, it’s an automatic test failure. If your check engine light is, on you should have it diagnosed and resolved prior to smog testing in order to avoid not being able to register your car. The worst part is if you can’t register your vehicle, you can’t drive it legally.
2. Take A Drive
The more you can drive your car above 20mph for 2 weeks prior to your testing, the better. This helps your catalytic converter get hot enough to burn away any oil or gas residues that may be inside of the engine, hindering you from passing your smog test. This is especially important for vehicles that are mainly used for short trips. On shorter trips, the catalytic converter may not get hot enough to perform its job, and the leftover residues stuck inside could prevent your car from passing. It’s also a good idea to take your vehicle for at least a 20-minute drive before the test to clear it as well.
3. Stay Up to Date with Oil Changes
Clean oil in your vehicle is important for any inspection, but specifically for smog testing because dirty oil in your car’s engine will emit extra pollutants that are bad for the environment and for your smog test. For even more security, it’s a good idea to ask your mechanic to visually inspect your engine to make sure all hoses are holding up well and intact.
4. Catch up on any Needed Maintenance
The best way to make sure you pass the smog inspection or basically any car inspection is to follow a strict car maintenance routine just to make sure nothing goes wrong in the first place. If you haven’t done so, it’s a great idea to get into a shop for a tune-up at least 2 weeks prior to your smog test. When your mechanic checks your car, he will find any issues that may contribute to a smog test failure, and he will probably also unplug your car’s battery. Most cars need at least 2 weeks of driving after a battery disconnection to run all of the diagnostics necessary to pass a smog test.
5. Make sure Tires are Fully Inflated
While your car is being tested, your tires will likely be placed on rollers to make the vehicle run at high speeds to check emissions. If your tires aren’t fully inflated, your engine is forced to work harder to run at high speeds, running the risk of emitting dangerous fumes.
6. Make sure Coolant and Gas Levels are Ok
Running the vehicle at a high speed while it sits stationary in the shop means that less air can make its way into the engine to cool it off. This means it’s important to make sure you coolant levels are good before testing. That also goes without saying your gas level should also be ok when you take your car in for its test to avoid exposing the fuel pump in the bottom of the tank that could pump vapor into the system, resulting in failure.
7. Ask for a Pre-Inspection Service
Most shops will provide an affordable price for a pre-inspection Smog test that won’t result in not being able to get your vehicle registered. This test shows whether or not the car will pass without officially recording the results. With this information, the driver can fix anything necessary in order to pass the real test.
8. Use a Fuel Additive
Sometimes it’s a good idea to consider a fuel additive to clean out anything gunking up your fuel injectors, as this would contribute to a failed smog test. This is especially recommended for older vehicles.
All of this being said, the best way to be ready for your smog test is to keep up on your regular car maintenance, but these are measures to check just in case you might not have been on top of your maintenance regime. Keep your car healthy, and we can keep our air healthy too!