California Smog Check How to Prepare Your Vehicle For the Test
If you're a registered driver in Los Angeles, the California Emissions Program or SMOG Check is very strict compared to other states, customers often ask us how they can get their car ready to pass the smog inspection. Despite the fact California has some rules that are very questionable regarding this test, we're going to cover a few areas that we think will be the most useful.
Testing Procedures: The state of CA there are 2 tests. One is called the BAR 97 which is performed for every vehicle that has a model year before 2000. BAR 97 requires the vehicle to be test on a dynamometer which is when you see the car on the rollers and the drive wheels spinning. They are testing the vehicles emission output at 15 MPH and then again at 25 MPH. In addition to the emissions test, the technicians are looking for anything tampered, broken, aftermarket parts, ignition timing, fuel cap test, fuel tank pressure test, and they will even check if there is excessive smoke coming out of the tailpipe.
The second test is known as OIS for any vehicle model year 2000 and newer. OIS is more simplified which you see the technician connect a connector to the OBD2 port (on-board computer that monitors emissions, mileage, speed, and other data about your car. It's connected to the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT, which illuminates when there is a problem with your car), what this does is confirm that all those systems are actually working. The main and most common categories that must be passed are, Catalytic Converter, Evaporative Emissions, Oxygen Sensor, Oxygen Sensor Heater, Exhaust Gas Recirculation System, Misfire, Secondary Air Injection, and Fuel System. As you drive your vehicle, you should run your own tests to see if the systems are operating normally.
So how do you know right away that your vehicle will NOT PASS the SMOG CHECK TEST? This is the most obvious indicator, if your vehicle's CHECK ENGINE Light or Malfunction Indicator Light is on, it is an automatic failure. As a quick fix, many people think they could just get the light reset but in doing so, you end up erasing all the memory of the monitors as well. So the light may be off but when you go get it tested the technician will tell you "its not ready"; meaning there is not enough monitors ready to even test the vehicle. This can also happen when you replace your battery without saving the computers memory or if your battery goes dead while parked.
Online searches and maybe you have even experienced this, you'll often Smog Technicians telling customers them that their car is not ready to test and to drive the car another 100 miles, we find this amusing as that is a bit of an excessive and even unnecessary to drive that many miles. In order to pass the monitors on each car manufacturer actually has a different set of directions, which is often complicated and some of them are ridiculous to perform.
Here is something we have found to work 90% of the time:
Let the vehicle sit overnight, upon a cold start drive the vehicle straight to the freeway early in the morning so there is no traffic and cruise down the freeway at 55 to 60 MPH. I usually drive about 5 miles then "VOILA!!!!" all monitors should pass as long as there are no problems with the systems being tested.
So to summarize, if you're car is running good and you don't see any warning lights the vehicle should pass. Now if you have been having work done or the light is on and you have it reset, there is a strong chance it won't pass and we recommend seeking a professional to get your vehicle repaired. Have any other questions about this? You are always welcome to set an appointment for a FREE inspection and we can help you create a plan of action to get your vehicle ready to pass.