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How To Pass a Smog Check Posts: 10,125
edited January 2016 in General
imageHow To Pass a Smog Check

Here are the most important steps in getting your car ready for a smog inspection.

Read the full story here


  • There was a time when a little knowledge could take someone pretty far along with auto repair, but today the technology has advanced to a level that requires constant study and real first hand experience to know what is good advice and what is not.

    This article falls short in several places, especially when the suggestion is made to simply replace the O2 (or air/fuel) sensors without really proving that they are beginning to fail, or have failed. Plus the first tip about clearing the check engine light can easily be interpreted as simply clearing the code. When the system generates a trouble code, there is a lot more data stored than just the code that a technician needs to access as part of the diagnostic routine. Anytime someone clears codes, that other data is also reset and that can make any future diagnostics require more than one failure event to get to identify all of the vehicle problems.

    Emissions testing of course can be inconvenient, but the best course of action is to simply have the car tested as is, and then have it repaired if necessary. If you keep your car properly maintained, and have any MILs dealt with when they occur instead of putting it off until an inspection has to be performed then the likelyhood of failure of an emissions test will be reduced as much as it possibly can. Virtually none of the other suggestions in this article will make much of a difference, and in fact some of them could cause a consumer more trouble.

    Next time instead of talking to CarMD, AAA, and such, talk to people like Mike McCarthy, Jim Kemper, or ask me to give you contacts for real top techs, I'll be happy to help.

    Any other commentary on this or other articles I'll keep on the forum "A Mechanics Life" here. Our jobs are difficult enough without haviing to constantly overcome bad advice too.
  • Thanks for the helpful information! I am a smog tech my self, so it's always interesting to see what other people are saying regarding passing a smog check.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 801
    I've never had a problem passing my GA Emissions test until this year. I have a 2006 Mazda3 s (2.3L) that I've owned since new and it only has 98k miles on it. It has only been driven about 2k miles in the past year. It had a recent tune-up (plugs, filters, fluids) and I wasn't expecting an issue. The tester informed me that my gas cap was not sealing at all and needed to be replaced. I went to the auto parts store and bought one that night. A few miles before I got home, the Check Engine Light came on (first time ever). I hadn't installed the new gas cap yet, so I assumed that was the problem. I put the new cap on, disconnected the battery (to clear the codes/light) and drove it for about 200 miles before trying again.

    On the second try, it failed yet again but for a new reason. The printout showed a code and description that read "Insufficient Coolant Temp for Stable Operation". A quick search showed that the thermostat is known to stick OPEN in models with my 2.3L engine. I had only dealt with thermostats that wouldn't open and I realized that when the engine overheated. So I replaced the thermostat and drove it pretty hard for about 125 miles. It finally passed!!!
    2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum, 2012 Mazda CX-9 GT
  • Allen007Allen007 Posts: 1
    87 ford xlt truck. 460 eng. High on ppm because of mileage. Want to pass smog. What to do?
  • johnnypradojohnnyprado Posts: 1
    edited August 26
    Hi! Thanks for the good article. I do smog work in Riverside, CA and try to read these articles that are popular.

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