Every two years we all have to do it. The smog check. It's important, but no one likes to do it. If you fail your smog check, that means a trip to the auto mechanic, and wasted money on the test. There are lots of ways you can help yourself pass your test when you bring your car to the mechanic. Smog regulations are important to the environment, these tips will improve the performance of your car and help improve air quality here in Southern California.
Smog testing was introduced in the 1970's as part of the Clean Air Act. You'll find 33 states that use smog check programs to control emissions. In the 1960s, Los Angeles had 100 smog alerts each year. From 2003 to 2013, there were two. The biggest reason for that is that your car has a better emissions system.
Even so, the hassle for you, a car owner, can be frustrating. There is a lot you can do before you head down to your auto mechanic that will help get you past the finish line.
Drive at Highway Speeds at Least Two Weeks Before Your Test
You have to heat up your catalytic converter to burn off any extra oil and gas. When your catalytic converter burns off the most harmful emissions from your car, your tailpipe's readings show lower emissions. The worst thing you can do for your smog system is take lots of short trips. When you take short trips, your catalytic converter won't get hot enough, and you'll let more smog out.
Change Your Oil
If your oil is dirty, it could add new pollutants, and make you fail your smog test. Additionally, while your auto mechanic is changing the oil, ask if they'll do a visual inspection to see if you've got any cracked, broken or disconnected hoses. If your vacuum lines are broken or disconnected, your car will not run right, and you might fail your test.
Get Your Tune-Up Two Weeks Before Your Test As Well
By the same token as your oil, you want to tune-up your car two weeks before your test. Your auto mechanic will probably disconnect your battery during your tune-up. If you disconnect your battery, you reset your car's computer and it will need a bit of time on the road to run its tests again. If you smog test your car before it runs all of its diagnostics, it will probably fail.
Inflate Your Tires Properly
Particularly if your car is older than 1999, you want your tires properly inflated. For cars older than 2000, your smog test is going to require a dynamometer test as well. When you put your car through a dynamometer test, your mechanic puts it on rollers. This way you can run your engine at speed while it's not moving. When you under-inflate your tires, your engine has to work harder to get the revolutions per minute the test is looking for. Additionally, having your tires at the best inflation point will help yousave on gas.
Get Rid of Your Check Engine Light
If your check engine light is on, you'll automatically fail your smog test. In the State of California, your auto mechanic cannot refuse to test your car if they see the light on. Thanks to state law, they have to test and fail your car.
Furthermore, one of the more common reasons for your check engine light to be on is a faulty or broken oxygen sensor. Your oxygen sensor helps you put a good gas/air mixture into your engine. If you have a broken oxygen sensor, even with the check engine light off you'll fail your smog test.
Before you test your car, bring it in to your local auto repair shop for a diagnosis and any necessary repairs. West Coast Tire & Service can diagnose and repair any exhaust system issue that might cause your check engine light to turn on.
If you need smog repairs to pass your smog test, West Coast Tire is ready to help. You can rely on their auto mechanics to change your oxygen sensor, or even replace your catalytic converter. Call (310) 477-7057 to schedule your appointment, or visit our website to answer any of your questions.