We have been servicing the North Hollywood area for over 9 years offering professional, accurate, and quick smog check solutions. Most vehicles in California are required to pass a smog check every two 2 years in order to complete a registration renewal. You may take your vehicle to any smog check station. However, some vehicles will need to be taken to a STAR station only. Your renewal notice will indicate this if necessary. For the purpose of renewing your vehicle registration, you will only need to bring your vehicle, the DMV renewal notice and some form of accepted payment.
During a smog check, our licensed technician will connect your vehicle to equipment which also connects to the Bureau of Automotive Repair BAR. Once the testing is completed, the results are then electronically transmitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles DMV. If you choose to have your vehicle diagnosed and repaired you are welcome to bring it in to us as we are a licensed Smog Check Repair Station.
After repairs are completed, you may have your vehicle re-tested at our Smog Station. For more information go to Consumer Assistance Program. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Not redeemable for cash. Offer is one per customer. Offer Ends January 1, Subscribe to our mailing list for exclusive offers, monthly specials, industry news, tips, and more…. Besides, people are generally in a better mood then more about that later. Do make sure your engine is fully warmed up before arriving at the test station.
A good minute drive is recommended. You also definitely want the catalytic converter at full operational temperature. What with the car being stationary during the test and thus being cooled with less efficiency, be sure the radiator is full and has the recommended percentage of coolant.
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Most people use their car only for short trips most of the time. This does not provide sufficient time for the battery to fully recharge after starting. When the battery is not fully charged, a weak ignition spark can occur.
A weak ignition spark will result in poorer mileage and much higher smog pollutants. Many people trickle-charge their battery overnight every once in a while. This can add years to the life of a battery. A Sears DieHard battery can last over 10 years when properly cared for. Avoid Walmart batteries like the plague.
This is just my opinion based on experience. While we are at it, also avoid Firestone shops. Again, just my experience-based opinion. If your car is mostly used for short trips, that is not good. Over time, carbon and all sorts of other gunk have built up in your engine, on your spark plugs, in your crankcase, and in your catalytic converter.
All of these will emit noxious chemicals and cause other problems during a smog test. This scenario has caused many a smog test failure. Like it or not, you have to burn out and blow out all that junk. In other words, there is a freeway or highway trip in your future; the longer, the better. At minimum, you should take a 2-hour round trip.
And rush hour traffic doesn't count; the car needs to be driven at the freeway speed limit. Hopefully, there is some errand, trip, or short planned vacation which can come into play on this. As a side note, it is absolutely the best time to change the oil and filter after the car has been driven a couple of hours at high speed. All the gunk on the sides and bottom of your crankcase are now temporarily dissolved in the oil.
It is the perfect time to get rid of it. Chilton and Haynes publish manuals for most every year, make, and model of car. These manuals will give you the information you need to do everything described in this article and a whole lot more. The instruction level starts at rank beginner and proceeds to as advanced as you care to go. These manuals will save you many hours of grief and a lot of money.
If you plan to keep your car for any length of time, then these books are a good investment. If they don't have your particular manual, they can usually order it for you. If your car is due for an oil and filter change, now is the time. Dirty crankcase oil can indeed cause a smog test failure due to the hydrocarbons HC part of the test. This is one of the few maintenance items that it is best to give to a shop to do. Whatever you decide to do, make absolutely certain the oil level does not exceed the full-mark.
How are the radiator coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid doing? How about the differential, battery water, and tire pressure? Many shyster places will try and tell you they have discovered your car needs several hundred dollars worth of additional work. This is particularly applicable to certain national chains. Do an advanced Google search for the place you intend to visit. The search query should be: The days of changing your oil every 3, miles are long gone.
Naturally the lube shops will advise you otherwise. What does your manual or Chilton say? Edmunds will tell you. Don't want to mess with Edmunds? Every 8, to 10, miles seems to be the consensus these days. Does your car need a new air filter? Now is the time. Wipe away all the dust in the canister when you replace it. Both inside and outside. A dirty air filter will cause incomplete combustion, which will cause high carbon monoxide CO emissions, which will cause a flunked smog test.
It is the filter where the oil vapors from the valve covers are circulated into the combustion cycle. Remove and clean it with Gumout. Likewise clean the area where it is located. The gunk has been building up there for years and when it comes to parts-per-million test measurements, it is not doing you any favors. Failure to do this one thing alone could cause a smog test failure. It's an easy, simple thing to do. Don't take the chance. And if there is no above-described side-pad in the air canister, check all connecting air hoses. There may very well be an inline filter you need to deal with.
If you clean the inside part of the air filter canister where the gunk has built up, the Gumout will remove the paint. Personally, that didn't bother me much. The area was small and would quickly be protected from rust with a new coating of oil anyway. It is an inexpensive and easy part to clean or replace. Make sure yours is OK.
If the thing doesn't rattle when you shake it, it is clogged. A fouled spark plug causes a lot of flunked smog tests. If your vehicle is mostly used for short trips, fouled spark plugs can result. Doing the aforementioned two-hour round trip at normal freeway speeds for some useful endeavor before the test might clean out the carbon and other junk in the engine and plugs. Do your spark plugs need to be replaced? There are a lot of mistakes you can make when changing plugs. It is imperative to know all the traps before proceeding. If you are not already knowledgeable, a how-to manual, online research, a quick trip to the library, or a knowledgeable friend will save the day.
Depending on how the plugs are positioned, changing them can be a lot of work and frustration. Does your car have a mechanical distributor and rotor? Is it original equipment? Does the car have over 80, miles? If you replace the distributor cap and rotor, the improvement in performance will amaze you. The distributor cap and rotor are easy and inexpensive parts to replace. However, you need to read the manual first, otherwise traps await.
If not replacing the distributor cap, be sure and check it for cracks and other defects. Cracks in the distributor cap can cause the engine to fail the test. Are the spark plug wires original equipment and several years old? If so, there may be cross-sparking. If so inclined, observe the engine running in near-total darkness flashlight anyone? Look for sparks between the wires or from the wires to metal. Avoid all moving parts. Leaning over the engine while wearing a tie would be especially unwise. Better to just go ahead and replace the wires. Mistakes can be made while doing this, so read the manual first.
And do just one wire at a time. Attempting a mass disconnect-removal-replace scenario is almost certainly a recipe for grief. Does your car have a carburetor? Spraying Gumout in it and on it will do wonders; both as to performance and reducing smog pollutants. Follow the directions on the spray can. Do not over spray. Do not do just before the smog test. Depending on your make, model, and year of the car and the nature of the problem; the manuals might be able to solve this for you without having to go to a mechanic.
They will tell you how to retrieve the codes without equipment and what those codes mean. Disconnecting your car battery for a minute will very probably reset your check-engine light back to norm. However, you would lose the stored error codes. Those error codes are what would tell you is wrong. And, of course, those problems will probably reoccur the next time you start your car. The stored diagnostic data could very well cause a smog check failure if anything is or has been wrong with the car.
However, the absence of diagnostic data for the smog technician will also cause a smog test failure. Needless to say, if the battery has been disconnected recently for any other reasons,e. Can't help but wonder how many people have been victimized by not knowing this. Your car has more computer technology than the Moon Lander. One poorly connected wire can cause a smog test failure.
Do a visual inspection. Make sure there are no loose wires. Make sure all wires are firmly connected. If you find anything even remotely suspect, disconnect and reconnect the wire a few times to remove oxidation; maybe sand it a little bit with emery paper as needed. Finding or fixing a wire connection problem could solve a check-engine light issue will need reset.
Check all those little hoses around the carburetor, air cleaner, PCV, here, there, and everywhere. Make sure all are firmly connected. Make sure none of them have any splits, tears, etc. If you spray a water mist near and around the sides of your carburetor or fuel injector for that matter while the engine is running and the engine speeds up, then you have a vacuum leak.
Vacuum leaks are a smog test failure waiting to happen; the NOx part of the test is what will do you in. The risky business part relates as to what to do about it. Can you pinpoint the exact location of the leak? If you can determine the exact location of the vacuum leak, you have a decision to make: This article will not address as to what that decision should be. Using gasket glop on the side and figuring out when to turn the engine off before it's sucked into the carburetor?
You are on your own. It is common knowledge advancing the timing above specs will increase performance. However, if the timing is not within manufacturer specifications, you will flunk the smog test. The previously mentioned resources will give you everything you need to know about replacing the points if need be , setting or checking and readjusting the dwell, timing and idle. The factory specs for the engine timing, idle speed, and other info is stamped on a metal plate or decal, usually located towards the front of the engine compartment. One of your local auto parts places may have a tool loaner program for the timing light and the special wrench you may need.
Or you can skip this section and just go ahead and take the smog test. Only you can decide which items to implement and which to forgo. Though all the belts are at proper tension and have even been sprayed with dressing, the fan belts are still squealing like a banshee? The cause may very well be a seized smog pump. Start the engine and look at the pulleys. Are they all spinning smoothly or is one of them actually motionless or moving intermittently?
If so, there is your squealing belt. And very likely, that pulley is the one attached to your smog pump. Eventually, it is what every single one of those things always does. Depending on how much work room there is in that area of the engine compartment and what other components the fan belt is connected to, you might get lucky and be able to remove the pulley from the pump with the pump still attached to the engine. If so, it is a convenient way to get that done, what with the rest of the car politely holding the pump still for you. Your fan belt squealing problem is solved.
Needless to say, don't forget to remove the belt along with the pulley. Leave the old pump in the car until you are ready to replace it. If the wrong bit of bad luck comes along, you could end up being accused of smog equipment tampering. With the old pump still in the car, you can prove right then and there the thing had frozen and you had no choice.
There are too many variables for this page to properly address how to replace a seized smog pump. However, here are some general thoughts on the subject. If the pump is towards the top of the engine compartment, it might be feasible to do it yourself. However, if the thing is at the bottom of the engine compartment, you are probably stuck with having to go to a mechanic. First thing to do is learn about smog air pumps in general and what the average prices are online.
Next is a trip to the auto parts store and a long chat with the counter person. Among other things, is an exchange required? What exactly are the prices for new versus rebuilt? Whatever information you learn, you don't have to make any decisions until you are ready. If picking up the replacement pump at a store, bring the pulley and bolts. You want to be sure the bolt holes and threads match. Good luck when this particular adventure happens to you.
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Note I said "when", not "if". This is one of those universal car owner experiences. If so, you have automatically flunked the smog test. Sticking a wire brush up the tailpipe and cleaning out the accumulation won't hurt. Do this several days before the test, so the loosened grit has time to be completely blown out. Does your state include a safety test along with the smog test?
If not, sooner or later they will get around to that. You want your car to look as good as possible. If it shows you care about your car, maybe the technician will care about you in those borderline situations. As a side note, the same psychology comes into play when you are pulled over for a traffic violation and the officer is considering whether to give you a ticket or not. It is the person at the front counter you have to worry about.
If that person instructs the technician to flunk your vehicle, then that is what will probably happen. First, of course, is the thief. Depending on how your state sets things up, you may be scammed into paying for unnecessary repairs. Second, is the Self-Appointed-World-Policeman. Third, is the overly-sensitive, self-defensive personality-type. This personality type usually develops from being hammered in high school for something or the other; usually some sort of physical appearance attribute, though it could be for other reasons as well.
Practically anything can set this personality-type off: The second and third personality-types may possibly be more prevalent in the smaller shops. Of course all of the above is a blatant violation of your civil rights. And is of course completely unfair and outright illegal. However, what do you want to do?
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Smog shops advertising on the internet are probably your best bet. They know you know how to go to the various forums and trash them if they try anything unethical. They know you know how to find all the relevant federal, state, county, city, and consumer related addresses if you wish to send complainant emails. Besides, they are in a very competitive business.
Some of them are most likely handing out big, fat coupons or discounts. Also, be sure it is what is called a "Star Station" or your state's equivalent when your state's testing specifications require it. Your state may have an auto repair program which will provide financial assistance. Your state may have a special dispensation program to give you time. The smog test station should have this information. The website s might also have a complaint section.
The website address es should be printed on your Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice. If you truly believe your car should have passed the smog test, the smog test referee will do a second smog test to confirm or refute the findings of the first test. There is currently no charge for this second test, subject to change at any time. Other states may or may not have similar programs. If your car flunks the smog test and you've decided it's just not worth it anymore, some states will pay you to retire your car.
You get the cash. They dismantle the car and it goes to scrap. You put off the test until the last minute; and you flunk it. There is no way the state will complete your financial assistance application in time for you you to get the repairs done before your tags expire. First, if the state will let you, pay the registration fee before the deadline anyway. You really don't want to be subjected to the no-doubt excessive late payment penalty fees; this is premised on the belief your vehicle will eventually pass the test.
To drive or not to drive—only you can decide. In some places you will only be cited.
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In other places your vehicle will be impounded. Getting your vehicle out of the impound lot will be a real challenge indeed. Even if you are able to pay the ransom and are allowed to retrieve it, you might be required to pay to have the thing towed on a flatbed truck, presumably to the smog repair shop. Just being cited may not be much fun either. Bottom line is to do what you need to do for the car and get the test done as soon as possible. By all means use the aforementioned seasonal rainy weather and ethanol stratagems when feasible.
But if you intend to utilize the state's financial aid program, be sure to give yourself sufficient time. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. The author never said the smog of any place is the MOT test.