The Smog Stop
6414 University Ave, San Diego, Ca 92115
Mon-Sat: 07:00 - 17:00

How To Pass a California Smog Check

How To Pass A Smog Check
Pass the smog check inspection.

California Residents have long dreaded the smog check every two years in the State of California. The Smog Stop is going to provide you accurate information on how to pass the smog test with ease. We want you to pass the smog check the first time so you can obtain your DMV vehicle registration without any hassle. Many years ago it was a hassle to pass the smog check. The Bureau of Auto Repair though in 2013 changed the smog check procedures, which makes it easier on the motorist to pass the smog check and obtain their DMV vehicle registration with ease. If you follow the procedures The Smog Stop has outlines your chances of passing the California Smog Check will dramatically increase.

Vehicles Model Year 2000 through Current Year

If your vehicle is 2000 or newer you must follow the checklist below to help increase your chances of passing the California Smog Check.

  1. Verify your OBD readiness monitors are all complete. This is important because you vehicle will be considered “Not Ready” when you obtain the smog check. Although this is technically not a failed smog check, you will not be issued a smog certificate and will probably have to pay for the smog inspection a second time. You can check the OBD readiness monitors if you have a simple scan tool. If you do not have a scan tool you can come to the Smog Stop and we will be happy to check to see if your OBD readiness monitors are complete. If you have recently disconnected the battery or had emissions repairs completed, odds are your OBD readiness monitors are incomplete.
  2. Verify if you have any aftermarket parts installed on your vehicle. If you do, you need to make sure your aftermarket parts comply with guidelines set forth by the California Air Resources Board. You can check to see if the part installed on your vehicle has a executive order issues by clicking here. If any of the parts are not legal, the modified parts need to be removed and the vehicle needs to be outfitted with the stock parts in order to pass the smog check.
  3. Verify your check engine light is not on. If your check engine light(MIL) is illuminated you fail smog check! The check engine light is usually located in the instrument cluster of the vehicle and may have a engine symbol or simply state the words check engine/service engine soon. Service Engine Soon is usually for vehicles manufactured by General Motors. If any other light is illuminated there is no need to panic because the smog check inspection does not look for any other lamp other than check engine light or Malfunction Indicate Lamp(MIL). We do not look for ABS lamps, oil change lights, or airbag lamps.
  4. Verify your gas cap is installed and sealed properly. If your gas cap is missing this is a smog check failure. The gas cap keeps hyrdo-carbon emissions from escaping in to the atmosphere and is a requirement to pass the smog check.

If you verify these four very simple things, the odds of your vehicle passing the smog inspection is probably 99% or higher. If you armed and informed with right information you will not have to get a retest when it comes to the smog check

Vehicle Model Year 1996-1999

If your vehicle was manufactured between 1996-1999 the smog check is a little more complicated than model year 2000 and up. The difference is your vehicle will have to undergo a loaded mode emissions test. This test simulates a driving condition at 15 mph and 25 mph and lasts between 60 and 180 seconds. The smog check machine measures the actual emissions being emitted from the tail pipe of the car. Below is a list of procedures you should follow before getting your vehicle smog tested

  1. You will need to check the readiness monitors to ensure they are all complete. The vehicle will not be issued a smog certificate of the readiness monitors are not complete.
  2. Verify the vehicle has not add on parts, such as headers, cold air intake, etc. If the vehicle does have any add on parts, you need to verify the have been issued a executive order by the air resources by as outlined in the procedures in step 2 above.
  3. The check engine light can not be illuminated or the vehicle will fail the smog check inspection.
  4. Check the fuel cap and make sure it is installed and the seal is not lacking integrity.
  5. Ensure your vehicle is sufficiently warmed up prior to requesting a inspection. A vehicle who’s emission system is not at operating temperature will not pass smog check
  6. Make sure you are not behind on your oil change, as dirty oil can cause you to fail the smog check inspection.

Vehicle Model Year 1976-1995

  1. You will need to follow all the procedures outlined for vehicle model years 1996 through current.
  2. If you have a timing gun, it is a good idea to inspect the timing of the engine. As you are allowed +/- 3 for the timing specification.
  3. Ensure the vehicle has a full tank of fuel. This smog check procedure requires an EVAP test of the fuel tank. This test pumps nitrogen in to the fuel tank and measures the leak rate. If you have a full tank of fuel the chances of the test finding a leak is drastically improved.

If you follow these simple procedures the odd of you not passing the smog check are greatly reduced. Do not get fooled in to purchasing phony product that you add to your fuel that claim to guarantee you tot pass. I can assure you more times than not, they do not help you pass the smog inspection. Any questions feel free to contact The Smog Stop with any questions you may have.