Most vehicles in California are required to undergo and pass smog testing. Even though this can be a hassle, there are a few things you can do to help ensure your car passes the test.
The reason vehicles have to run properly in order to pass a smog test is because any problems will show up during the emissions testing process. “Your car’s exhalations tell a lot about how it’s running,” says Snehal Shah, owner of Auto Techies in Fremont. “The emissions test grabs the information of what’s exhaled by the car and shows the car’s performance. If it’s not running well, a trained technician will look at the numbers and determine what needs to be done.”
Sometimes this is as simple as a routine maintenance tune-up, which includes cleaning or replacing the spark plugs, ignition wires, air filter and fuel filter. Fuel filters and fuel injectors can become clogged over time and emit a stream of fuel instead of fuel mist. Other parts that may need to be cleaned are oxygen sensors and the catalytic converter, which can become coated with carbon. Products are available that will clean your car’s fuel injection system and reduce carbon in the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor. Some auto repair shops also offer these services to restore your fuel injection system.
If you have a newer car that’s less than six years old, you probably won’t have to take a smog test. “Today’s cars are much more efficient and cleaner burning than the cars of just five years ago,” explains Mr. Shah. “Every year, manufacturers are required to make their cars run cleaner. California is one of the toughest states for car ownership and repairs because of its tight emissions regulations. To meet those standards, cars have become extremely efficient over the years. By mandating smog testing and making requirements tougher, the state is rewarding cars that run in peak condition.”