Getting Your Vehicle Ready for the Test

The big day has finally arrived...it’s your biennial Smog Check inspection! While you may not look forward to your Smog Check, it really is a painless experience and it usually only takes 20 or 30 minutes of your time. Smog Checks are great reminders to motorists to keep their vehicles in good repair at all times, so that the inspection will just confirm how well you’ve kept up your vehicle. It’s really similar to the dentist: how well the check-up goes is up to you. If you floss and brush everyday, you are rewarded with a clean bill of health. The same is true with Smog Checks. If you get tune-ups and fix problems as they crop up, you are more likely to have a passing outcome.

Besides keeping your car in good repair, there are a few helpful hints to ensure your Smog Check goes smoothly. You may wish to make sure that your vehicle has clean oil, and having an oil change prior to your Smog Check is a good idea. Dirty oil often has pollutants in it and you may wind up failing the emissions test.

Make sure that your tires are in good repair and not bald or worn down. A Smog Check technician can refuse to do the test on the dynamometer if your tires are not in good condition. Plus, having bald tires is dangerous for you and your passengers – you can hydroplane in a rainstorm if your tires do not have adequate tread. They should also be inflated properly for the dynamometer. It would be unfortunate to receive a failing outcome just because of your tires.

Your MIL light or Malfunction Indicator Lamp should not be on or blinking when you go for your Smog Check. The MIL, also known as the Check Engine Light, may be steadily on or it may flash. If it is steady, you have a problem with evaporative emissions, but the problem could be something as simple as a loose gas cap. If it is blinking, there is a bigger problem at hand, and your catalytic converter could be ruined or you may have other expensive component damage. The MIL information is stored in the OBD II system and an automotive technician can use the data to make a diagnosis. The MIL light is the EPA’s way of making sure that emission problems are detected early, so be sure that you take the time to get the problem fixed or you will fail the Smog Check.

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