Ask the Smog Check Tech

Your Smog Check technician in California is required to pass an examination before being licensed, and must take continuing education in order to renew that license. Techs must have both the experience and education required by the state to qualify for the job. Smog Check techs have seen it all, and here we look at some questions that motorists frequently have for the techs.

When a vehicle fails the Smog Check test, sometimes the car owner will want to know just how accurate the test really is. Motorists are often in a state of disbelief when they fail the check, particularly if they have a relatively new car. To put your mind at rest, consider a few facts about the smog analyzer. The equipment is certified by the Bureau of Automotive Repair in California, and it must be calibrated every three days. In fact, the machine shuts down if it is not calibrated during that allotted time. The same is true if there is a malfunction – the equipment will lockdown until it is addressed and fixed by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. And for those of you who are skeptics, there are referee facilities available to prove or disprove your Smog Check results and give you a second opinion.

People are sometimes baffled if the Smog Check technician refuses to do some part of the test and wonder if a tech can actually do that. The answer is that techs can refuse to complete a Smog Check if for any reason they feel that your car is unsafe. For example, if your tires are bald, that would be reason enough for the tech to decline doing a dynamometer test.

Another common question from motorists relates to the inspection itself. Motorists wonder what the techs are looking for when they go under the hood, since emission pollutants come out of the tailpipe. The answer is that the tailpipe is not the only area of concern for emissions problems. Techs are trained to check under the hood for any evidence of tampering with the emissions control system and look for disconnected equipment, and they also need to look for evaporative emissions problems. The Bureau of Automotive Repair designs the Smog Check policies, and it is up to the techs to carry out the testing procedures as required by the Bureau. Some motorists inevitably try to skirt emission requirements with illegal and modified equipment, and the Bureau designs tests to catch such problems.