April 1, 2017

Smog Check Tips

During 2010, the California State Legislature approved a number of new laws of interest to Automobile Club of Southern California members and motorists. Unless otherwise noted, these measures take effect January 1, 2011.

Local Tickets. SB 949, supported by the Auto Club to clarify existing law, makes it unlawful for local governments to ticket drivers who commit moving violations under municipal codes or other local regulations. All moving violations must be cited under the appropriate state vehicle code section, which specifies penalties. This law ensures that drivers throughout the state will be treated uniformly for moving violations.

Smog Check Under AB 2289, beginning sometime after January 1, 2013, model-year 2000 and newer vehicles will be tested for smog compliance using the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic systems (OBD-II) instead of a tailpipe sensor. If the vehicle is not equipped with OBD-II or has emissions problems, it can be tested using the tailpipe sensor at a test-only station. Changing the testing procedure should reduce the cost of smog checks, according to the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.
Source: January/February 2011 Edition of Westways Magazine

How To Pass A Smog Test

There are lots of reasons why your vehicle can fail a smog check. Follow these tips below to insure your vehicle passes the first time.

Make sure your vehicle is performing correctly before arriving at the smog check inspection station.

The chances of your vehicle passing a smog inspection are slim to none if your vehicle is not is good working order. If you do decide to have a smog inspection completed on a vehicle with known mechanical problems you will more than likely lose your inspection fee (unless you are in a state that requires free retests). Save yourself the trouble and get your vehicle repaired prior to having it tested. Also, keep in mind that if your check engine light is on then your vehicle will automatically fail. To investigate the problem, take your vehicle to a repair shop. They will examine your car with a tool that retrieves check engine codes. You can also check with local auto stores to see if this is a service that is available there. For instance, some Pepboys will check your vehicle and give you the engine code for free.

1. Warm Your Car Up

To make sure your vehicle is warmed up and running at the optimal level, drive it for 20 minutes prior to arriving at the smog inspection station. Keep in mind that your engine functions by burning fuel – proper combustion needs adequate time to occur. You can accomplish this by simply driving your vehicle for at least 10 to 15 miles.

2. Take Advantage Of Fuel Additives

To lower your vehicle’s emission levels you can add fuel additives to the gas tank when refueling. The additives reduce your vehicle’s emissions by removing carbon deposits within the engine’s intake and exhaust paths. This allows fuel and air to flow more freely and improves the combustion process and overall engine performance.

3. Check Your Tires

During the emissions test the smog technician might be required to run your vehicle on a dynamometer. If your vehicle’s tires are unevenly worn or improperly inflated then it could cause inaccuracies in the smog test. Verifying your tires are evenly worn and have the correct tire pressure gives your vehicle more stability and produces much greater accuracy during your smog inspection.

4. Change Your Oil

If it’s been awhile since your last oil change, go ahead and change your oil before you get your smog check. If your oil is dirty because of inadequate oil changes then you might fail your emissions inspection because of it. This is due to the fact that the positive crank ventilation system pulls fumes from the oil pan into the engine. If your oil is dirty, so are the fumes.

Am I eligible for financial assistance?

What is the Consumer Assistance Program?

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) provides financial assistance for qualified consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial (every-other-year) smog check. The statutory authority for CAP is found in section 44062 of the Health and Safety Code and is implemented through regulations adopted by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Participation in CAP programs is limited to available funds.

How do I qualify for CAP?

CAP offers two options for consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial Smog Check:

* Repair Assistance: Qualified consumers can receive financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs to help their vehicles pass their smog check inspection. Approved applicants must take their vehicles to a Gold Shield repair station for repairs. Gold Shield stations are licensed smog check facilities that are independently owned and under contract with the State of California. There are two ways to qualify for repair assistance.
o Income Eligible – Qualified consumers whose household incomes meet the income guidelines can receive financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs. A copayment is required and will be applied toward diagnosis and emission-related repairs. The CAP application includes an income eligibility table to help consumers determine if they meet the income requirements.
o Directed Vehicle Eligible – Certain vehicles are directed to Test Only or Gold Shield stations for their initial smog tests. If your Department of Motor Vehicles registration notice requires a test at a Test Only or Gold Shield station, and your vehicle fails, you may qualify for financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs at a Gold Shield repair station. A copayment is required and will be applied toward diagnosis and emission-related repairs.
* Vehicle Retirement: Eligible consumers can receive payment to retire their high-polluting vehicle. There are no income or Directed Vehicle eligibility requirements. Approved applicants must take their vehicle to an authorized dismantler. The vehicle must pass a visual and operational inspection before it is retired.

How do I apply? You must first submit an application. Do not have any repairs done to your vehicle until you are notified that your application has been approved. If you applied for repair assistance, you will receive an approval letter and a list of participating Gold Shield stations. If you applied for vehicle retirement, you will receive an approval letter and a list of contracted dismantlers.

Where can I get an application?

You can obtain the CAP application by calling the Department of Consumer Affairs Consumer Information Center at 800-952-5210.

What is Test–Only Stations

Test–Only stations are licensed by the state to perform only tests on vehicles. They are prohibited from performing any repair services. Gross Polluters can be certified at these stations. In addition, potentially high–polluting vehicles in the state’s smoggiest regions are directed to these stations for their initial Smog Check inspection, as specified on the Department of Motor Vehicles registration renewal form.

What do I do if my vehicle fails a Smog Check?

If your vehicle fails a biennial smog check, you have several options to meet your smog check obligations.

1. Have your vehicle diagnosed and repaired at a licensed Test and Repair station.
2. Apply for financial assistance for emissions-related repairs from the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP).
3. Seek a Repair Cost Waiver through the Referee System.

The Repair Cost Waiver process is available if you have had some repairs performed to reduce emissions and cannot afford further repairs to pass the smog test. The Repair Cost Waiver will allow you to register your vehicle for one biennial cycle, even if the vehicle still fails a smog test. To be eligible for a Repair Cost Waiver, the vehicle must not be tampered with, and have at least $450 of emission related repairs performed by a licensed technician at a licensed station. The Repair Cost Waiver is issued by the Referee.

California announces adoption of new technology on smog check

by George Bao

Los Angeles, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — California Environmental Protection Agency announced here Monday the adoption of new technology on smog check which promises lower costs, faster tests and cleaner air.

The new technology, known as On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), has been required on all new vehicles since 1996. Under the new law, testing of passenger vehicles using OBD will begin mid-2013 on all vehicles model years 2000 or newer. This should result in reduced consumer costs by up to 180 million dollars annually.

Vehicles manufactured without these diagnostic systems will continue to be subject to a tailpipe inspection. Only Smog Check stations with a demonstrated history of high performance will be authorized to inspect these older vehicles. This change will improve testing, diagnosis and repair of these vehicles.

An independent review of the Smog Check Program in 2009 revealed that within a short period of time after passing a Smog Check inspection, 19 percent of vehicles failed a subsequent emissions audit conducted by state officials. The same study also found that 49 percent of vehicles that had failed an audit conducted by BAR staff had failed and then subsequently passed an inspection at a licensed Smog Check station.

The new technology is the result of the adoption of AB 2289. On Monday, the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Consumer Affairs and Bureau of Automotive Repair and California Assembly member Mike Eng marked the adoption of AB 2289, a new law restructuring California’ s Smog Check Program, streamlining and strengthening inspections, increasing penalties for misconduct, and reducing costs to motorists.

Visit our sister smog stations:

California drivers face raft of new laws

Sticking that probe up your car’s tailpipe to check for emissions is a fading technology in California and may be speeded on its way to the auto mechanics’ hall of fame by another new law, AB 2289. Beginning sometime after Jan. 1, 2013, model-year 2000 and newer vehicles will be tested for smog compliance using the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic systems (OBD-II) instead of a tailpipe sensor.

If the vehicle is not equipped with OBD-II or has emissions problems, it can be tested using the tailpipe sensor at a test-only station.

Changing the testing procedure is expected to reduce the cost of smog checks, claims the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.
Source: centralvalleybusinesstimes.com