Smog Check Bakersfield 9 Tips
Before you take your car in for a smog check in Bakersfield, is there anything you can do to give it a better chance of passing?
The obvious answer is to make sure your car is running well in the first place. A well-maintained car, with all its systems operating correctly, will probably pass the smog test.
If you think your car isn’t running at 100 percent but you want to avoid the expensive repairs that would be required if you fail, there are simple steps you can take to tilt the odds of passing a smock check in your favor.
We’ll get to the details in a minute, but first it’s important to understand that smog testing, introduced in the 1970s as part of the Clean Air Act, is an essential step to keeping health-threatening pollutants out of the air. Smog check programs are in effect in 33 states to verify that your car’s emissions system is functioning properly. For more information about your local smog check requirements, check with your state’s motor vehicle registry.
“We can remember crying during recess in elementary school because the smog levels were so high,” says Steve Mazor, chief automotive engineer with the Automobile Club of Southern California. He adds that in the 1960s, Los Angeles had 100 smog alerts each year. In the past 10 years there have been only two in the city. “That is almost entirely because of the improvements in emissions systems in cars,” he says.
Still, smog tests can be a bureaucratic hassle for car owners. Understanding the rules, and how to prepare for and take the test, was so confusing for the average motorist that smog check technician Eddy Asmerian created SmogTips.com with information about how to pass.
Most people leave the smog test until the last minute. They think, ‘If I don’t pass, I’ll worry about it then. But he says there is a lot they can do ahead of time to help make sure their car will get a clean bill of health.
Here are the top tips from our experts to prepare your car for a smog check:
1. Clear that “Check Engine” light.
If your car displays a “Check Engine” light, that’s an automatic smog check failure. You’ll need to get a diagnosis and fix before you test.
The most common reason for a Check Engine light is a faulty oxygen sensor. Sometimes, even before an oxygen sensor fails, it becomes “lazy,” not properly regulating the gas/air mixture, and that will cause a smog check failure.
An oxygen sensor in an older car is a fairly in expensive part and our trained mechanics can help you with the install.
2. Drive the car at highway speeds for the two weeks prior to the smog test. This gets the catalytic converter hot enough to burn out any oil and gas residues. The catalytic converter, mandated by federal law in 1974 for all U.S. cars and trucks, converts harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions before they leave the exhaust system. The worst thing for the proper operation of emissions systems is a series of short trips: The catalytic converter never gets hot enough to do its job.
3. Change the oil, but only if it needs it. Dirty oil in the crankcase could release additional pollutants, which could cause the car to fail the smog test. While the mechanic is changing the oil, ask him to do a visual inspection of the car’s engine to see if any hoses are cracked, broken or disconnected.
4. Do a tune-up two weeks before the smog test. Have any required maintenance performed well before the smog test. Most mechanics disconnect the battery while doing a tune-up and this resets the car’s onboard computer. The car then needs two weeks of driving to run all the diagnostic tests needed to pass the smog test.
5. Make sure the tires are properly inflated. California requires a dynamometer test, which positions the car’s tires on rollers that allow the engine to run at high speeds while it is stationary. If the tires are under-inflated, the car’s engine works harder to achieve the engine revolutions required by the test.