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 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.

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Since 1985 Speedy Smog has prided itself as one being of the best Smog Check locations in Bakersfield. We have worked tirelessly to offer quality honest service right her in Bakersfield.  Our team of expert Smog Technicians are able certified to smog all makes and models.

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Coming Soon; Model year 2000 and newer vehicles will no longer require the tailpipe emissions test portion of the smog check process. AB 2289 will require late model vehicles be administered the smog check’s visual and functional tests only.

The implementation of AB 2289 is expected to reduce the time and cost of the smog check. The program will now take better advantage of a vehicle’s OBD II technology by eliminating tailpipe testing and instead using the vehicle’s own OBD II emissions monitoring system.

This new smog test system is already in place in 22 other states. “This new and improved program will have the same result as taking 800,000 old cars off the road, also resulting in a more cost effective program for California motorists.” said ARB Chairman, Mary D. Nichols.

Currently California’s smog check procedure requires all vehicles undergo a tailpipe emissions inspection to measure harmful pollutant output from the tailpipe, a visual inspection for present and properly installed emissions components, a functional test to insure the proper operation of various emission components; and as part of the functional test, an OBD II computer diagnostic check.

Under AB 2289, the tailpipe emissions portion of the smog inspection will be eliminated for 2000 model and newer cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Background on the OBD II system – All vehicles imported into the United States as of 1996 have had to be equipped with an On Board Diagnostics system referred to as OBD II. The OBD II diagnostic system is designed to monitor all aspects of your engine’s emission conditions and report this information to a central database within it’s computer. This information is processed and checked against the computers pre-determined values for various input levels and performance patterns.

If any problems are found, the computer will determine whether to alert the driver or not. If a decision has been made to alert the driver of an emissions problem, the “Check Engine” or “Engine Malfunction” light will illuminate on the vehicle’s dashboard. In more serious emission conditions the computer may even begin to rapidly flash the “Check Engine/Malfunction” light indicating to the driver, that the vehicle needs immediate diagnosis/repair attention.

AB 2289 now requires the smog test inspection to rely on data from a vehicle’s own on board emissions computer to determine the vehicle’s harmful emissions production as opposed to using a smog machine to sample the vehicle’s emissions output from the tailpipe. This design is expected to reduce the cost of equipment at the smog station, reduce the amount of time it takes to smog check a vehicle, and reduce the cost of the smog inspection to the consumer.

AB 2289 – Makes changes to the following smog inspection procedures and guidelines:

A. Authorize the use of On Board Diagnostic II testing to expedite the process.
B. Vehicles known to release large amounts of pollution must test at stations with the highest performance ratings.
C. Stricter fines structure for improper inspections.
D. Permit the state to contract with the private sector to manage franchise-like networks of independently owned Smog Check stations.
E. Encourage community colleges and other training institutions to develop technician-training programs.

Looking for the best Smog Check prices.  We recommend that if you are going to get a smog check you look for Smog Check Coupons. For your convenience you may download and print smog testing coupons and other auto repairs services coupons from our coupon section.

Once you are a Speedy Smog of Bakersfield customer we will keep your information on file and will automatically give you our discounted rate on your next smog test.

The CA DMV may request that you take your vehicle to a STAR station (Speedy Smog is a Certified Star Station). These stations meet higher testing standards than regular smog check centers. Some STAR stations only offer testing, while others offer testing and repair. If required, it will be noted on your vehicle registration renewal notice.

State law mandates that a specified percentage of cars be tested at STAR stations. Reasons for being selected vary:

  • Your vehicle was selected at random.
  • Your vehicle was identified as a possible emitter of an inordinate amount of emission pollutants.

If your car fails the smog test, you’ll be unable to register it until you make repairs, retest and pass the inspection.

Speedy Smog is here for you if your car fails, although you don’t have to utilize our mechanic services, we do have highly trained and certified smog mechanics to help get you car properly licensed and back on the road quick.

Every 2 years when you renew your vehicle registration you must obtain a “smog certificate”―a printout of your vehicle’s emissions test results. You must register your car within 90 days of your emissions inspection.

Back to Tips 1-5

Bakersfield Smog Check Tips

6. Check coolant and gas levels before the test. Since the test runs the car at high speed while it is stationary, less air flows through the radiator to cool it. So make sure to fill your coolant tank properly. Also, the car will be on a dynamometer, possibly at an angle. If gas is low in the tank, this could expose the fuel pump and put vapor in the fuel line, causing the car to fail the test.

7. Avoid rainy days. There was disagreement on this recommendation. Wet tires can slip on the dynamometer and give a false reading that can cause smog check failure. However,  the warm-up cycle of the test will usually dry off the tires. Furthermore, extra humidity during rainy days results in lower emissions of some pollutants.

8. Use a fuel additive. Older cars could have clogged fuel injectors, causing them to run lean. An additive such as Techron could clean the small openings and help the car pass the smog test.

9. Only Use A Star Certified Check Station. STAR stations are Smog Check stations that meet higher performance standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.