Read Below To Find Out What To Do If Your Car Is Not Passing Smog

This guide is a comprehensive guide with over 1,200 words so please feel free to use the table of contents below to jump to areas of interest.

Many States have a smog test for private cars which is very strict. Not passing this smog test can make the process of registering or selling a car difficult. Though this may seem like a big inconvenience for vehicle owners, the laws and regulations regarding smog have been implemented for the betterment of everyone living in the surrounding area to help stop pollutants from entering the environment.

The Smog Test: What is it? A Brief History On The Subject.

What is smog and why is it something that the government place regulations on? Smog are the chemicals that come out of gasoline powered vehicles such as hydrocarbons like carbon dioxide (CO) and carbon monoxide (CO2).

Motor vehicles are in the top charts of leading causes to smog pollution.

In total thirty-three states have passed laws to control vehicle smog emissions. But, the California smog test has the strictest laws and regulations on the matter.

California was the first state to pass a law regarding the regulation of such emissions, probably due to the coined name known as ‘smog capital’. The laws and regulations have gotten tighter and adjusted for the development of new vehicle technology.

Too much smog can be harmful to human health and have impacts on the environment.

pollution from smog
Above is an image of China that shows the air quality as a result of the smog pollution. This is what we aim to prevent.

This is why it is a regulated matter, to make sure that vehicles aren’t emitting too much smog into the area.

California first started testing for smog back in the 1980’s when it became apparent that the emissions from vehicles were causing negative effects. In the 90’s, the smog check changed to adapt with the new technology and implemented a lot of programs around smog emissions and retiring vehicles.

Stating in 2004, the law required that gas powered vehicles older than 1975, vehicles weighing over 14,000 pounds, or diesel vehicles older than 1997 be exempt from the smog emissions test.

The intention of the laws were to get people to understand the carbon footprint we create with our equipment a little better, to cut back the amount of emissions put into the air, and to start pushing people into buy for environmentally-friendly vehicles such as hybrids or electric vehicles.

In Most States If Your Car Is Newer Than Six Years Old You Are Exempt From The Smog Test

Cars that are newer than six years are also exempt from the smog emissions inspection as long as the owner of the vehicle pays an abatement fee which is due every year. This fee is susceptible to change, but is usually between $20 to $30.

Car emission tests must be done at California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) station locations. These places would be Star stations or repair shops which are certified for the occasion.

The locations can be found all throughout California and the smog test inspection usually takes up to twenty to thirty minutes to conduct.

New residents to California need to get their vehicle emissions tested within 20 days of establishing residency. Certificates from passing out-of-state emission tests cannot be used.

Under no circumstance should the test be given at home even with the proper equipment. The test must be done at a certified location in order to be recognized by the state.

The Smog Inspection Process

There are a few different things in a car which are checked to make sure a vehicle isn’t emitting too much smog. This is why the cost varies so drastically from vehicle to vehicle.

The California smog test is a three-part inspection on a vehicle. For cars that are older than 2000, there is an emissions inspection of the vehicle. This is when they check for the chemicals coming out of the emission.

Cars that are newer than 2000 are exempt from this portion because there is a computer test administered which gives back codes indicating the performance and chemical output of the vehicle.

car emitting gas and smog pollution.

All cars must undergo the second parts of the inspection which is a visual and functional inspection and must be done be the certified technician.

The visual inspection includes checking the physical components of the vehicle both under the hood and under the vehicle. They are checking to make sure that the equipment is installed properly and that there are no loose hanging wires. During this part of the inspection they also look to see if the vehicle produces too much visible smoke.

The last part of the smog test is the functional inspection. During this part of the test the smog technician. They check a few different parts of the car for this.

First, the engine ignition timing is checked to make sure the engine is working properly with the sparkplugs, then they check the engine light, gas cap, filler neck, and the exhaust recirculation valve (EGR) Finally, they conduct a low fuel pressure evaporation test and is to ensure that the car isn’t leaking emissions from the fuel tank.

Non-Passing Vehicles

The best recommendations for helping a car pass the smog test is that proper maintenance be taken on a vehicle such as getting regular oil changes and inspections. Spending a little bit on maintenance now can help save a lot later. But, if you're reading this article your vehicle is probably already having issues passing the smog test.

If a car doesn’t pass the emission test there is a lengthy process involved to make your car passable. We'll be frank and say that is isn't for the faint of heart. The state of California will not let you continue through the registration process of your vehicle until it can pass and driving an unregistered car can cause a slew of problems.

In many cases, it can be very expensive to fix a vehicle so that it can pass an emissions test. Many people may consider selling the car if the expenses don’t seem to be worth it.

What Happens If My Car Doesn't Pass Smog?

thinking about the smog test

If your car doesn't pass smog you will be unable to register the car. This means that you are not legally able to drive it on the city streets. This is handled by the department of motor vehicles, and their our no exceptions to the rule.

The goal here is to keep the environment clean, the state is only doing this to preserve the environment.

Some Do It Yourself Tips on repairing your car to pass the smog test

do it yourself smog repair.

Bring your vehicle to the shop to have the codes read. A Shop can hook your car up to the machine and provide a read of the diagnostic codes. Sometimes, this will tell you what the problem is, but it isn't always the case.

Did you recently disconnect your battery? If your battery was recently removed or disconnected you will need to drive the car to reset the computers for the smog test. You will typically want to drive 60 MPH on the freeway to set the monitors on the car. If you drive your car for around a week this should fix the problem.

Have you recently installed any after market parts? After market intakes, exhausts and things of that nature can result in a failure in the smog test.

However, selling a car which hasn’t passed emissions can be more hassle than expected.

Repair costs to make a car pass an emissions test can cost anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars, because it may be something small as changing out smaller parts like spark plugs and filters or it may be something big like replacing a catalytic converter.

Here is a list of the things which may need repair in order to pass the smog test:

Oxygen Sensors

Air Filter

Oil Filter

EVAP System

Gas Cap

Catalytic Converter

Spark Plugs

EGR

Not only can these parts for certain models come with a heavy price tag, but the bill just crawls up when labor to repair or change the part must be taken into consideration.

If it is too expensive to repair, then there are options which can be taken to make it easier. There is the California Vehicle Retirement program also known as Cash for Clunkers which is operated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Retirement Program

It may be hard to say good by to a vehicle which had once been very reliable, but it may not be worth paying for the repairs on the car if the repairs double or triple the value of the vehicle.

The first step to determining whether your car should be taken to the State’s retirement center or to sell it to a local retirement program, such as SellMax, is if the vehicle starts and can be driven, then it can go to the retirement center, but if it won’t be accepted it can be sold to a proper dealer.

In order for the car to be eligible, then it must have been registered in California for at least the past two years. Cars registered from other states aren’t eligible. The vehicles registration with the state of California must not have lapsed within the last 120 days or it cannot be considered for the program.

These may seem like a great option, but the owner of the car is responsible for getting the vehicle to the cash for clunkers centers.

California also enacted a policy known as Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). If you meet the criteria to be filed under CARS then you are given a small credit amount which must be used to purchase a more environmentally-friendly vehicle. The amount of the credit depends on the type of car being purchased.

However, payment might want to be taken into consideration as the cash for clunkers program can take three weeks or longer to get payment to the owner of the vehicle. The government likes to take its time.

Do you have to smog a car before you sell it?

selling a car that won't pass smog

You might be wondering "can you sell a car that won't pass smog".By California law, a vehicle must be sold with a smog inspection certificate which has been conducted in the past 90 days. So, if you are thinking of selling a car in California without smog please reconsider this option as it is against the law and it will put you at risk (The only exception is if you sell a car to a licensed car dealer, they can still purchase the car). This means that if the vehicle didn’t pass inspection, then it shouldn’t be sold to a private party being another individual.

If this is ignored and a vehicle is sold to a private party without passing the smog emissions, then the buyer has legal rights to sue to seller of the vehicle to pay for the fees required to fix the problems. This can end up costing more than the vehicle was sold for and leave the seller in a tough situation.

This brings us to the issue of scrapyards or junkyards, which will buy old cars to either scrap and recycle or repair the vehicle to sell back to the public. Though there is a chance that a vehicle will be broken down for scraps, they may also attempt to fix the vehicle which would leave the repair costs at your doors along with other problems that may rise with selling a car to a junkyard.

Vehicles which are transferred to a family member is the only situation where the vehicle doesn’t require having a smog inspection certificate but is subject to a $8 smog transfer fee.

Selling to SellMax

We are SellMax and we are a licensed nationwide company with or headquarters and over 80 locations across California, we are easy to find. Selling your vehicle to SellMax can be as fast as one hour. To guarantee your smile we will do our best to bet the offers of our competition.

Our company offers years of experience as we were established in 1990. We don’t discriminate against any sort of car, regardless of its condition, and if you still own on the car, we will go with you to pay off the car and give you the remainder.

We strongly encourage to sell a non-passing vehicle to your local dealership that is involved the retirement program, such as SellMax. At Sellmax, we will give you a great price for your vehicle compared to the competition and the CA cash for clunkers.

We go over a quick checklist of the vehicle that you want to sell and with the information make you a reasonable quote. Our company has no hidden fees as we want our customers to be enlightened in the process of retiring improper or unwanted vehicles.

Unlike the CA program cash for clunkers, we pay you instantly for the purchase of your old vehicle.

Conclusion

We are SellMax and we are a licensed nationwide company with or headquarters and over 80 locations across California, we are easy to find. Selling your vehicle to SellMax can be as fast as one hour. To guarantee your smile we will do our best to bet the offers of our competition.

Our company offers years of experience as we were established in 1990. We don’t discriminate against any sort of car, regardless of its condition, and if you still own on the car, we will go with you to pay off the car and give you the remainder.

We strongly encourage to sell a non-passing vehicle to your local dealership that is involved the retirement program, such as SellMax. At Sellmax, we will give you a great price for your vehicle compared to the competition and the CA cash for clunkers.

We go over a quick checklist of the vehicle that you want to sell and with the information make you a reasonable quote. Our company has no hidden fees as we want our customers to be enlightened in the process of retiring improper or unwanted vehicles.

Unlike the CA program cash for clunkers, we pay you instantly for the purchase of your old vehicle.

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