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What are we looking for during Smog Test

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What are we looking for during Smog Test

Q: What are the elements of a Smog Check?
A: In order for your vehicle to receive a Smog Check certificate, it must pass all the following elements of a Smog Check inspection:
  • A visual inspection, in which required emissions control components and systems are identified, and must appear connected and functional.
  • A functional inspection which includes, as applicable, checking the functionality and/or integrity of the emissions control malfunction indicator light ("Check Engine", etc), the ignition timing, the gas cap, and the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, if the vehicle is so equipped and a Two-Speed Idle (TSI) test is being performed. A Low Pressure Fuel Evaporative Test (LPFET) is performed on all 1995 and older vehicles. A functional check of a vehicle's On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system is also performed on 1996 and newer vehicles. Diagnostic information stored in the vehicle's computer is reported on the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) that the motorist receives at the end of the Smog Check inspection. OBD information can save time and money when repairs are required.
  • A tailpipe emissions test, which measures exhaust emissions using a probe inserted into the vehicle's tailpipe during testing. Vehicles pass or fail this part of the Smog Check inspection based on established emission standards, sometimes called cutpoints.
Q: What is the "underhood" inspection portion of the Smog Check?  Why is it necessary if you pass the tailpipe inspection?
A: The tailpipe test alone cannot guarantee that a car is not emitting harmful amounts of pollutants into California's air. In fact, to obtain a Smog Check certificate, a vehicle must pass all three portions of the Smog Check inspection-the visual, functional and tailpipe inspections (see previous question).
An "underhood" inspection comprises the visual and functional portions of the Smog Check inspection. The visual inspection ensures that the vehicle has all of the proper equipment and that none of its parts are disconnected or modified.The visual and functional tests help identify vehicles with tampered emissions control systems. These vehicles may be configured to pass the tailpipe portion of the Smog Check inspection, but altered later to produce more emissions than allowed. This gave the previous program the reputation of passing vehicles which were "clean for a day," rather than clean until the vehicles' next Smog Check. Vehicles which were only "clean for a day" hindered California from meeting its clean air goals.

4 Comments to What are we looking for during Smog Test:

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