Why Do We Have Smog Checks?

Do new Vehicles Need them?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires smog checks, or emissions tests, to protect the environment and public health from the dangerous effects of car pollution in the air. California has some of the highest smog check standards in the country. The State of Washington requires non-exempt gas vehicles to pass vehicle emissions tests as part of vehicle registration, then every two years after.

What Is Included in a Smog Test?

Smog checks test the amount of pollutants your vehicle is emitting. It can include some or all of these tests:

  • Inspection of the emissions system
  • Diagnostic inspection of the check engine light, gas cap, ignition timing, and more
  • Inspection of the vehicle’s OBD system
  • Tailpipe emissions inspection

In Washington, vehicle owners must take the car to an authorized testing site. There is a testing fee. If your vehicle passes the inspection, you receive a decal for the window and a report about the emissions inspection. If there are problems, the owner must make repairs before having the vehicle retested.

Tips for Passing the Smog Test in Washington

Make sure to allow yourself time to get your car tested before it’s up for re-registration. If you may be out of town, take care of your car before you go. Keeping up with your car’s maintenance schedule can help you maintain good emissions. Your mechanic can address many problems before you have to take the smog test.

If your vehicle’s check engine light is on when you take the smog test, it will not pass. Drive your car for ten or more minutes before having the test. If you get a new battery before the test, wait about two to three days to let the Onboard Diagnostic system reset. Your vehicle should have an oil change before the emissions test. You don’t want to have dirty oil. Address any problems with OBD-II before you take your car to the test site.

If you do discover a problem with your car’s emission system, check the manufacturer’s warranty. Some OBD-II systems have an 8-year warranty. If you need a list of places to get emissions testing, check the Washington DMV website. Contact Spiteri’s Auto Service in Belmont for a smog check on your vehicle.

Written by Spiteri's Auto Service

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