Your Car’s Exhaust & Emissions

Don’t Be EXHAUSTed By Smog Checks — Spiteri’s Auto Service

It’s time for a smog check, and if your car doesn’t pass, you can’t register it or keep it on the road in California. While that may feel burdensome and EXHAUSTing, understanding how your vehicle’s exhaust operates, why it’s essential, and how it relates to emissions standards can put you back in control. For help navigating the requirements as well as any needed preventive maintenance or repair services, you can count on Spiteri’s Auto Service in Belmont, California.

Workings of the Exhaust System

As your auto operates using the combustion process, it produces and/or releases six gases. These are water vapor, unused oxygen, and carbon dioxide (which aren’t major causes for alarm), as well as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen monoxide (which are toxic). There are usually some particulates (such as Mercury atoms) also present in the exhaust. Your car’s exhaust system is responsible for moving these substances away from areas that would allow them to enter the passenger cabin and cause almost immediate harm to occupants.

The exhaust manifold picks up the gases from the cylinder head and releases them through the front pipe. The gases pass through the catalytic converter, which removes harmful materials and ideally releases only harmless or inert gases. As the gases continue their journey to the outside world, they pass through the muffler. Employing a noise-canceling set of tubes, this component is designed to silence the noise resulting from the engine and the combustion process. Finally, the tailpipe sends the exhaust out and away from the vehicle.

Emissions and Smog Checks

While the most immediate interest with the exhaust system is having it remove toxins before they can enter the passenger compartment, the second most critical function is to contain the contaminants, preventing them from being expelled into the air, damaging bystanders’ lungs, and polluting the atmosphere. In the past, as the numbers of vehicles increased and traffic thickened around cities like Los Angeles, this became a real concern. Clouds of smog (the combination of pollution, smoke, and/or fog) were seen hanging over heavily traveled areas.

To combat this problem, California (and eventually the federal government) developed and implemented emissions standards to limit the acceptable amount of contaminants spewed into the air by vehicles. Smog checks, therefore, are required (with a few exceptions) when a car is first registered in California as well as every two years after that to ensure compliance with the regulations. Although this may feel exhausting, it’s necessary, and it’s the law. However, you don’t have to become overwhelmed by smog checks. You can stay on top of preventive maintenance, smog checks, and any needed repairs at Spiteri’s Auto Service in Belmont, California.

Written by Spiteri's Auto Service

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