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How to Pass Your Emissions Test

10 September 2020

In many states, emissions test is required annually if you intend to drive your car legally on the road. It helps calculate the number of harmful gases being released into the environment through normal operation of your vehicle. It is not possible to completely rid our cars these gases, but it is well within our control to ensure the emissions that released are reduced to help  the environment. Here are some recommended ways to pass the test with flying colors and make your car produce less harmful gases without getting a fine or being asked to make repairs.

1. Get the “Check Engine” light to turn off

Imagine going in for an emissions test with a blinking Check Engine light. That is asking for trouble. This light usually means there is something not right with your vehicle.  

The check engine light can show an issue with the oxygen sensor that resides in the exhaust pipe. This sensor is a key component when it comes to a smog test because it is responsible for conveying all the necessary information on emissions to the ECU. Therefore, the oxygen sensor should be working perfectly before you even think about going for a test. If it has stopped working you can get it cleaned or replaced with a new one for a small chunk of money

2. Take your car for a spin on the highway

The catalytic converter gets choked up overtime and it needs to be cleaned out. You can do that manually or let your car do that for you. If you drive at high-speeds the catalytic converter heats up and much of the  deposits clear away. You should perform this action a few weeks before you go in for your appointment so that everything is all squeaky clean once you are at the testing premises.

3. Refill the Engine Oil

The efficiency of an engine can change considerably after a fresh oil change. If you are too far behind your oil change date then consider shifting the test a bit further. Once you have fresh oil in the engine your car will purr like a kitten, it will run efficiently and produce less harmful gases.

4. Tune Your Vehicle Before the Test

The number of harmful emissions coming out of your vehicle is directly proportional to the tuning done on your vehicle. If your car is tuned to run on a rich air-fuel mixture then you are bound to get a very bad rating on the smog test. Therefore, to be safe you should re-tune your car to run on a lean air-fuel mixture, at least till the day you pass the test. You can always change the tuning to your desired setting later.

5. Properly Inflate Your Tires

Dynamos are pretty much outdated when it comes to smog tests but it is possible that the testing facility you are assigned still uses that method. In such cases, low tire pressure can affect your car’s fuel efficiency and indirectly cause the engine to work hard leading to a rise in the production of harmful gases.  

6. Check All the Fluids Before-Hand

The dynamo testing method involves taking the car to very high speeds to check its efficiency. Therefore, all your car’s fluids should be filled to the brim otherwise you can risk hurting your engine. A lot could go wrong if the fluids are not at the optimum level and you don’t want to be the one paying for a mistake caused by your carelessness.

7. Clean the Engine System

It can work to your advantage if you use a high quality fuel system cleaner right before you take the emissions test. Opt for one that has a potent detergent called Polyether Amine, otherwise it could take several uses of a lower quality cleaner to get the same effect from just one use of a premium cleaner. The fuel system cleaner will remove carbon buildup from key engine parts , which lessens the amount of carbon emissions produced by your vehicle. 

8. Get a Mock Inspection

If you are not that confident if you will pass the test then you can opt for a mock inspection. Some states in the U.S have this option where you can take a mock test to ensure everything is right about your car. The results of the inspection will more or less give you an idea of the actual results you would get in the real test. If you fail the test you will have time to make adjustments and repairs to pass the actual test.