Things you need to know before bringing in your vehicle for a Smog Test
At the end of a Smog Test there are 4 Outcomes that can take place: Pass, Fail, Not Ready, or Aborted.
The least understood by the general public is the Not Ready category; so we will attempt to explain a couple of the situations that cause it and try to make you, our customer, avoid it as much as possible.
Most 1996 and newer vehicles have standardized computer systems known as On Board Diagnostics (aka OBD2) that continually monitor the electronic sensors of engines and emissions control systems while the vehicle is being driven to ensure that they are working as designed. If the monitors have gathered up a designated amount of data, we in the automotive industry refer to those monitors as being "Set". Most if not all of the monitors required for a specific vehicle, must be set for the vehicle to be ready to be tested.
The following list will provide you a few problems that will cause the OBD2 and therefore your vehicle to be "Not Ready" to be tested. Once you have fixed the problem/s, please drive the vehicle around for approximately 150 miles both freeway (high speeds) and surface/neighborhood streets (low speeds), having the ignition cycled on and off a few times and with 3/4 to a Full tank of Fuel. Every vehicle is different so this is a rough gauge of what will get your vehicle ready to be tested. Even after all of that, please, let us know once you come in that you may have had any of these situations. This is to help you, not for us to catch you and fail you! There is a misunderstanding that by hiding this information you will somehow "sneak by and pass the test." If your vehicle is not ready to be passed our equipment will state, "Not Ready" and you will not pass your test. Help us, help you!
1. If your Check Engine light or Service Engine Soon light is illuminated and stays lit on your dashboard console, you will not pass smog. Your vehicle is telling you that something is wrong with it and it will also tell our smog machine that something is wrong and you will fail the test. So please have your vehicle serviced by a trusted mechanic. After the repairs and the Check/Service Engine Light is turned off, drive your vehicle around in the prescribed manner detailed in the second paragraph above. Sometimes these lights may illuminate due to the gas cap being on loosely or the cap is broken. If this is the problem, tightening the cap or replacing the cap will cause the engine light to go off on its own.
2. If you recently did any of the following to your Vehicle's Battery: Disconnected, Reconnected / Changed, Jumped / Installed a New Battery please drive your vehicle around in the prescribed manner detailed in the second paragraph. If the battery is having a hard time turning over the engine or if the battery drops below 5 volts the OBD2 memory will be lost. So it is best to get this replaced before hand and then drive your vehicle around in the prescribed manner detailed in the second paragraph.
3. If you recently had any Vehicle Repairs done, the mechanic shop may have disconnected your battery while working on the vehicle. At the end of the mechanic service, ask the mechanic if they had disconnected the battery; if they have, you will need to drive your vehicle around in the prescribed manner detailed in the second paragraph. Also let us know when you come for your smog test, even if they didn't disconnect your battery and we will double check before we start the test.
*Doing all of this will Not guarantee that your vehicle will Pass the test, but it will make it so that you are not paying just to find out that your vehicle is not ready to be tested yet.