Guest Blog: California Smog Check Program

  
     
March 26, 2014

9 out of 10 Californian’s have not heard about this yet, but the smog check program as we know it is about to get a makeover.  This year the State of California will be introducing a new testing procedure that will finally bring San Diegans a sigh of relief.

Last year, many drivers were caught off guard with their DMV registration renewal notification telling them they were required to go to a STAR smog check station. Since there was not much of a push to inform drivers about that program change, we are making our own push to inform drivers about the updates planned for this year. 

What is an OBD II based smog check?

For vehicles 2000 and newer, the new on-board diagnostic (OBD) computer check, slated for deployment mid-2014, simplifies the smog check process by eliminating the tailpipe test altogether. This leaves the OBD computer test and a visual inspection to be completed. For drivers in San Diego, this means greater convenience, as inspection times and costs will be lessened. 

The new device that is going to check the OBD computer is called the Data Acquisition Device, a.k.a. DAD.  This device plugs into these newer vehicles usually through a port located underneath the steering wheel, and will give the smog technician all the data they need to identify the vehicle and check the readiness status of all the emissions components. 

For vehicles between years 1976 -1999, the smog check remains relatively the same with an acceleration simulation mode (ASM) test, OBD computer check (1996 and newer), and a visual inspection. 

What does the visual inspection consist of? 

One of the more difficult, but critically important portions of the smog check inspection is the visual inspection. The visual inspection consists of identifying each component of the vehicle’s emissions systems. If there are changes to these components, if they are not there or if the part is worn, it is the smog technician’s responsibility to determine if the change is California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved, if the component missing is legal, or if the worn part needs to be replaced. 

What can I do to help my vehicle pass the smog check? 

The answer to this question is not a secret. Following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule listed in the owner’s manual is the best preventative measure one can take to keep the vehicle in good operating condition. Also, not tampering with any of the vehicles emissions components is a good fail safe. For car enthusiasts who wish to make changes to these components, holding onto the vehicle’s factory components to change back later or purchasing CARB approved replacements is the best advice to pass smog. 

This article courtesy of Kyle Morman.  Morman is the owner of Pass ‘N Go Smog Center, a veteran-owned and operated smog check inspection station located in Vista, California.