Failed Smog Test - What to do Next

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This post addresses the California Smog Check program. Many states have emissions programs with California being the most stringent. In general in other states the test will be less frequent and less complicated.

Yikes I Failed My Smog Test Now What

Don't panic, it may not be very expensive to fix the issue. It may be even only a bad gas cap.

Yep that's right a bad gas cap will cause a smog check failure and may even be the cause of that pesky engine light problem that you are having. The fuel and emissions system are sealed and pressurized in most vehicles. If your gas cap does not seal properly the system doesn't pressurize and the engine warning light can come on and/or you may fail a smog check. So check that first and/or make sure the smog station technician checks for you.

Rule out Simple Problems for your Smog Test Failure

If it isn't something simple it still may not be expensive. Smog test only stations cannot repair nor recommend where you get your vehicle repaired. If they do recommend a location, I would be suspicious and perhaps get my vehicle tested elsewhere. Smog test only stations can provide information on why the test failed, but they cannot run any detailed diagnosis nor repair your vehicle.

A Smog Test and Repair Station Can Diagnosed and Repair Your Vehicle

A test and repair facility can diagnose and fix your vehicle, but they cannot re-test and certify it. You will need to return to a Smog Test Only station to have your vehicle certified. In nearly all cases the re-test of your car is free if you return to the same station which originally tested your vehicle.

First Visit a STAR Test and Repair Station If Your Car is Likely to Fail

As of January 2013 AB 2289 comes into effect and establishes the STAR Smog Check Program. STAR licensed stations can both test, repair and certify your vehicle. If you believe your car is likely to fail go to a STAR station and you will avoid ping ponging back and forth between Smog Test Only stations and Test and Repair stations.

We hope this post helps.

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