Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Smog Check Time

 My 1999 Dodge Dakota is up for registration, due Nov. 30. It has to have a Smog Check this year, said in a classic doomsday voice.

So my 1999 vehicle has to have the tailpipe emissions checked, fortunately they won't be checking MY tailpipe emissions. I would definitely fail in that arena.

So anyway, as usual I go looking on the internet to see how many readiness monitors for the OBD II system here in Calif. can be Not Ready and still pass smog so I can get registered. And it looks like things are still as they were a couple years ago:  Smog Tips


The Bureau of Automotive Repairs has reduced the number of allowable incomplete OBD II readiness monitors for both the new BAR-OIS (for 2000 & newer vehicles) and the BAR-97 (1999 & older) smog inspections systems. The new criteria is as follows:

Gasoline vehicles:

- 1996-1999 model year vehicles will be allowed one incomplete readiness/emission monitor

- 2000 and newer model year vehicles will need all emission monitors in READY or COMPLETE status, with the exception of the EVAP monitor. AN incomplete evaporative monitor will not cause a smog check failure. It will be the only monitor allowed to be incomplete on a 2000 & newer vehicle.

Diesel vehicles:

- 1998-2006 model year vehicles are required to have all monitors complete or ready.

- 2007 and newer model year vehicles are allowed only an incomplete exhaust after-treatment system monitor (e.g., particulate filter, NOx/SCR treatment, catalyst, etc.)

So, I have some tips for my truck. One, I went and got a fresh oil change.  This helps because hydrocarbons can be trapped in the engine oil. Some people think that does not help to lower hydrocarbons, but I do. Besides, it was due for a change anyway.

Another thing I do is add 4 cans of Heet in the yellow bottle to my gas tank. This helps to lower emissions because, I think, of the alcohol. 

And another thing I do is drive the vehicle for at least 20 miles at highway speeds. This ensures everything is warmed up to snuff, including the catalytic converter. If the cat isn't working right you will definitely get higher NOX emissions, leading to smog failure heartache.

And my truck passed. All of the emissions readings were well within the norms required by the state. Good for another 2 years. 


  1. I have four vehicles, and alas, they all smog on the same year. One of them is a Chevy Volt; a "gasoline/electric." The California "bureau of automotive repairs..." did you even know such a thing existed?... sent me a letter saying that the car was mistakenly entered in the system as an electric, and that I can expect to have to smog it from now on. ...The damned car is going on eleven years old and they're just catching wind of it...

    I usually do an oil change before smogging as well. Aside from the crap in the oil, I believe the new oil helps the seal between the rings and cylinder walls, as well as that between the valves and the guides. I don't like to have any additives in the fuel when smogging, but do run some Sea Foam through the tank a couple of tanks before. Sea Foam spray also goes down the throttle body.

    My '97 Jeep Wrangler still has a distributor, so the cap and rotor get replaced. So does the air filter.

    My '04 Ford F250 turbodiesel; the smog for that thing is a joke. The tech checks to see that the emissions systems haven't been tampered with. He puts the truck on the computer, starts the engine, revs it to see if there's too much smoke, and then hands me a bill for $60.00.

    People can say "Sucks to be you, California," but several states include the smog check with their YEARLY inspections..." 'Sucks to be them more...

  2. Large cities in Texas require tail pipe sniffing. Smaller cities, and counties, don't. Locally, even after building the new centers for testing, the pushback was so strong, the centers were never used and eventually sold.

  3. There is already alcohol in your fuel. It is ethanol at at least 10-15% by volume. So.... think about the methanol....

  4. Vern, I get a monthly rego bill reminder from Queensland Transport by email, and I pay it by direct debit from my bank account. I never go into the Main Roads office except for my licence renewal every five years.
    Australian vehicles don’t have catalytic converters fitted, I used to wonder what was being stolen, and why, when seeing online reports of converter thieving in the US.