California has some of the most stringent laws dealing with motor vehicles and their emissions. For people who drive used cars, going through the California car inspection process for smog can be stressful. There are about 14 million cars that are 25 years or older out on American roads today. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make sure your car passes the California vehicle inspection.

  1. Make sure your vehicle is running well when you have it inspected. No matter where you have your car inspected for its emissions, you should never take it in if it needs repairs first. If there is an issue with how your car is running, you need to take some time to go to an auto repair shop before you even think about getting your car inspected. Even if your car is running well but your “check engine” light is on, make sure you have the car checked before the inspection.
  2. Drive around a bit before you get to the inspection site. Experts recommend driving your vehicle for at least 20 minutes before you take it in for a California car inspection for emissions. Your car has a better chance of passing these tests when it is totally warmed up. After being driven for 20 minutes or more, it will enter its optimum level for driving.
  3. Give your car an added boost by using additives. There are products out there that are very good at lowering the levels of emissions being put out by your vehicle. While you adding fuel to your car, add some fuel additives. When these products mix with the fuel, they are able to clean out deposits of carbon from the fuel system as a whole. The less carbon you have lining your car’s pipes, the lower your emissions will be. You need to use the product as directed and make sure you use up all the fuel with which the additive is being used.
  4. Make sure your tires are inflated properly. When your cars are correctly inflated, they will run with more accuracy and stability. The impact on how your California car inspection for emissions and smog can be dramatic. If you find yourself right on the line between passing and failing, your tires can make the difference. The older your car is, the more important this step is.
  5. Have your oil changed. If you are close to the time when you need to have the oil in your car changed, go ahead and do that before you take your car in for a California car inspection for smog. Your car is built so that fumes from the areas where oil is found in the car, are sucked into the fuel system where they are burned off. If your oil is old or dirty, that will cause your emissions to go up and can cause your car to fail.
  6. Wait if you have had problems with your battery. If your car needed to be jump started or you replaced it, you should wait a bit before going in for the California car inspection for smog. This is more important for newer cars because losing power for any reason can impact the car’s computer system. The computer controls any internal devices that monitor your car’s emissions. When these are not functioning correctly, there is no way to pass an emissions test.
  7. If you have an older car, make sure the weather is good on the day you go for your inspection. Cars manufactured before 1999 are put on a dynamometer for the emissions inspection. When these older cars go in with wet tires, there can be issues on that device. When these tests are being conducted, you want to put as little strain on your car to give it the best chance possible of passing the inspection.

The process of going through a California car inspection for smog can be stressful. These tips are not meant to help you cheat the test but give your car the best chance possible to pass it. There are reasons California is so strict but these tips can take some of the stress out of the inspection process.