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Emmission Testing and Why Some CA Vehicles Fail

Smog Testing CA Emissions Inspections at Family Auto Service locations

Emission testing laws in CA have changed, below are the current guidelines according to the CA DMV.

Your vehicle does NOT need a smog inspection if it is:

Gasoline-powered vehicle 1975 year model or older (This includes motorcycles and trailers.)

Diesel-powered vehicle is a 1997 and older year model OR with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 14,000 pounds.

Powered by natural gas and weighs more than 14,000 pounds.

An electric vehicle.

Gasoline-powered and less than eight model years old.

If your vehicle DOES need to get tested, below are some of the reasons that some vehicles will often fail emission testing. We encourage you to bring your car to one of our 5 convenient Family Auto Service locations for an inspection.

Smog testing ensures that every registered vehicle meets certain basic requirements when it comes to vehicle emissions. This is in an effort to protect our environment and reduce the volume of greenhouse gases that we release into our atmosphere.

Failing an emissions test can definitely be a shock, especially if you thought your vehicle was running fine. There are certain reasons why your vehicle may fail emissions testing, and all will likely require a repair to fix. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons why vehicles failed emissions testing:

  • Your check engine light is on– no car will pass emissions with a check engine light on. Depending on the reason why the check engine light is on in the first place, you’ll need to have the underlying issue fixed and then have the OBD system reset.
  • Bad catalytic converter– the catalytic converter is essential to converting harmful gases into less harmful gases before they are released from your vehicle. If the catalytic converter is faulty, you won’t pass emissions testing and will need to replace it.
  • Faulty oxygen sensor– an oxygen sensor that isn’t working properly can cause the wrong air/fuel mixture to be injected into your engine, which will also prevent your car from passing emissions.
  • Dirty air filter – a dirty air filter can cause problems with filtering carbon monoxide, which can fail an emissions test.
  • Worn spark plugs– worn spark plugs can decrease your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and cause start-up issues.
  • Evidence of tampering– if there is evidence of tampering with the emissions system, this is an automatic smog test fail.

These are just some of the most common reasons for a vehicle to fail emissions testing. If you do fail an emissions test, we invite you to one of our convenient Family Auto Service locations for inspection and diagnostics. We can determine why you failed emissions and provide you with the repairs necessary to help you pass on your next testing.

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