Car Registration: Failed Smog Inspection - What to do Next

March 5, 2012

A failed smog inspection doesn't always have to be resolved by costly repairs to renew your car registration. There are cheaper alternatives.

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Many states require smog inspection as part of the car registration process. People who fail smog tests, a procedure for measuring the pollutant emissions of an engine, are usually unsure about the next steps to take. Here's a simple guide on the available options to consider after failing a smog test. 

Get a Waiver

Check to see if you may be eligible to receive a waiver. The emissions test waiver was created to allow some vehicles to pass smog inspection even if they did not meet requirements. The reason is because not everyone is able to pay for the repairs necessary to pass an emissions test. In an effort to curb the costs of passing the test, credit is given for a fixed spending amount on repairs. An automatic pass is given to individuals who spend all their credit but still fail.

There are typically three type of waivers: cost, economic hardship, and functional diagnosis. The cost waiver indicates that you spent a substantial amount of money on repairs but still cannot meet requirements. The economic hardship indicates you have no other assets to pay for the repairs. The functional diagnosis waiver claims there are no other possible repairs to meet emission requirements. Waiver limits and qualifications vary by state. Find out if you are eligible to receive an emission test waiver from your local DMV.

Maintain Your Vehicle

There are multiple car parts you should focus on maintaining to improve your chances of passing the smog test. Change the spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter, PCV valve, and oil regularly. You should also check the the ignition timing and adjust the carburetor in your engine if you have an older vehicle. Try filling up your fuel tank with gasoline that contains 10 percent ethanol alcohol. This can help to lower your emissions. The temperature of your vehicle before the test is also important. The car should be at a normal temperature so that the oxygen sensor and catalytic converter can minimize emissions.  

A failed smog test should not discourage car owners from taking the necessary steps to pass. Follow this guide and you will be on your way to passing the next smog inspection

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