Stuck In California’s Smog Check Hell

 

I am about to take my wife’s 2007 car in to get it smog checked.   For the second time in two days.  We have to do it or the State of California won’t let us renew our registration.

I took it to an “official” smog check station yesterday morning but was told it could not be smog checked because it would fail the test.  This was before the the technician even did the test.  He hooked it up to his state certified smog check computer, a red light came on, and he said he wouldn’t smog check it because it would fail.  He said “maybe if you drive it around for a while and bring it back it will pass.”  Huh?  That made no sense to me, so I drove over to the well respected auto repair shop that services our cars.  The shop’s manager, plugged the car into another computer, a machine which, he said, was far more sensitive than the computer at the smog check station.   He looked at the car.  The shop’s owner then came over for a consultation, and guess what?  They could find nothing wrong with my wife’s car.  “Sorry, but there’s nothing I can do for you,” the shop’s manager said.  The car is fine.  I agreed, being that it’s a relatively low mileage car that’s regularly maintained and runs beautifully.

So why couldn’t I pass a smog check for the State of California?  At this point things get really complicated, but the apparent problem is that the car’s onboard computer is stuck in the middle of some cycle or another.  But there’s nothing wrong with the car and it should pass a smog check with no problem, according  to the mechanic.

Frustrated, I called the state Bureau of Automotive Repair (the “BAR”).   After waiting on the phone for what felt like an hour but was probably 15 minutes or so, I finally reached one of their mechanics who told me smog check stations are given one exemption for the type of problem I was having (because there really is nothing wrong with the car) and that I should just keep going from one smog check station to another until I find one that’s willing to pronounce my wife’s car as roadworthy.  I asked him what logic there was in a program that would force me to drive from one smog check station to another when a mechanic had already told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with the car.  The BAR mechanic explained that the smog check system has been screwed down so tight in California, that some cars that were fine were being rejected.   However, the smog check stations were given exemptions for the type of computer code issue my wife’s car has, so that they could pass it.  If they wanted to.  But, if they pass too many cars with that particular type of exemption, it might eventually red flag the BAR, which might then threaten to pull their license for doing smog checks.  They did things this way, he said, because there are bad people out there who are re-setting something or another on older cars to defeat the system and some newer cars that are perfectly fine are getting caught up in the dragnet.   I might be able to fix the (non-existent) problem on my wife’s car by taking it out on the open road and driving it for a considerable distance at highway speeds he said, but not too fast and not too slow and you can’t step on the brakes and blah, blah, blah.  My head was now spinning.

I pressed him for an answer as to why the state’s smog check system is broken.  At about this point he got angry and loud.  I responded in kind, telling him I didn’t care for being treated in such a fashion.  The conversation deteriorated from there.  It’s possible we’d both already had a bad day prior to the conversation taking place.  I know I had.

And so here I am, without resolution in spite of the fact that I spent the day, yesterday, from around ten in the morning until four-thirty in the afternoon, trying to sort this out.  After an hour or so with a mechanic, who, I am convinced, is an automotive expert, I have concluded that there is nothing wrong with my wife’s car.  However, I must now take it to a second smog check station in the hope that a different technician will pass it for smog.  If not, I guess I’ll have to find a third smog check station and then maybe a fourth, or maybe I’ll try driving out to Malibu and back at highway speeds to re-set the onboard computer.  Of course I’ll have to do it without stepping on the brakes, apparently.  Here in L.A.?  Good luck with that.   It has to do with “clearing all the codes” so that the computer’s monitors send out a signal that everything is working as it should.  It’s all very confusing, and that alone, might not be enough.  To determine what should be enough, you can find instructions on “How to complete a basic drive cycle” on repairpal.com.  There are five steps to it and you have to let your car sit overnight in temperatures below 90 degrees, and so forth, and so on.  It’s way too complicated for a guy who just wants to get his car smog checked.  In any event, it appears that I’ll be forced to spend at least one more day dealing with this issue, as this second smog check station will require me to drop off my wife’s car and leave it there until they’ve had time to look at it.  So it may require a third day of inconvenience if I have to go back over tomorrow and pick it up.

You think there’s something about this I don’t understand?   That maybe I have no right to be a little peeved?  Let’s review-

I took the car to a smog check station.  The technician at the station refused to pass my car for smog.  I then took it to an auto repair shop where a qualified mechanic hooked it up to his computer and told me there is nothing wrong with the car.  I then called the BAR which told me to keep taking it to different smog check stations until I can find one that will pass the car.  Or I can try taking the car for a long drive without stepping on the brakes – which, according to repairpal.com, won’t be enough because in actuality I’ll have to go through a two-day “basic drive-cycle” process (which may or may not work) before taking the car back in for yet another smog check.

Keep in mind that this appears to have nothing whatsoever to do with the exhaust the car is producing and everything to do with the “drive cycle” registered in the onboard computer.   In other words, the exhaust can be just fine, the car can be within the legal limit for California, but it still will not pass muster on a smog check.

I have to wonder how many thousands of Californians and their mechanics, are being forced to go through exactly this same exercise, wasting time and money, burning gas unnecessarily, because the state’s smog check system doesn’t work.  It’s all very sad because generally speaking, the BAR does a very important job protecting California consumers.  They’ve helped me out big time with a couple of automotive issues I’ve had in the past.  I just wish they’d fix this smog check thing.   Maybe they could go back to measuring what’s coming out of the car’s tailpipe?  Or would that be too simple?  This is nuts.

Okay, the mechanic who now has the car just called.   He’s going to need to keep it for at least another day.  The problem is that he and a second mechanic will have to take the car through a series of speeds at various distances with all four wheels rolling while it’s attached to a portable monitor inside the car.  To do that, will require a considerable distance of open road with no other traffic.  How he is expected to accomplish that here in Los Angeles, I do not know.  I guess all he can do is try.

I really hope somebody from the DMV reads this, because no Californian should be forced to spend several hundred dollars on a smog check that takes four to five days for a car without any serious issues.  But that my friends, is what our state currently demands.

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CC:   Senator Alex Padilla, California State Senate, 20th State Senate District

CC:  Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, California State Assembly, 46th Assembly District

365 thoughts on “Stuck In California’s Smog Check Hell”

  1. No one in government gives a damn about us anymore. It’s all about the Yankee dollar baby.

    What a colossal load of horse crap!

    I’m sorry you had to deal with such nonsense Ron. But I’m glad you forwarded your experience to Padilla and Nazarian.

    They really need to do something about our crazy smog check system in Cali.

    1. Same here. 2000 trans am ws6. Heavily modified in Ohio. RCM completely re flashed. $3500 SO FAR spent on trying to get Ca smog legal. Now I’m told. Just drive drive drive

      1. My situation started 06/20/2014. Dutifully went for smog check. Was told my monitors were at two, must be at one. Drive the car. I did that. Every smog guy said the same thing. So I start calling DCA and BAR and check the law. My car can be tested and pass with two monitors showing, barring any other comps of course. So why are the smog guys saying it has to be at one?
        I’ll tell you why. if a smog station tested and passed a car of my age with two monitors showing even though the law said they could, the BAR would come back and ding their license and throw them out of the program. They call it a performance standard process. Consumers are not privy to this.
        Two higher ups with the BAR told me that they are doing away with this process as of 05/04/2015 because it was
        ‘bad for consumers’.
        They knew all along. I went without tags for 11 months.
        They knew all along that

        1. I don’t think that they have done away with it because my mom is going through the same process with her friends car and it is almost June 2015.

          1. Going through the same problem…this Is nuts nothing at all wrong with my car on my 3rd day with these issue. bought my own business obd I I scanner and monitors still off…I drove for 2 hours and nothing really starting to stress me out.

          2. Im sure its the Monitors. You will need to cycle all of your accessories at low speeds then at or above 60 mph.. This includes using your cruise control. electric defroster. AC in high and low settings, Heater in high and low settings. Even your wipers in some models. It really is a bunch a crap. I have had many nightmares of my own with smog Natizs.. Really there is nothing you can do … just jump through the hoops one at a time like good consumer until they tell you to stop…. (when you pass)
            then get ready to do it all again in 2 years when your car needs smog again…

          3. I am still fighting with higher ups at BAR. Girl in Browns office hung up on me.

            I contacted – Hilary Blackerby
            Off. of Assemblyman Das Williams
            805 564 1649
            hillary.blackerby@asm.ca.gov

            The more people calling the better.

            Also, on 05/04/2015, they changed the requirements for how many monitors can be showing. That doesn’t change how many people have been harmed by this since 2013.

          4. It’s now October 2015 and I’m gong through the same crap. I’ve replaced 2 hoses and driven all over. Went to the bay area and drove back and straight to get tested…failed for a 3rd time! I’m at a loss here….

          5. I’m going through this since May 2016 and it still doesn’t want to pass smog. I have called the referee and they just give me the run around. The smog stations also say there is nothing wrong with the car, that everything is fine and that it had a good strong engine, but it’s not communicating. I don’t know what to do. I’m still driving the car without tags, they’re paid up to date, I just cant get the tags.

        2. I just wanted to throw my hat in here because I also have entered this calif smog check hell. Gone 5 times now, yep, drive, drive. Driven now 586 miles! Seriously! Like I have nothing better to do?! Single Mom here by the way! So stressed out. Nothing wrong with my car. I was just getting ready to call the bar when I ran across this article. At least now I know the nature of the beast and someone needs to take it by the horns! Enough is enough for Gods sakes. Thx for letting me vent….

          1. Go to the referee station ad try to pass it there . Or if you have a Honda, take it to the dealer who can force monitor to be ready by using Honda bi-directional scanner

          2. On January 13, 2017, I went to get smogged. Had a dead battery 2 days prior and only drove my car less than 10 miles. All test taken passed with flying colors Exceot monitors. I have 4 monitors and all failed. Just drive your car 60 or so miles and bring it
            back. Which I did after 125 miles. 3 monitors reset
            One still has not reset. Drove it about 500 miles more took it back, still failed. Drove more, then told I’m DRIVING IT WRONG. Really ? I’ve driven my car since 2003! 286,609 miles worth. Kept all repairs On car. Checked again and still no monitor. I was told it’s close to passing. Drive some more. Waste of gas time and temper! At a loss what else can be done. All because a seatbelt caught in door causing dead battery. If your monitors don’t pass you’re in the loop. Even though all the other test made PASSED.

            but 1 still wasn’t

          3. same….meanwhile our car is overdue for registration and every smog check facility we go to tells us to “just drive” because it will reset the computer.

        3. I have the same problem. i bought an acura 2001 tl3.2 from a friend. when it was time for smog test the smog test station advised me that the smog test computer was unable to record the car’s mileage. Staff suggested that i must take it for a long drive so mileage can be recorded. I took the car to a mechanic and mechanic advised me there’s nothing wrong. So I went back to the smog test place & I decided to go with their suggestion to dry test the car, leaving the car overnight which i paid $220.00. i wonder if the dealer can do something about it.

          1. Dry test the car? Do you mean you paid for them to drive and/or reprogram your car’s computer? Please let me know if it worked because a smog check place referred me to a mechanic who can do this for me for $150, he said he needs the car for two days and will drive 80-90 miles. Thanks.

      2. I’ve taken my Jeep in 5 times already and the only response I get also is “just drive”. I’ve driven to the bay area and back…driven over 750 extra, nonsensical miles and still haven’t been able to pass.
        I’ve called BAR 4 times and been transfered around to various people with no resolution. Now I’ve been told I have to take it to a Jeep dealer for a diagnostic that STARTS at 140.00 but could go to whatever higher cost they deem “necessary”, I bet.
        I am fed up and frustrated.

          1. I’m having the same exact problem “not ready” it’s been 3 months of driving ranks of gas wasted and I have put 2600 miles on and they say keep driving BS

          2. Exactly the same situation over here-
            Drove the car at various speeds about 300 miles on Sunday–still won’t clear the O2 sensor code–
            This is dreadful and something needs to be changed!

          3. I have a 2000 Hyundai Elantra GLS and it also won’t pass smogg. They say the car is fine but it’s not reading the smog computer. I’ve taken it to 4 different places and it doesn’t read the machine. I have driven it all over so come Monday I will try for the 5th time and see what happens. I really can’t afford to spend money on a car that is completely in good running condition. Does any body out there have any advise in what to do. Running out of options.

        1. Buy and OBD II scan tool on-line for @ $45. Saves time/money going back n forth to test station because this will not end anytime soon. Then u can read the error codes if any and list any not ready monitors. PS all this mumbo-jumbo about drive cycles is like the Easter Bunny, often discussed, never seen. I’ve been trying to reset my secondary air monitor for 2 months. No error codes, just a computer that won’t reset no matter what!

          1. Your Electronic Control Unit is failing because the On Board Diagnostic system check feature as lost it’s DATA, and is not able to pass, because the E.C.U. needs to be replaced, with a brand new one, NOT a Remanufactured one. Chances are when it was installed the DATA, was deleted, or wasn’t properly programmed, or they gave you a defective E.C.U. The solution, by a brand new one from the Dealer and let a Certified Technician install it. And it will solve your problem. Now in 05/15 they knew they had a real problem, and now they’re giving everybody the runaround because they can’t come out and tell us, it’s the remanufacturing co that’s making the mistake, and so you’re forced to take it to a Dealer and pay full price, which will cost you $500.00, labor included, which should be paid by the B.A.R., that’s the way they’re set up in the first place for us low paying middle-class people like you and I. I’m a certified and Qualified Technician for over 40 years. I worked for a Dealership, I’m an Automotive Technician & brake & frontend Mechanic. There are no tricks of the trade, it’s Congress and Sacramento and the rest of the states in our nation. and the manufacturing plants as well. Us fixed income & retired people are feeling it more, we can’t work anymore, but still can drive, and we need to have Insurance as well. FIX THE PROBLEM, SACRAMENTO, and WASHINGTON D. C. YOU fixed everything else to break down, including Challenger, now you fix the human error, of the people you supposedly trained. Quite passing the buck.

          2. REPLACE THE COMPUTER LIKE I DID AND IT PASSED. NOTE: AS LONG AS THEY REPROGRAM IT PROPERLY AT THE REMANUFACTURING CO. BACK EAST, THEY GAVE ME A DEFECTIVE ONE, AND SENT ME ANOTHER ONE. PROBLEM SOLVED.

          3. Thank you for all your insight and sharing your knowledge – I’m going back to my Honda dealer after being told the 1st time I went for this problem ‘We don’t deal with that -you have to take it to a mechanic”. Really? Hope they do it this time Thanks again.

          4. Will not work. The on board computer needs to learn you car. I got into the same nightmare because i had to change the battery. Bty – my obd 2 reader is top notch.

          5. Did you ever get it to reset . Mine wont reset either . 1 month. 1000 miles . They say keep driving

          6. My secondary air monitor has not reset and its been 3 months! I’ve been trying to transfer titles. I messed up n bought a car and didn’t know they needed to smog it before. Now I cant get a hold of the seller ofcourse. I have expired tags but my registration is paid I just need to show proof of smog to get the title transfer. It’s been a nightmare . I have the obd 2 so I’m constantly checking it. What did u end up doing? Did it ever set?

        2. I had my Jeep back again today…3rd time, new catalytic converters to the tune of $1000. 3 days off work…And still does not pass. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my car. Have to drive it 200 miles with gas at $3.00 a gallon, this is BS.

      3. I bust replying to post not anyone particular comment but went thru same thing drive at 55 MPH exactly for ? 30 miles or so and check by there checking tool before smog it should b good

      1. WE are having the same issue with my Husbands 2002 xkr Jaguar. The bozo at the smog test place (its a big name so I dont want to mention it here but it starts with an “A”) Anyway, he gave us this long song and dance and told us the car wants to be driven and needs more information first! WTF!! The other guy there told us to check the web.. Drive cycles that dont make any scene and waste time and money. Maybe if we chew gum and stand on one foot the car will be ready. CA Needs to re think this stupid way of getting a car smogged!

    2. Amen ,Ca smog is crazy,I got approved from.CAP program smog check and repair said if you have a recall part you must fix that first,.I have a 2007 Forenza Suzuki nothing but problems won’t past smog don’t have money to make repairs will loose my job can’t get to drs apt store I am distraught why do they do this

    3. Mechanics are number one rip off in California I have a 92 Honda Civic I have replaced everything apart on the engine exhaust cat everything is new, have it smog failed for faulty wiring to fan sensor!Took it to another shop they said the timing is off needless to say I had the timing done by professional shop a week apart from Smog! I don’t think the timing changed in a week! I am fed up and I’m going to sue somebody! Why is it that all the smog mechanics are ex felons where is the true American mechanic is there such a thing ?I wonder if they do background checks on these people that are on welfare smoging my car? I don’t think they would pass a test !this is my son’s first car I bought it for $600 I am up to $3500 and I cannot drive it anywhere thanks California smog for ripping me off and making me feel like a criminal.

      1. don’t blsme the mechsnic!…I;m an A.S.E Triple Master Certified Tech(22 certs) and I have similar problems on my cars….drive cycles are a pain, but you must follow them EXACTLY. best with stopwatch….PROBLEM IS drive cycle instructions are NOT CONSISTANT OR ACCURATE!……IF,,,,,,you can get the correct instructions and have a unoccupied oval speedway or 30 miles of unubstructed driving with no other vehicles and a mild climate,etc…..the drive cycle reset becomes easy to accomplish!….LMAO……only other resort, VOTE a CERTIFIED tech Chief of Ca BAR & to rewrite the testing program?…theory its suppposed to be easier!, lol

    4. Any re-set of the check engine light or an off-battey will have to be driven like a half hour at 55-65 mph then sit for 15 min and then drive another 30 min at 55-65 mph speed to get the drive data back to the onboard computer. If not the smog technician will tell you the car is not ready. If it’s still not ready after that there like 5-6 items on a list which can cause it not to be ready.
      Still really stupid to get to all this. All a smog test should do is measure what co2 concentration goes out your tail pipe and that’s it. Who ever invented this CA smog system went way to far.

      D. Stahl

    5. Only hope is that in 10 years we all drive electric cars and all the employees riding the can DMV smog bar to the point of nonsense will get out of there because there are no more cars to be smogged while they are electric drive.

      1. Then they will tell us our Electrons in the battery are mis-shapen and need to be re-alighned,they will find another way to screw us.

      2. Once everyone has electric cars they’ll want everyone to conserve energy and take your cars into the old smog places that are electric check places to see if the electric motor in the car is being efficient (or not) and using electricity in-efficiently. The sniff pipe test should be the only test needed so as no to over pollute the air with foul engines.

      1. You are so right on. If Trump delivers 1/2 of what he promised during the campaign maybe we will have some relief. Wasnt he talking about canning the EPA? And Hillary wonders why 3000 or so counties out of 3121 went red. Her 3 million votes plurality looks like blue acne pimples on a teenagers face when you see a 2016 election map. Even New York State is all red. It is New York City that is blue.

        I spent 1000 dollars last time to get the check engine light off (until I hit a pump) so I could pass the d@mn smog test. How much will it cost this year. My 1998 Honda runs better than most new cars. Not buying a new one for no reason

    6. Yea, it would be great to have 100 dark rust colored summer days again when it is dangerous to go outside and breath again, or even see 2 blocks down the street,, Crazy smog check system and the damned environmental changes made to automobiles so we can breath air. Who the heck needs that!

      1. You clearly do NOT have sensitive sinuses and/or eyes and/or skin.

        We are far MORE polluted and toxic now than back then. What you describe is old-skool, large caliber diesel SOOT…which is:
        A) from diesels, mostly trucks and gennys not your average commuter
        B) currently “fought” on modern diesels, with a purely-for-compliance system that essentially shatters huge soot clumps into teensy NANO-soot…. which is in overly tiny pieces that arent measured for in federal and CA testing…but it is ALL STILL THERE, and being tiny more invasive than ever. It is reputed to be able to accumulate everywhere now, even INSIDE your tissues. Dirt ON skin out, dirt IN skin in. Greeeeat.

        ..if having trouble with concept, imagine a kid’s room littered with bags of Skittles on Halloween. Mom says “get those bags out of my sight” – kid solves the issue by tearing them all OPEN. No bags anywhere anymore, but all skittles still therem…no, make that more everywhere than ever. Humongous mess in the name of compliance: Achieved.

        C) Diesels do NOT get tailpipe-smogged in CA. Just inspected and codes read.

      2. “”Yea, it would be great to have 100 dark rust colored summer days again when it is dangerous to go outside and breath again, or even see 2 blocks down the street,, Crazy smog check system and the damned environmental changes made to automobiles so we can breath air. Who the heck needs that!””
        _________________________________________________________

        So you support forcing millions of people in CA to drive hundreds of thousands of miles in circles, in perfectly good cars simply because of a computer drive cycle that won’t allow them to take a smog test? I thought CA wanted us to drive less and avoid unnecessary driving, take the bus, et al. Yet they have thousands in CA driving aimlessly on the streets and freeways spending time, gas and money that many don’t have to spend. This is pure liberal bureaucratic insanity.

        1. You can be in support of the EPA but still think CA smog laws are wackadoodle. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Keep the environment laws that clean our air, but remove this ridiculous code reading nonsense. Pass or fail a car by what it’s producing out the tailpipes not because you didn’t drive 55mph with the heater on 80% and your radio at 15 while crossing your left hand. That’s what he meant

          1. Two years ago my 1998 BMW passed when I am quite positive it should not have (although I did have to take it to four different stations to get it to pass. Very expensive.) Now this year my car is in so much better condition – done almost $15,000 of work on it (yes that is correct) including new catalytic converter, two new O2 Sensors, new system that pumps the air into the fuel or whatever, new coils, spark plugs, etc. etc. etc. and now my car won’t pass smog. I was told the same stupid thing about drive it for 15 minuets below 35 mph then jump on the freeway and drive it for 20 to 30 minuets without going below 50 or above 65 and don’t step on the brake. Where in Calif do these idiots drive? Tulare? Still trying to get smog after another 3 months, more work and everytime I go to the smog check place they say it’s something else. My OBDII reader says nothing and I’m plugging directly into the car computer not the under dash. Get this the guy at the smog check didn’t even know that you could do that with an adapter. That’s how smart they are. I had to show him how to connect his reader (looks just like mine) into my adapter. brain surgeons.

    7. I went to a Chevy dealer in Southern California in Redlands to get my 2004 Silverado 2500 smog check. I passed everything but the EVAP system. You told me to take it through some drive cycles normal driving should probably do it and some uphill and downhill stuff and don’t hit the brake. I have spent about five hundred on gas close to 2,000 miles and still won’t pass the EVAP system. I have taken it back to the Chevy dealer at least a half a dozen times and ended up buying my own sensor from AutoZone and spent $150 on on that. No hope in sight. Mechanic inform me that the truck is just fine but again do those drive cycles.

      1. After 6 months of smog hell my 2001 gmc 1500 5.3 engine finally passed. Is it the secondary emission system not passing?. I replaced o2 sensors, check valves, and make sure your air pump is working. Go to the dealer and have them flash the updated program into the computer. Test only station had no idea chevy had a update for the ecu computer.the smog tech is a good friend of mine .thats how tight lip general motors is on releasing info to independent test only stations. Drive the truck for about 150 miles and go to the referee station. The bar knows these trucks wont pass even its running perfect. The referee should issue a waiver and pass your truck like he did to my truck.

    8. same here past the test . but not ready why don’t they just test , that what is coming out of the exhaust !

    9. This is crazy, crazy, my husband gives up, buying new car, just Junk old car, he drove over 500 miles, still won’t reset. Hmm not saving on gasoline or pollution with this nonsense.

    10. I am new to California. I am also in this Smog Testing cycle of no return. I have been fighting for three weeks to get my car registered in the state. I had an Oxygen sensor go out on my 2000 Toyota 4 Runner. The dash light came on. I took it to a quality repair shop and they fixed the sensor, but it reset the car’s computer and I have to drive at multiple speeds, with cycles of the air condition on and off, some speeds at 25 mph, some at 70 with proceeding stops on the side of the road with 2 and 10 minute idling times. This is crazy. I am sitting on the side of the interstate idling my car in cycles and trying to find ways to get safely back up to speed, all while I see a monster truck just fly past me, with smoke blowing out of his tail pipe. I am on my 200th mile driving going through the drive cycles suggested for my car. Not sure if I can get this resolved or not, but I have burnt almost a whole tank of fuel, trying to reset this computer, which is wasting energy resources and adding unnecessary exhaust in the atmosphere, defeating the whole purpose of having cleaner air in Southern California. This is regulation gone wildly wrong. Believe me, I want to to be healthy. I want the air I breath to be clean. I just don’t think this is the intent of the regulation. It is causing more congestion on the roads. I can see there are many others going through this, just like me. It is burning more fuel, so wasting natural resources for no reason. It is also very, very unsafe. To do these drive cycles I have to drive slower than traffic, I have to pull off the side of the road and idle the car, then re-merge into traffic. Please someone do something about this legislation.

      1. Steve, i feel for you, my car passed the emissions test, but failed theOBD2. 2 monitors evap and cat, so here am driving every day to reset the Monitors . So far no luck, I am so angry to think I have to try to do this in Ca. Our freeways are way to busy to try to drive 55@60 for an steady pace. However! We are not alone…But this is crazy…I passed the emissions, but can’t get tags do to OBD 2 Crap. BTW, nothing wrong with my car, just drive,drive and more drive…..

        1. Same thing.passed emissions 2 monitors won’t reset. Did all the right drive cycles. I have driven 20000 miles yes 20000 miles.paid for registration and eventually got pulled over by chp. Showed him my paid registration and my failed smog test.showed him my moving permit from DMV. I hadn’t signed it so he gave me a no registration ticket unfixable and took my car. I had to pay 300 dollars to the tow company for a 3 mile police tow and they wanted to charge another 100 for storage at the tow facility even though I went back to get it 2 hours later.
          Chp left me at the side of the road.

    11. Can’t believe California is doing this to so many people! I had a deal to sell my ’04 Honda Accord EX tomorrow for $3900. Then I discovered I couldn’t smog it because they can’t read the data. All the other stuff passed, but the computer is stuck or whatever. It’s just worth scrap now. HOWEVER, CarMax which only does a minimal car check, offered my $2000, and they’ll take care of smogging it (if they can), so I still get half the value out of it, but the state has nicked me for $1900, and my low emissions vehicle could end up in the junkyard. Go figure!

    12. Same thing wow great article I bought the code device cheep now I’m trying to get the last bit so it will test by driving 100 miles

  2. So, I already knew my truck had a check engine light on and that I would not pass a smog check. So I tried to fix it. I consulted my usual mechanic, who read the code. A sensor that detects engine knock was actuated. Since the engine seemed to be running pretty well, we suspected that one of the knock sensors was old and grumpy. Eventually we replaced both sensors, then the wire connectors attached to them. I did some of the work, so it ran to just about $500. The light stayed on. I called the Bureau of Automotive Repair and was told that to get a waiver and get tags for the truck (which fee I had already paid) I would have to fail a smog check, pay $600 to a certified smog mechanic to try to fix it, and save my receipts. The money I had already paid did not count, since those receipts predated the failed smog check. (Sigh) He said its kind of a Catch 22, isn’t it?
    Once again, it likely has very little to do with emissions. And yes, I have already got my first ticket for no current tags.

  3. Did you ever get your smog test’s resolved?
    I’m a smog tech in Corte Madera Ca. and I encounter this everyday.
    Feel free to email me if you have any questions or just want to discuss the issue from a technicians perspective.
    If you would like to know how shop owners and technicians feel about this new STAR program you can read first hand the stories of technicians and shop owners losing their business and licenses over this new programs grading system which began in Jan 2012
    Technicians gather at this site and discuss these topics.
    Feel free to read some of the threads. You might find it interesting.
    I can tell you first hand technicians and owners are on pins and needles over this.
    You really want a story?
    Learn about how the state of California’s Bureau of Automotive repair bilks thousands of dollars every year from this little smog shops running shady undercover cars with hidden things disconnected to “catch” the technicians and shop owners doing “faulty inspections”.
    Then bilking thousands of dollars of fines from them, dragging them before courts and administrative hearing, I’m sure its unconstitutional but many of the techs and shop owners are’t that sophisticated and basically roll over when faced with the courts and with hearings etc.
    Feel free to email me anytime.
    Maybe you or someone else can do some more reporting on this.
    The website for a lot of good info on this is:
    http://www.stopthestarprogram.com
    visit the forum, it’s pretty active.

    1. I’m having issue getting a car smogged that I just purchased for my daughter who can’t afford to pay anything for repairs on a car that is fine!!! Took to two mechanics there is nothing wrong with the car just can’t pass smog test. What can I do????

      1. You need a smog tech not a mechanic to look at your car , they will have the tools and training to properly diagnose and repair your car. Also California Law requires the seller to provide a smog certificate when selling a car. You could return the car or sue the seller, but never ever buy a car without a smog.

    2. I am another caught in this ridiculous hell. I have a 1996 car that has 97k miles. The battery died and was replaced….the “computer”, the one that they tell us when to do maintenance….I think it tells the car when to break down and cost the owner……won’t re set. So I cannot register the car because the computer refuses to “see” the components that will pass this absurd smog test. I have been told to drive the car, start cold…now it’s been over 300 miles, two weeks and it won’t pass this awful smog test because of the computer.

      1. Have a smog tech look at mode 6 in your cars computer if they don’t know what your talking about go to someone who knows that mode 6 tells you about the operating parameters of every sensor on your car, and if something is close to failing sometimes it wont let any more monitors set.

    3. I can’t pass my smog check because the computer cant, read it either!!!! They told me to drive it 300 miles without tags so it could be read well I drove it 400 hundred miles and the smog place still can’t read it went to 3 different places, I had been pulled over with fix it ticket and no one cares, there is a serious issue here!!! What is left to do????? Please don’t say keep taking it to another smog place or driving it more is there a specialist in the sf valley or LA that can fix my issue I can’t live like this when my car has nothing wrong with it but won’t pass a smog check cause their computer can’t read it cause of codes saying it’s not ready. Please help it Feb 24, 2015 and I have been dealing with this for 6 weeks. I can’t afford a new car and I already fixed my car by paying $600 to remove & fix the light saying engine issue. Help please!!!!!

    4. Hi Mike, I too am one of the many CA drivers in Smog CK failure HELL.. I am 11 mos. past due reg tags I paid for but can’t pass smog due to ck engine light on and off again. The OBD Fault code is P0171 – System too Lean(bank1). The tech told me this could be any number of things and I’ve already spent $3,000 trying to pass. I got a “fix it” ticket and can’t even see a BAR referee with the light on. How do I find out what exactly needs to be done? I am a single Mom who can’t afford this. Suggestions?

      1. Clean your mass air flow sensor! Get some electronics cleaner at the parts store, take out the sensor that plugs into the air tube right behind the air filter. Spray the cleaner onto the little resin bulb, and on the two tiny exposed wires. They are different on different makes and some are harder to get to, but this is your problem. Replace the air filter at the same time with a new paper filter. Avoid K&N filters they exacerbate the problem. in my experience, o2 sensors and cat converters are usually the last thing to go. I’ve had to clean my sensors a dozen times in 275k miles, and ever time it fixes it.

        1. Do I need to reset computer/disconnect battery after cleaning MAF & installing new air filter? My Honda Pilot ’06 has only abot 76k miles, never had any problems, always do maintainence on time. This is just so ridiculous.

      2. Hello I have the same problem with my mazda 3.. first thing to change is oxigen sensor…but dont buy it from auto parts store..(to expensive) get it online more cheap..that should fix u check engine light.

      3. My mechanic asked if i use Arco gas, i said how did you know. Okay to be honest i gomto AMP. Then realized Arco..hahaha He said it’s the gas not your car making your car read too lean. My mechanic told me to go to chevron fill up and he turned off the check engine lite. Then he said drive 30 miles and go to test only smog test to smog it…the one I HAVE to go to for my 1995 ford windstar. I only get chevron gas now and runs so much better! Hope this helps you! My mechanic is awesome with women..no cheater! My air conditioning wasn’t working ford wanted 60 dollars (10 or so years ago)an hour to fix it. 2 HOT summers, I went to him and he looked brought out a part replaced my old part and said it will be 12 dollars. I sweated 2 yesrs for 2 summers, he won my business. Same part about every 3 years for some reason. I send lots of people there to fix their cars. He is on chatsworth st about a half a block from Sepulveda if traveling East just after bridge..first stall. I have memory problems..I can’t remember the name. But it is a man’s name. I deal with the owner..name also escapes me..sorry. I will remember once I hit enter : ( good luck!

    5. I bought a 2001 Chevy Cavalier from a CA state auction and the car runs great! Unfortunately, 3 of the monitors will not set. I have driven it over 2000 miles since I failed smog many of which have been performing the “drive cycle” for this vehicle. Still the monitors won’t set. Is there a chance that the monitors themselves are broken? I’ve been pulled over twice for no plates, but I have DMV 1-day permits to drive the car. This is making me crazy!

    6. 98 Ford Explorer won’t pass smog. Have driven it hundreds of miles in all sorts of recommended conditions, but the tester still shows 3 monitors that need resetting (EGR, Evap and Cat), but they won’t reset. Called a Ford dealer and they said the car is too old and they can’t diagnose it. 17 years is too old? Wtf? So don’t plan on buying a Ford if you plan on keeping it for 17+ years…

      We’ve gotten two tickets already because can’t register the car because it won’t pass smog…

      Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      1. Even if the car is 17 years fords and all other obd II systems should pick up some type of issue. Anything below the year 96 cant be read because there is no obd

    7. About the smartest thing I have read on this page, just as I was about to stop reading too. Only takes someone with patience to explain the problem.

    8. Where is your Smog shop? Do you have a contact number? I live in Fontana, Ca and we’ve taken my car to a smog shop here and they told us that the car’s ECU is not reading it also

    9. Im having this issue now with my 03 porsche 996 c4s. Have put about 1000 miles on odometer,mback to smog shop 4 times- each time they say ecu all reset except cat. Keep driving it… Will it magi ally reset the cat eventually. Im about to run out of time to get reg renewed. Frank 916 588-8345

    10. I recently bought a car from a private seller and it won’t pass smog, so I can’t switch the title into my name, and register it. Now the tags are expired and I can’t legally drive it. I am lost I’ve never had to deal with emissions before and had no idea it would be this difficult. At this point I would give it away so I won’t have to deal with it anymore but the title isn’t in my name, and it won’t pass smog so I can’t even legally sell it. I’m so frustrated with the semantics of it all I just need a way out. Thanks in advance for any help you can think of.

    11. Mike, what is your email address. I have some questions regarding 1997 Nissan Maxima. 6/13/2017. My AC is not working, I think it needs Freon. Also I need shocks

  4. until we vote the people in Sacramento out of office this is the government we deserve and mark my words(its only going to get worse.) the only real winning move is to move out of California, which is exactly what im in the process of doing.

    1. Or maybe the manufacturers, in my case toyota, have more realistic parameters for these absurd drive tests to clear. 40 mph for 10 minutes without stopping or slowing down…yeah right.

      1. Highway 39 / Beach Blvd / 4:00 Am – 4:10 AM

        PCH, right lane, hazard lights in higher speed stretches – nights and mornings, plenty of places (Seal Beach to Huntington Beach; Newport to Laguna; etc)

  5. I used to work in the smog check bussines and its a bad system I’ve seen people in tears because they dont have money for the rent ,because they have to pay to try to fix their car and they cant ,there is a lot of corruption ,people screwing people ,the government should take control just like they do with the post office or the public library and do more to educate the public so they know how not to get robbed.

    1. Please please help i am in tears with this smog chech issue. I live in Van Nuys and no one can fix this issue. I can’t pass my smog check because the computer cant, read it either!!!! They told me to drive it 300 miles without tags so it could be read well I drove it 400 hundred miles and the smog place still can’t read it went to 3 different places, I had been pulled over with fix it ticket and no one cares, there is a serious issue here!!! What is left to do????? Please don’t say keep taking it to another smog place or driving it more is there a specialist in the sf valley or LA that can fix my issue I can’t live like this when my car has nothing wrong with it but won’t pass a smog check cause their computer can’t read it cause of codes saying it’s not ready. Please help it Feb 24, 2015 and I have been dealing with this for 6 weeks. I can’t afford a new car and I already fixed my car by paying $600 to remove & fix the light saying engine issue. Help please!!!!! Ahachsah@gmail.com

      1. In every automobiles manual there is a page detailing the sequence that you have to drive to reset the parameters in the ecu to reach the ready state. I am completely opposed to smog checks of any kind.

        1. My 2007 Subaru manual has nothing regarding the sequence that you have to drive to reset the parameters in the ECU to reach the ready state..the guy at the dealership where I purchased the Subaru stated drive non-stop for 50 to 100 miles…impossible on the freeways in Ca… don’t turn off the key and drive it back to the smog shack with the engine running and have him check it again…it was the third smog check and it finally passed!

        2. Thank you. I hope this will help with some, from my Honda manual it indicates that:
          Make sure the gas tank is nearly but not completely full, around 3/4.
          Make sure the vehicle has been parked with the engine off for 8 hours or more.
          Make sure the ambient temperature is between 20-95 degree F
          Without touching the accelerator pedal, start the engine and let it idle for 20 seconds.
          Keep the vehicle in “Park” position. Increase the engine speed to 2,000 rpm, and hold it there until the temperature gauge rises to at least 1/4 of the scale, approximately 3minutes.
          Select a nearby lightly traveled major highway where you can maintain a speed of 50 to 60 mph for at least 20 minutes. Drive on the highway in D4. Do not use the cruise control. When traffic allows, drive for 90 seconds without moving the accelerator pedal. If you can not do this for a continuous 90 seconds because of traffic conditions, drive for at least 30 seconds, then repeat it two more times for a total of 90 seconds.
          Then drive in city traffic for at least 10 minutes. When traffic conditions allow, let the vehicle coast for several seconds without using the accelerator pedal or the brake pedal.

          I agree with most of you, what a bunch of crap…but you are going to do what you have to ……

      2. Hi! I’m also from SFV & been experiencing the same. I only have 1 week left to pass the smog test. I’ve been back & forth 4 times already with the Smog station after driving for more than 400 miles in the fwy. How did u resolve the issue? I’m getting frustrated & stressed out with this issue for a month now. Thanks.

    2. When it started, smog checks were run by the State, and were free. The changes made to automobiles have dramatically improved the air in California so we all can breath. The requirements for vehicles are necessary and valid. Perhaps it is the free market capitalist model of businesses earning profit that has made the mess we have now. If you want change, don’t take away smog requirements. Include it in Government programs like it was when it worked. End Smog Check Businesses and go back to California Certification.

      1. Government, the cause of and solution to all mans problems.
        I parked my 2001 mustang in 2008 with 38800 miles. Of course I removed the gas/oil and battery when stored. It been a month and the Evap and Catalyst aren’t still ready. WTF. Now Im forced to drive a vehicle with 08 tags. Thank Cali, can’t wait to move out.

  6. I know this is an old thread, but… Neither your mechanic, the smog technician or the DMV guy gave you the full story. Today’s cars have a sophisticated system to continuously monitor the emissions system, the OBD (On Board Diagnostics). When something is out of spec, it is detected, and after a certain interval, the “check engine” light illuminates. A code is stored in the computer, so the mechanic can know the general nature of the problem. The mechanic can reset the OBD, erasing the codes (and turning off the light), but if he does not fix the problem, they will come back. Also, still stored in the computer are are test readiness monitors which can’t be erased, which are essentially records of past problems for which the vehicle’s monitoring system has not yet been able to verify as being corrected by running it’s check routine. This routine can involve very specific parameters being met before it will run the check. As an example on my 2001 Porsche, if the system has detected a leak in the evaporative system which contains the fuel tank vapors (this could include a leaky cap or running the car with the fuel cap off), it will not run the check test unless the fuel tank is between 1/4 and 3/4 full (among a number of other required conditions). So if you have a fault, it’s corrected, but if you anally keep you tank above 3/4 full, the test will never run, and a year later the smog technician will see an un-reset monitor. In California, smog techs are allowed to run a test if two test readiness monitors are present on pre-2001 vehicles, and one on 2001-up vehicles. They have no “quota” on how many they can pass with this condition. This is detailed on the DMV Smog website. It worth noting that the existence of a readiness monitor can also mean that a problem still exists after attempted repair, but that not enough failed cycles have elapsed to re-trigger the “check engine” light.

    1. My check engine light never came on. Driven hundreds of miles to “reset”. Nothing. I’m literally tearing up out of frustration. There’s nothing wrong with my car, but they won’t pass it. WTF is someone supposed to do? I don’t have unlimited funds to keep checking, testing, checking, testing…with no positive result.
      This is a load of BS. Someone is making a boatload of money on this crap.

  7. I completely agree with you man. I have a 2001 Lincoln Town car which i just recently bought from an auction. I took it to the DMV to get registered and they said I needed to get it smogged. It’s been two months of going and coming back to the check station all because the STUPID mechanic didn’t know what he was doing. I just recently fixed the car, some thing to do wit the EGR system. I took it to the smog check station and it’s NOT READY. The guy I took it to previously never checked it to see if it was ready or not. I hope to finally pass this test and end this nightmare.

  8. Ron Olson, you sound like some moron who’s never gotten their hands dirty. Do a full reset (doubt you would know how) and then run the vehicle for a few days in both Highway and city conditions. All the monitors should turn on and pass without any problems. If you own a car, you should know how to keep it running in good condition (I don’t just mean changing the oil and filing up the gas tank). It’s not the state’s fault that you think just because your car is drivable it’s smog check ready.

    1. Your comment is condescending. I can tell you that I have the exact same problem as the author. And I get my hands dirty all the time. But I’m not a software engineer. I have driven my car over 250 miles in all sorts of conditions, and one test in the OBD computer just wont reset.

    2. James UR a stupid man. People learn from an early age to respect and help other people solve problems. Seems your world revolves around cosmic stupid…..pity you…and all those on your planet…..

      1. James you got it right just because someone thinks there car runs great doesn’t make it so. I have seen cars come into the shop and cant get to 15mph on the dyno when smoging them and the owner tells me there is no problem with there car I just dont know how to test it!! How can you think nothing is wrong when it cant go over 15mph. The problem is people are not responsible. Here in Elk Grove CA 85-90% of the cars and trucks pass, So most of the car owners got it figured out. maintain your car and it will pass smog. But 5% are whiners that need somebody else to take the fall for what is there responsibility.

      2. Yes, James and mark are not only rude but programmed statist by the sound of their diatribe.
        Californians need to crush these ridiculous people whom cost us this money unnecessarily, or even attempt to make it hard on us for any reason; this is not their proper roll. How dare these corrupt ideological confabs cost us jobs, money, time or anything else we don’t like!

    3. talk about being moronic! Did you even bother to read the story? Go back and this time try to activate your reading comprehension skills. He covered how thoroughly he had the vehicle looked at by multiple shops (not just his personal knowledge and history of the car). What was the purpose of your comment as i do not see it helping to resolve real problems at all…

    4. James, you must work for the state with a reply like that.
      Or at the Post Office. It is not as simple as clearing codes/monitors and driving down the highway. I’ve had the same issue with a BMW and have worked with a professional Smog Tech and professional BMW technicians as well. These guys know what they are doing and work on car every single day. However without disassembling the entire Evap system and the replacing every single sensor plus the ECU we will not find the issue with the car not clearing the monitor. Oh, the car runs perfect and everything works save for the one evap monitor not clearing. No fault codes have ever been present on my car. The last tail pipe smog test showed a well tuned and very, very clean emissions. We went one further, we ran the BMW on a chassis dyno for the drive test and were able to run the exact speeds and time frame as required without touching the brake pedal.
      If you are so smart and such an expert why don’t you make a killing curing everyones issues on this blog. Obviously a genius like you who knows how to get his hands dirty you could make a fortune assisting those of a lessor mental capacity. Or you’re just another government troll waiting to slip on a banana at work so you can retire with a disability check AND a pension.

    5. This is one B.S. answer… Having the same problems with my 2007 Jeep , new stock exhaust, dealer reset the sensors and now they never clear…. SPENT OVER 2000 now and nothing… No matter how I tried to drive (following advice from dealer and online ) the damn codes are not clearing. Just because it has not happened to you doesn’t make it something that doesn’t exists. Unbelievable ..

  9. If Ron had just posted type of vehicle, smog techs like me could probably throw out what might be wrong based on what monitor was incomplete. But…that monitor didn’t get incomplete on its own…someone reset it or disconnected the battery. If it never runs, that just means there’s a problem that there’s no code for…or it’s an oddball car or driver created a situation where enable criteria are not being satisfied. I’ll never forget the customer I told to drive down the freeway for 15-20 minutes at a steady 55-65 who told me, “I NEVER drive the freeway…it’s too scary!”

  10. Hey, James, ad hominem attacks are childish and will get you no where. If you are as smart as you think you are, you should know that.

    Not all vehicle owners know how an engine works nor even begin to understand how the vehicles computer works, nor do they need to know. If they did they wouldn’t need mechanics. If you were as smart as you think you are, you would know that, too.

    In addition, there seem to be plenty of smog techs on this blog (and elsewhere) who say there are problems with the the state’s smog check system.

  11. @James @ John…James’ attitude is typical of what you find in many who consider themselves auto experts…dismissive and condescending without offering any real information or insight. Now…my ad hominem attack…James, given your narrow-minded, mean-spirited, and self-righteous attitude, if you’re not already, you should definitely consider becoming a smog mechanic…you definitely have the intelligence and temperament for it…but I doubt much else.

  12. I have a BARD Civic 1993, no engine lights, no smoke, just passed smog easy 2 years ago, I go to get a smog last week and now I’m a gross poluter. Get real Cali, because I’ve followed all the rules and it still sucks. The smog cost me $70.00 and probably another $300.00 for some B.S. Oh and on top of that my engine is rebuilt out of bay with 8k miles, and I have ALL smog devices needed in Cali. I think for every electric car sold, the state should have a lottery which basically let’s you do what ever you want with your car if you get picked from the lottery.

    I’m in the midst of selling my Civic to buy another pre-75 Datsun 510 so Cali can go suck it.

  13. I agree with you Russ and John, I’m at present going through hell with a smog problem on my car (’05 vette) I have the check engine light on, it was not on when I brought the car in, but I noticed the mechanic had a hard time hooking up his machine to my OBD port, it kept falling out so he starts using some card stock to I guess hold in place and then he goes on with the test and tells me when he was done that the light just came on. I looked at the print out and it says I passed the sniff part (tailpipe) but I had an OBD failure. I’m going to do a tune up and maybe get a scan machine and see if I can do this myself. Any of you guys know what I should do?

  14. This just happened to me as well and it was extremely frustrating. I took my 2010 TDI for a smog check and the smog check station couldnt certify it because the onboard sensors were not reset correctly. Of course I ended up paying $50 for the failed test with the promise that if I fixed the issue, they could re-do the test for free. They told me the usual, “Drive around for 30 mins between 45mph-65 mph without braking” or take to the dealership and have them fix the car. Since I am in SF where I would need to drive at 1.00am to meet those driving guideline, I took it to the dealership. The dealership could find nothing wrong with the car, reset the codes and said it should pass the smog check. Wrong, it failed again. I now tried the crazy driving routine, and finally managed to do it. Took it back for a smog check, failed again. Now I am getting pissed. I took it back to the dealership who again ran the test, found nothing wrong, and reset the codes again. I asked the dealership if they could do the smog check and pass it, and they said yes, but I would have to shell out $50 again. They were convinced that the original smog check station should not find anything wrong with the car and pass it, thereby saving me $50. Wrong again, another failed test. I finally took it to the dealership, paid an extra $50 and got the smog check done and renewed my registration. I plan to the call the BAR referee today and put in a complaint, but doubt if it will help. I also plan to call my local congress representative and ask why the state feels compelled to put citizens thorough this charade. I am a big supporter of clean air initiatives, and while I think smog checks are important, the state seems to be too incompetent to run it.

    1. Stop reseting the monitors! That’s why you keep failing! They autofail people like that, because it looks identical to someone who HAS a problem and is reseting the monitors maliciously to hide the problem. There’s no way to tell the difference, so they have to fail you, or everyone who actually had a problem would just go down to their local auto zone, borrow a scantool and clear the codes right before they went in.

      1. Ok smartee pants.
        You reset the monitors after the problem has been fixed, drive it for 2,000 miles in open road and California traffic over 3 weeks and “systems not ready” on 3 circuits. So you can’t pass. Any ideas??

        1. “Monitors” are not “Codes”. Codes are a status. Monitors are periodically assessed self tests. If the computer performs a test the fact that the test has been given is recorded. The test “fails”, then a code is thrown. If no test has been given, then the lack of recording will be seen as test not given. i.e. monitor not ready, monitor not set etc.. CA wants a certain number of tests given before smogging the car.

          If you want to have a good chance to figure this out, you need to know which monitors aren’t showing as having been given. Not all cars have the same monitors. Not all cars are even capable of certain monitors. Here are some that pretty much all cars have and can pass:

          1. Battery disconnect. The battery has been disconnected within the last 12 heat cycles. Solution, get 13 heat cycles from last battery disconnect. How to do that is slightly different for each car, but is usually start cold, get hot, spend a certain amount of time hot, then get cold again. Driving to and from work is good for this. Just watch out for lunch. Drive at lunch and it might not get cold enough.
          2. EGR test. This test is usually performed at light load, mid rpm when the engine is warmed up. Drive a steady state on the freeway is the best to get this one.
          3. PCV test. Test is performed differently for different cars. Just make sure it was warmed up and try lots of things.

          After that it tends to get plain weird. Things like
          Air Conditioning load increase test, Cruise control test, torque converter lockup test and god only knows what.

          In case your wondering, the reason why I got to figure all of this out was because of an old girlfriend who couldn’t pass smog and asked to me to look into it. There were 3 monitors that she couldn’t get set – yup, the last 3 above. She didn’t have AC or cruise control (and never did) and she had a manual transmission. Oh yeah, good job CA. The smog tech gave her an exemption.

    2. I just had same problem about a week ago, so your sure that the dealership smog test will pass it after they do a reset on of the OBD??

  15. went to get car smoged. 1990 acura legend. Failed miserably complete gross polluter. Went back home head tucked low. Changed out all O2 sensors changed out PCV valve, new plugs and wires. Cleaned out distributor and loose wires. Removed my old cat bought a new cat online drilled out new flanges for the cat, welded them on myself. went back to the smog shop. Car passed emissions with flying colors. Smog tech said your car still fails. The engine light fails to come on at all. and your timing is off. Well i take the car back home check timing ……Timing looks great. 15 deg before TDC at idle.. I wack on the dashboard and the check engine comes on again. Now the check engine works it comes on and self checks with ignition on.. take it back to the smog guy.. Argue that the car works great i just freaking changed everything on it.. you can basically drink out of the tail pipe according to the numbers. I show him that the check engine light now works as im smashing on my instrument cluster haha.. finally the light comes on and goes back off .. i have to smack on the dash just as im turning the ignition key to the on position….. so basically he let me slide on the check engine light.. which actually works when you hit the dash just right.. but he told me that really you would fail for that.. so thats awesome for him to do that for me…. And he also said that i was right about the timing on the acura legend being 15 deg before TDC. he was saying it had a jumper .. but there is NO jumper on that car .. its computer controlled to 15 TDC at idle… so then he goes on to say that the silicone i put on the intake manifold would cause a FAIL… but he would let it slide.. WTFF i cant find a 1990 intake manifold to save my life.. so what if i siliconed the crack in the intak… it DOES not leak.. this state has gone to SHI* i mean.. my car does not pollute … and yet its this freaking difficult to pass a smog test ? So basically he stuck his head out and passed me.. BUT what the hell the car actually does NOT pollute in the slightest.. why are the tests so fouled up to find things that have NOTHING to do with smog…. they basically want to ban all cars from driving here…. i think pretty soon were all goingto be driving PRE smog 1970’s cars all over again… but wait.. im sure they will find a way to ban those too.. if they have not already… sorry for the banter.. but cali smog rules are IDIOTIC …..meanwhile…..you see giant trucks shooting out plumes of smoke as they pass me on the highway………CALI get your crap together……………

    (This comment was not written by Ron Olsen, the author of this blog. It was written by another “Ron.”)

    1. AHAHAHAHA!!OMG. Never knew getting a smog check can be that hellish and that funny.

      Just wondering, if the “Maintenance Light” is on and you’ve just replaced the car battery; will that car pass a smog check? The car has NEVER failed a smog check before and it’s a 2002 civic..

  16. Well after reading all the comments and searching to find help I found out many people have the same problem ! Now I decided to comment too ! I have an Audi A4 2000 and I live in Riverside . I read all the comments in here as well as other sites ! So far I couldn’t find s real solution ! However, there are more individual who are in same situation and do not know much about this type of problem.

  17. Bottom line check the exhaust at the end of the tail pipe and that should be it . Period make it reasonable how much contaminations gets out and make it fair.

  18. I had my 2005 Cadillac serviced at the dealership. My catalytic converter had to be replaced in order to pass the smog test and register my car. I’m currently waiting on the smog pass to get my sticker and legally drive the car. I put over 100 miles on my car and my system is still not ready to be checked. Just keep being told to drive it more. Im so frustrated with this system. I headed over to to the DMV to get a temp pass but they only have 2 1 day passes. Which took 2 hours to get. I’m on day 5 of trying to get the smog done. I tried to set up an appoitment on line so I wouldnt wait in line, and soonest one was May 13th! My head is spinning from the hoops Im jumping thru to get this damn smog done!

  19. By reading all these comments I see every one feels the same way about are smog check requirements which is bs I have a2004 Cadillac my emissions pass a 100% but my check engine light is on for a dirty sender and faild my test not for polutions but for a stupid lame ass senser bull shit wasting money driving around trying to fix the light problum

  20. As every one before me has stated, This smog crap is a bunch of bullshit! I go to the smog shop and the tech says you still have 2 drive cycles to go through so that the vehicle is READY? What am I suppose to do drive to Washington DC . Gas is over 4.00 dollars a gallon! He did do a pre-test for free and guess what he said the emissions from the tail pipe were that of a new car, my vehicle is 14 years old. I thought smog check ment reducing emission levels. who gives a rats ass about the readiness of your on board computer and remember the state of California is plugged into your on board computer it may be down loading information to fail your vehicle! So it wont pass Do you think Sacramento is HONEST to the people of California? HELL NO!! Whats the next thing they will do FAIL you because your wind shield wiper blade is worn?Or your paint is starting to fade! Come on people this smog problem has nothing to do with reducing smog its how much money can they can dig out of us all!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Amen! You got it spot on. I have been through this hell in 2014 over 6 weeks of repairs and three smog shops later and $1,000 and now I’m up for another smog and the CEL is on again. It goes off and on yet the VW Beetle drives just fine. This OBD readiness is crap. The air quality is better than ever in CA now with our Premium “winter blend and summer blend” and this is all a racket. I won’t go through this again every two years after mechanics charge hundreds to fix things that ARE WORKING to being with. Time to move out of CA.

      1. I’m going through this hell now with a 2007 VW Beetle, since October 2015…It’s April 2016…..I’ve paid my registration and fees but can’t get my tags. Smog place keeps telling me I need to drive more, more more……..I’m so frustrated!!!

  21. BELIEVE ME, YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE PEEVED. CALIF. SMOG SUCKS. PERIOD. I WAS ACTUALLY EVENTUALLY FORCED TO SELL MY PERFECTLY GOOD RELIABLE, DEPENDABLE, ECONOMIC CAR TO THE STATE FOR SALVAGE ALL BECAUSE THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT WOULD’NT GO OFF. ALTHOUGH THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY CAR. SAME KIND OF COMPUTER TYPE ISSUE. BUT THEY WONT SMOG IF THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON.SO, THE TAGS EXPIRED DUE TO NOT BEING ABLE TO SMOG. COULDNT DRIVE THE DAMN VEHICLE WITH EXPIRED TAGS, BASICALLY, I COULDNT GO LEFT AND I COULDNT GO RIGHT. NO MORE MONEY TO PUT INTO THE ISSUE, I WOUND UP SELLING IT TO THE JUNKYARD, MY PERFECTLY GOOD CAR. BUT HAD TO HAVE A VEHICLE. STATE GAVE ME $1’000 FOR IT, WHICH WAS NOT ENOUGH TO EVEN BUY ANOTHER CAR THAT WAS ANYWHERE NEAR AS GOOD OF A CAR AS THE ONE I HAD TO JUNK.THE CAR I GOT WITH ONLY $1,000 WAS A JOKE. BROKE DOWN AND GOT ME STRANDED MORE THAN ONCE.I WAS JUST FURIOUS THEY FORCED ME TO JUNK MY DEPENDABLE CAR I TRULY LOVED AND WOUND UP WITH A REAL PIECE OF JUNK.THE WHOLE CA. SMOG THING IS JUST A BUNCH OF BS DESIGNED TO GET MORE MONEY OUT OF CA. DRIVERS. THEY DONT CARE ABOUT THE AIR, OR US. ITS ALL ABOUT THE ‘ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER’ MONEY PLOY.THATS WHY I GOT OUT OF CALIF. MOVED TO WHERE NONE OF THAT IS NECESSARY. CALIF MAKES ME SICK

  22. If you fail a smog, how much time does the state give to fix it? In other words, if my smog is up tomorrow, and I test it and it fails, am I allowed to drive it to get it fixed? And if so, how much time can I legally have it on the road until it is fixed?

    1. As far as I understand, when purchasing a new vehicle, they can give together temporary tags for 90days, but if it’s a registration renewal, they will give you a 1day driving pass to go to the smog place (assuming you’ve passed your renewal deadline ), and if it fails, you return the proof of failed smog and $50 to the DMV for an extension that only lasts until 60days after your original renewal due date.

  23. I have been working on this smog check since April 14 and have less than a week before my registration is up (I paid the $145 for it already but need my fourth smog check to pass). I cannot go into all the details; not enough room or time here….but my daughter’s 2001 VW Beetle passed just fine in 2012. With the more stringent regulations on the new and improved STAR Smog Test, not so lucky. Car was driving fine but check engine light was a red flag about emissions problem. First mechanic said mass air flow meter ($300). Engine light back on. First mechanic shrugged and sent me down the road to the second guy who charged $433 for various hoses and connectors and engine light was off. Now I cannot tell you HOW MANY MILES I HAVE NEEDLESSLY driven to reprogram the OBD, but wasted time, gas, mileage for what? Everytime someone touches the car, it has to be driven another 60-100 miles? What? This loop I’m in is INSANE!!! The car drives clean as a whistle, so what really is all this about when CALIFORNIA HAS THE PURIST FUEL IN THE COUNTRY? I’m furious. This is a VW Beetle for my 20 year old daughter to drive in Central California next year that we have had since she started high school. We have done all the maintenance on schedule and it hasn’t even been driven since she took off for college last September. I’d take it out once a week and baby the heck out of it. Maybe that’s my problem. I hate California liberal idiots revamping the original smog system when the air quality has been just fine for years (compared to when I was a kid in the 60’s). Sorry for ranting here, but this was such a comforting article to know that Ron Olson has felt my pain. I truly don’t know what I’ll do if this Beetle doesn’t pass by next Wednesday…I can’t keep dumping money into this senseless endeavor.

  24. C.A.R.B is a all backwards folks. I’m a mustang enthusiast and can tell you first hand BAR has forced the smog techs to do their dirty work. With performance vehicles such as mustangs increasing HP in California is just about not worth it anymore. Here’s an example of C.A.R.B (California air resource board) taking a company’s money, giving a customer a false sense of compliance and leaving the smog tech to be the “bad guy”! Take an aftermarket “MAF” or “mass air meter” for instance. These measure air entering the engine work with your fuel injectors to add the proper amount of fuel to the engine. Now, you but an aftermarket “MAF” calibrated to a 42lb fuel injector set that C.A.R.B legal BUT YOU CANNOT LEGALLY CHANGE FUEL INJECTORS SIZE!!! That to me says the fine people being paid to figure out what can be legal or not are being incompetent! This is just ONE example of many many issues with aftermarket parts for performance vehicles. Sad thing is usually everything that is out of CARB compliance is actually better emissions wise!

  25. The same EXACT thing has been happening to me for SIX months!!!! I take it in every other week to see if the car is ready and it will not pass the oxygen sensor and the catalysts and I ve taken it to three SMOG check repair place, my dealership AND the referee offered by BAR and still they can’t find anything wrong with ot – however if you have over $650 in repairs – they will waive it and pass you fro two year – but the catch is – there is no need for repairs since nothing s wrong!!! And the guy at BAR has cursed me out and has been so rude!!! This is ridiculous!! HELP!!!

  26. I have been going through same issue they won’t smog car cause light is on. Have repaired all I was told needed repairs. I am a senior and have used all my savings and still no tags. Long Beach, California

  27. I have a 1997 Doge Stratus that I had bought for my wife back in February. Took it to one shop who failed it because of a gas cap and PCV valve. Ok those are easy fixes right. Got it done now went back failed again for the readiness test. Tech tells me to drive it for 50 miles and come back. In stead I go to another shop to see if I get a different result nope but this time I get a little more information that was a little useful but it involved buying a $300 dollar part. Change out the PCM my self so I don’t have to pay a shop for something that has only two screws. Drive it around and I STILL DONT PASS what the heck this is getting to be crazy. I fail for the same reason again the dog gone readiness test. This time I get a print out of the ones that fail (5 in total) how can a car that runs as good as this car does keeps failing. I read how everyone is failing because of their check engine light on the opposite is happening to me I am failing because my check engine light wont stay on when you turn the key just before you start the engine. I am a bout to give up and go register the car in Arizona where my father in law lives.

  28. This is why I only buy pre1975 cars and trucks. All you need are basic mechanic skills to work on them and they do not have $200-$300 electronic parts that always need replacing.

  29. I failed on smog check due to check light on. I took it to my mechanic and through the computer check he detected P0135 and P0325. I spent $150 to fix the P0135 and reset the system. Three days later, the check in back on. I had no choice but to spend another $600 to replace the faulted P0325 issue.

    One week and 200 miles driving after reset the system, the IM still shows not ready due to EVAP not ready. Today, I found pending codes P0440 and P0446 (no check light) showed up through the system check.

    I went to the smog station. He told me the pending codes will not prevent me from passing the test as long as the IM is ready to test. My question is, it has been a whole week of regular commute with 200 miles driving without the IM being ready to test again. Will the IM ever be ready again, now with the two pending codes showed up?

    Do I still have a chance to get my car pass the test to register , or get a waiver with my repair receipts to get registration?

    Please help if anyone can.

    Thank you

  30. Several “good comments” since Ron Olsen posted must be read and re-read, as this problem with “smog monitors” shows up with the hand held OBD tool at your smog check, and this tool can be used to reset your monitors. Just remember those old codes will trigger a check engine light in the future as they are not erased from the computer module. There are other electrical reasons such as improperly installed new battery, that can cause codes to malfunction and your monitor lights will not go out on the OBD tool, even when you drive those excessive miles at $5 gallon fuel on a freeway to try and reset those codes.

    I have much ownership experience with a 1998 Grand Caravan and newer autos that have failed the OBD but have no emission violations of CA Smog. This is purely a CA LEGISLATIVE problem that allows this RIPOFF of the driving Public.

    Most viewers of this website will just keep on paying big bucks and trading their vehicles, rather than complain to their LEGISLATORS who caused this SMOG RIPOFF.

  31. My car is throwing a code. The tailpipe emissions are perfect. I received a notice to go to a STAR check. Looks like my reliable car is going to be banned. Can I sell it in Nevada? I have to go out to LV for a week on business. Does anyone have advice on selling it there? Thanks.

  32. I Took my 1986 toyota to a smog star station and didn,t pass smog twice and three day pay total I pay 249.50 and got new engine &carb new parts so problem with and had mechanic check over every so smog machine ripoff

  33. The smog stations don’t even allow an inline fuel pressure gauge to a TBI or it will fail the VISUAL part of the pathetic test?

  34. To Kimbra Holbrook; where did you move to? I want to move out of this POS state too, I’m researching other states as we speak!!! They cost me my job, they cost me my house; I had to file bankrupsy, and even though my truck passes emissions test it fails there new numbers game the smog shops need to enter on there computer . So now they have made my only vehicle (which passed smog until this year,and it’s like new)
    Illegal to drive on the garbage roads in this state. I’m retired from 30yrs of drywall (union) and can’t afford to buy a truck that won’t pass smog in 2 yrs because they make up the laws as they go. To top it off , they sold all of our water too and tell us we will be fined if we use it? This is scarey, they don’t have much left before they have takin it all from me and can’t even face me to say thanks.

  35. it only took hours and hours of work with 4 smog checks in 5 months to pass. with everything i and the mechanic replaced i must have a new car now. when i finally passed the smog tech admitted that my type of van always has a problem passing, that the state’s requirements are unrealistic.

  36. I just spent 150.00 bucks to be told twice that my car failed and the reason why, they say it will cost me 400.00 to fix. My car runs fine, I also found out if you get a new battery it screws up the system. I am so happy to be moving out of this ridiculously mis-managed State. I thought smog was to check emissions standards not my computer system. This entire process is a scam and another way to milk people who are trying to follow the rules..What a joke of a State!

  37. My son is going through this problem right now. He had to have some work done on his car a few months ago and that caused the computer system to reset. Now he cannot pass the smog because it hasn’t completed the driving cycle. He was told just to keep driving it but now he is driving it with expired tags. What the heck is he supposed to do? Ron Olsen if you’re reading this, can you update and let me know what finally happened to your wifes car?

    1. I have the exact same problem with my car. Now I’m driving it with an expired registration. The good thing is that even though the DMV took my money, I don’t owe anything but I’m stuck with a faule smog test. It looks like we are all going to be forced to ride bicycles and boycot the gas stations!

  38. I get a 1 day moving permit to get car smogged. I asked the woman at the dmv what about the onboard comps etc. she said wait in line for 3 hours to get another 1 day moving permit or wait the 2 weeks it takes to get another appt. what a joke.

    1. Go to AAA u can get the moving one day permit faster,hope that’s helpfu, they should give you up to 3 one
      day passes

  39. Any advice for a99 Buick regal gs with a noisy supercharger tech failed visual part of inspection for this even though electronic and emissions passed superb

  40. I had a P0420 code with the check engine soon light. The mechanic replaced both oxygen sensors and the catalytic converter. The light went out and it still failed the smog test. Emission test passed. I was told to drive the car 40 miles and bring it back for a retest.

  41. Ron I hope you have learned the complexity of modern automobiles and stop giving your resources to anyone but a STAR certified test and repair facility. Sorry you had to learn the hard way. I would be happy to explain your post so it makes more sense.

    Johnny

  42. I have a 1999 Ford Explorer, same thing…STAR SMOG required and it failed. The mechanic refuses to work on the car because he said I need a new engine. Got a 2nd opinion and that mechanic said he could try a few things…cost me approx $300 but can’t guarantee it will work. So now I’m driving around with expired tags, no insurance because Mercury requires your car is registered. This is crazy. My car still has a lot of life in it, I’m not ready to get rid of it. This is ridiculous but what do you do?

  43. I’m beyond frustrated.

    Do I really need to junk my perfectly reliably 2004 Accord because no smog check stations, dealers, or THE F’ING REFEREE can get enough OBDII readings to pass the car? What Universe does that make sense in? (Oh yeah, CAverse)

    I drive very little. I drove just a little over 5K mi. last year. For the most part, the car sits in the garage. When I do drive it – it’s in little spurts around town / to a store.

    It only stopped passing smog after these new rules went into effect. That is – it failed this year in July. Not because it’s polluting – because – OBDII voodoo.

    Dealership/service is thinking the ECM / something or other (the brains) might be dead. Some central unit that if it stops working, or malfunctions causes all other sensors/readings/etc. not to work (AKA make you fail these new smog rules) and they’re more than happy to rip apart the car and replace it if that’s the problem.

    They don’t recommend it, though. It’s an expensive part. (AKA not worth dropping that much cash into your car that is 10 years old. Especially when you’ve already dropped tons of cash on the necessary and important things: like tires, brakes, hoses, etc.)

    So, here I am…

    Two smog checks. Two failures.
    3 day visit to dealership so they could do whatever voodoo was needed for OBDII
    1 visit to Referee

    Still failing. I guess I can go spend another $50 dollars for a 2mo. red sticker. I guess I could drop many Gs to repair some old technology/old car.

    I guess I could just drive it up to some lawmakers house and leave it there. I could drive it into a lot and burn it. I could drive it off a cliff. I could do a lot of things, I guess.

    Really, though… what I would like to do. I’d like to keep it as a car that I drive very little and don’t waste anymore money on except for the basics, and then write it off once it breaks down for good.

    I really love CA, but this is too much. It’s not fair. I’ve done my due diligence. If the system is designed so assbackwards that it’s impossible to pass SMOG without buying a new – something is wrong. Fuck.

    Oh yeah, I bought a new 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT. Six years of no smog checks. yay!

    Fuck you, CA. Fuck you.

  44. If you voted for “MoonBeam” Brown you deserve the grief. As long as California continues to be run by hippies turned socialist union puppets, things will continue to get worse

    1. You got it Tony….Gov. Brown is a libtard and if CA keeps on voting the libs in, more ridiculous restrictions and taking away of freedoms will continue. This “emissions” test is unnecessary. Wait til water is unaffordable here too. Plus our plastic bags were taken away for “paper” at a price, but we can now “purchase” plastic too. Wow. Bargain. I was born in this state 57 years ago but will not be retiring in this state. I’ll move to Utah, where they don’t have this ridiculous smog check, water is plentiful, and they bag your groceries in plastic..no schlepping ten canvas bags in with you. Sorry for venting but I know I have six weeks of hell ahead of me to fix the damn CEL again on my VW Beetle and spend hundreds for a senseless smog check/repair. Then yippee, two more years before we go through this crap again. Why did they change the system back in 2013 anyway? Does anyone know?

    1. I did 10 night drives. Not ready on 1 thing. Fail. But car is brand new. You are wrong. Dealer says keep driving. 10k miles. 2 months to get ready

  45. Ya’ know, I browsed through the article pretty damn quick and only perused the comments while I was looking for something else and found it entertaining. While it is true that you don’t need to know jack to buy and drive a car not many drivers realize that it is to their advantage to at least know a little something. If you had any business being in the LA area in the 70’s and early 80’s, or before that, then you know today that the smog program for autos works. The problem you had with your car was minor. The problem you had with your choice of ‘automotive professionals’ is somewhat more of a problem. None of them explained the problem satisfactorily and you received only vague solutions. Sure, your readiness monitors weren’t, well, ready. Sometimes they set quickly, sometimes not. But I’ll bet if the tech offered to set the monitors (run the drive cycle successfully) at $80-$100 per hour instead of just telling you to drive the car a little more to complete the process you would have driven the car and complained a little less. Seems like you got two free pre-tests, know you had the problem, didn’t really get the whole story, spent more time on it, then complained more about it. Well, some older cars don’t need a smog check. Maybe you should stick with the classics. By the way, I am a Smog Tech, Repair and Inspection Certified, an ASE Certified Master Tech, currently pursuing the BAR Instructor certification and I also teach much of the related stuff at the local community college.

    Quit whining or take the bus.

    1. One thing I’ve learned from reading the comments is that mechanics, who I tend to think of as “salt of the earth” types, can be little bitches. Calm down, princesses! Not everyone needs or wants to know that much about cars. Some pollution control was clearly needed, but THIS control is appalling.
      Like many of you, I’ve got an older car that runs beautifully but has a “check engine” light on. I went through this charming process two years ago, and finally, after burning numerous gallons of gas (again, THIS process for pollution control is nonsensical), it finally somehow passed. Now, after two more years of trouble-free driving (i.e., nothing wrong with my engine), once again I need to waste time and money trying to get the thing smogged.

      I love CA passionately with the exception of our idiotic government.

  46. Had a check engine light p505 code, which coincidentally came on the day I recd my notice to smog my 2008 vehicle. I was told by a former tech to clean my throttle body, he was spot on. I started the car and the light was gone. Drove it to work and back for 4 days and it passed smog. I was sweating bullets, but I passed. I feel for everyone here. I was really fretting not being able to drive my car. Good luck to everyone.

  47. The jeep dealership wants $1300 for repairs to the transmission before they will smog test it. A 2000 jeep grand cherokee. WTHeck. Yes the check engine light is on. Who has that kind of money to throw at a used car?

  48. I had to endure these same experiences also. I broke down, and purchase an OBD2 Can Scan at HF. After driving 160 miles the I/M were not ready,and my disgust grew. I read a thread about the “getting ready” for smog. I disconnected the battery overnight. In the morning I drove at about 30 mph for about 10 minutes around the rural areas. Then an 8 minute stretch at 43 mph, and a 10 minute stretch at 54 to 56. Pulled in my driveway, and checked the codes. Everything was ready.

    On another note: Why do I only get 20 days when I pay for a 60 day permit for a vehicle that was purchased after the registration expired. I did not own the vehicle during that time, so why am I penalized?

  49. How about a car that’s been on non-op for several years that I would now like to put back on the road. Of course the battery has been disconnected in that time, and the computer was reset. To get the monitors to pass, I need to put some miles on it in varying driving conditions (or try to follow the drive-cycle procedure, which I’ve found to be less than marginally reliable in actually completing the monitor tests in the past, and to take a significant amount of time and fuel).

    I can either attempt to get it to cycle the monitors by driving around following the drive-cycle procedures, and get it to a smog station and passed all on a one-day temporary permit, OR I need to make a trip to the DMV to get a one-day permit, pay to get a smog check where it fails (which I know it will because the monitors aren’t set), then make another trip to the DMV and pay an additional $50 to get a temporary permit to let me drive it for a couple of weeks to reset the monitors.

    Of course technically the first option above isn’t even allowed, as the vehicle moving permit doesn’t actually allow for ‘driving around to get the emissions monitors to set’.

    I understand that there were some people abusing the temporary permits by simply getting one-after-another, and to discourage the practice they made them more difficult to get and added a fee. However I imagine that a lot (a majority?) of people taking cars off of PNO would need to get them “back on the road”. It seems obvious that getting a 30-day pass should be easy and free in such cases.

    I guess it’s just another case of our brilliant California law-makers hard at work…

  50. Ron, It’s been over a year since you first reported your frustration trying to get your wife’s car to pass smog… As my deadline is approaching in two months (my car never did pass smog due to engine light so the smog ref gave me a “one time only” 1 year extension) so before I junk a wonderful 2001 Land Rover Discovery, I was wondering what your out come was…

  51. Ron, thank you for your punctual response… I’m pleased all worked out well for you..!
    I also wanted to thank you for starting the dialog in the first place… At least I’ve come realize I’m not alone in this mess… Misery and company and all that…

  52. I agree with DMV about making sure that vehicles should not pollute , but DMV and some smog check stations sees this check engine light scare tactic as meal time, to make extra money extorting money from drivers who cars are running fine approved by many dealers and ASC mechanics..

    DMV likes this because you have to buy temporary registration, if they could find a way to put fart sensors in your car to measure if you farting too mush and charge for it they would .

    Here is how to fix this smog fraud on the people.
    Lets get an ASC mechanic to generate say 10 ways to make the check engine light come on on a vehicle that had just passed smog to show how some check engine light warning has nothing to do with pollution.

    After the car passes the ” Emission test” wish is what this whole issue is about , lets the ASC mechanic note what the vehicle emission readings are then generate some ways to make the check engine scare light tactic light comes on , them measure to see if the vehicle emits any more emission above what DMV approves.

    Your check engine light could come on because of i.e. faulty cam shaft position sencer , lose gas cap , air filter and many more things that has nothing to do with pollution then ask the ASC mechanic to retest the car to see if the car pollute any more than what DMV considers safe and you will find no extra pollution and why these things should not stop you from getting your registration.

    With this proof lets take it to city hall and the news and demand this “check engine light scare tactic fraud on the drivers stopped ”

    in the mean time the city’s buses and vehicles can be polluter , what a double standard

    This hole check engine light is becoming a scam to milk drivers out of money ..

  53. I agree with DMV about making sure that vehicles should not pollute , but DMV and some smog check stations sees this check engine light scare tactic as meal time, to make extra money extorting money from drivers who cars are running fine approved by many dealers and ASC mechanics..

    DMV likes this because you have to buy temporary registration, if they could find a way to put fart sensors in your car to measure if you farting too mush and charge for it they would .

    Here is how to fix this smog fraud on the people.
    Lets get an ASC mechanic to generate say 10 ways to make the check engine light come on on a vehicle that had just passed smog to show how some check engine light warning has nothing to do with pollution.

    After the car passes the ” Emission test” wish is what this whole issue is about , lets the ASC mechanic note what the vehicle emission readings are then generate some ways to make the check engine scare light tactic light comes on , them measure to see if the vehicle emits any more emission above what DMV approves.

    Your check engine light could come on because of i.e. faulty cam shaft position sencer , lose gas cap , air filter and many more things that has nothing to do with pollution then ask the ASC mechanic to retest the car to see if the car pollute any more than what DMV considers safe and you will find no extra pollution and why these things should not stop you from getting your registration.

    With this proof lets take it to city hall and the news and demand this “check engine light scare tactic fraud on the drivers stopped ”

    in the mean time the city’s buses and vehicles can be polluter , what a double standard

    This hole check engine light is becoming a scam to milk drivers out of money

  54. I have to agree our smog test system in CA is broken. I just failed the visual portion of my smog test for an aftermarket addition of an oil catch can coming from the engine and going into the PCV/air intake. The tech called this “modified.” I mean really? The can is supposed to keep my car from burning more oil which means cleaner air and I get punished and am out $50. Or you can just blame me the consumer not knowing this was considered “tampering” with emissions. I mean who cares about the check engine light or “visual” inspection. I agree on keeping CA air clean but CA makes it so difficult. Can we just smog our cars based on what comes out the tail pipe?

  55. I have a Nissan Rogue that had the computer reset due to a recall. I have now taking it twice to get a smog check only to be told that computer is not ready you need to drive for several hundred miles more. I drove it for 250 miles and took it back for a smog check and was told the computer is not ready yet, maybe a few more hundred miles. So let me get this straight I need to drive around L.A. for hundreds of miles creating smog and burning gas before I get my smog check?

  56. This sob story sounds very tragic, however what kind of car were you driving? Maybe you should consider the quality of the make and model of car before you decide to purchase it in CA?

    1. Let it never be said that CA schools teach critical thinking as it relates to voting!

      The political bias in education is profound, and that shows up in our idiotic legislators. I know whereof I speak, having taught in higher ed for over 20 years.

  57. I have the “one code won’t reset” on one of my cars. It’s a 2002 Toyota Corolla with a whopping 42K on it. The non reset code first raised it’s ugly head in Jan of 2012. Just after the new California SMOG rules went into effect. I used my own code computer to read out the failure to reset. Then drove the car another 400 miles without a reset. So I just took the car to the referee center at LA Trade Tech. It was passed instantly. Why can the referee center ignore the un-set code but five different SMOG check centers can’t?

    So now it’s another SMOG check cycle. The code still reads as un-set and the car has been driven another 4100 miles in the past two years. I am going to try a new SMOG check center that just opened a block away. And I will take the referee center tests showing that it’s perfectly OK to do a SMOG check with that code showing (or not showing).

    Wish me luck.

  58. I just had the same experience. I had 2 “monitor” in-completes of the drive cycle (when the error codes are reset by a scanner, a special drive cycle self test is required, but it’s not THAT special). This failed only for this OBDII stuff at one smog check, and yes I took it to another and it passed. On careful examination of the 2 printouts I see the failing one had different tests than the passing one, and the failing one was done with “reason for testing – change of ownership” and the passing one was”biennial”.
    Not sure if this matters, but there are smog zones that ONLY require testing on change of ownership, etc. There are 4 types of zones. It’s possible the failing test was run using the wrong zone or reason for test. Got me, but the monitor tests that were failing absolutely DID NOT appear on the passing paperwork (not done?). The scanner says they are still incomplete…

  59. Have a 1979 International Scout. Its passed smogged up to 2012. (New law) Now no one will even attempt a smog. Been paying DMV fees just to keep regustration up to date but can not drive it at all. Used to be my daily driver. Any suggestions for getting exempt or a smog would be appreciated.

  60. Well I’ve have a situation with my 2005 Aveo were I needed to get a new Catalytic converter. I was unable to find an aftermarket CARB compliant CAT due to the new “coated” converters that are OEM on Chevrolet’s since 2009. Even though my car is an 05 it is not grandfathered in. Only GM sell’s the CAT at a cost of $900. I researched the hell out of this and even spoke with a ref, to no avail. I want to comply but for christ sake!

  61. I just went through this myself with a 1996 Jeep Cherokee. I have one incomplete monitor after repairing an issue that was causing misfires. The Jeep is very well maintained, and when problems arise they are fixed immediately.

    After fixing my issue and letting the computer reset, I went to my normal smog check place, and they wouldn’t even test it, because I had one incomplete monitor (catalyst, which is the hardest monitor to reset in a Jeep). No problem, I thought; according to CARB regulations, I am allowed to have up to 2 incomplete monitors and still pass. I only had one, so it should have been a slam dunk. That didn’t stop the smog shop from flatly refusing to test the Jeep. After further reading, I found that the STAR program is actually designed to fail cars, not pass them. This is CARB’s end-run to get older vehicles off the road, and this refusal started to make more sense.

    The reason the STAR stations won’t test is that with incomplete monitors, even if your car passes, the station and technician will get dinged on their performance ratings (and eventually lose their STAR certification if they pass too many). Therefore, they have decided to just not test any vehicle that could negatively impact them. However, the first place I went to was grossly erring on the side of caution, since passing my Jeep would have had no negative impact. On 99 and older vehicles, they only get dinged for passing vehicles that have the MAX number of monitors incomplete (unfortunately for you, your car is only allowed one, and that would meet the MAX monitors criteria). I don’t fall into this category, so I was able to find another shop that had a better understanding of the rule, and my Jeep passed with flying colors.

    In these new days of over-regulation, you MUST know every nuance of the rules if you want to have any hope of getting your vehicle through this draconian system. That’s just the way it is.

  62. The check engine light comes on in my car if my oil is low from an oil leak. I put oil in it and the light goes off. California regulations are hurting people.

  63. Help! I have a 1991 Honda Civic that is in excellent condition and runs very well and extremely efficiently. It has been perfectly maintained for it’s entire life. I have a very skilled Honda mechanic who is at a loss as to why I can’t pass smog, so I’m trying to do some research and find some leads. I had a new catalytic converter put in in 2009 and I was out of the state and non-opt the car for most of 2013. Everything is working just as it’s supposed to, but it goes off the charts during idle. We put in a new 02 sensor but that didn’t help. He thinks the CAP certified mechanic may have put a cheap catalytic converter into it, but doesn’t want to make me put in a Honda part in it, even though he could, and still not have it pass. What else can we do? Or is there a way to get an exemption? This little gem only has 150-thousand miles on it and has a lot of good miles left. It’s definitely worth more than the $1000-$1500 California wants to give me to surrender it, and I’m a senior living on Social Security who’s not in a position to purchase a new car. Any suggesstions? Anyone? Please?

  64. This is an absolute joke!!!!!!!!! It is contrived by stupid ignorant people that think a barbeque or lawn mower is the reason for smog in California. My uncle went to school with Dianne Feinstein and just to say, there were no favorable comments to say the least. I went to a star check station where immigrants were running it. I told them I knew all about this stupid smog thing from reading your blog. I further told them what you said in your blog about BAR. They looked at me so confused. They said, “we just follow the rules”. I told them, “yes, this is why california can get away with what they can because no one stands up to their bureaucratic crap, and they count on you following the rules”. This is probably why california loves immigrants, as well as the nation, because people like obama, pelosi, feinstein, boxer, gerry brown, harry reid, etc get elected out of ignorance. Glad you did this blog Ron. I hope something gets done about california’s smog check hell!!!!!

    1. If a monitor wont run then there is a problem. The guys mechanic isn’t very good. A sensor is probably not reading correctly but not out of range enough to set a code and turn on the MIL light .

  65. Your car can be running fine does not mean there is not a problem. If a monitor wont run Its because a sensor is not giving a proper signal but its not out of range enough to set a engine code and turn on the MIL light. You need to find a better mechanic lol. Does not matter if its a new car or has low miles. Cars are massed produced my the millions chances are some cars will go out with bad sensors or sensors that are about to go bad. If all the monitors have not run the the computer is most likely in a default setting and is always running rich which puts out more emissions . You will not be able to tell there is a problem the car will feel and drive normally but trust me if a monitor wont run there is a problem. The cars computer will always adjust timing to give you the best performance.

  66. I just went through a similar issue with my Suburban recently. It failed because an O2 sensor was bad, they replaced it, then it still wouldn’t pass. I had to drive it over miles before the computer reset properly and then it passed. Stay at like 60 mph for 30 miles at a time, let it fully warm up for 20 minutes before I drive it etc. How does anyone STAY AT 60mph now days with traffic. Pain in the…

  67. First of all , The consumers should know that a station or technician does not decide whether a car passes or fails a smog check . All the emission limits and readiness monitors are programmed in the state computer where all the smog machines communicate with prior and after a smog check. If a smog tech does a customer a favor by letting them know the car will not pass the test, they citations from the BAR enforcement division. as a tech state law says you are supposed to test them and fail them. Points are also taken against the tech and stations if they do not meet certain percentage of failures.

  68. I have had to deal with the BAR as an owner. Believe me, they should really be called the Bureau of Automotive Retards. Never have I interacted with such a stupid group of humans, unless of course you count AT&T.

  69. I know this thread is old but I need help. I bought a 2000 Pontiac sunfire se 2 weeks ago and I went to smog it for title transfer and they said it’s not ready. A few days after I bought it the check engine light came on and so I took it back and they reset it. Still no check engine light now and have driven around 150 miles on the freeway and am at a loss on what to do please help. ..

  70. Ok. FIRST THING. Don’t wait til the last minute to smog your vehicle. That way you will have time to find the issue and let the ecu acclimate the problems. That seems to be the problem is folks wait til the last minute to smog…fails..then have to drive the vehicle til smog ready but by then tags are expired. That is a personal problem involving poor financial and time management. MORE IMPORTANT THING. have your car maintained. Engine codes stick even when the mechanic resets. Have to drive the car. If you go to smog as soon as the DMV notice comes in the mail then you can have car fixed…reset and then drive for a month. Take a trip. Go visit mom. Sufficient time. I’ve been diagnosing ecm problems for years and this is a proven method. If you wait till the tags deadline and then have to drive a predetermined amount of speed and time chances are you won’t make the cut under pressure.

    1. If you read enough the main issue is not the time to do the drive cycle. But not completing even after several attempts and miles. Cheers!

  71. Well, California government sucks – this is nothing new at all — we’ve got legislators who fall over each other to prove how progressive they are – or, even if not in that political group, all want to be modern, up to the latest fad, whatever – and very little practicality about anything they do.
    The anti smog extremists put through the new diesel fuel that destroyed countless cars about 20 years back, and the gasoline which destroyed all my power lawn tools just a few years back and one of my vehicles got serious damage from a setting for smog based on the area it used to be registered in – because some people cheat and get their brother in law to accept registration in less smoggy area .
    The solution is really simple, and I am sure the legislature will get to it pretty soon – no one is allowed to leave their house without prior approval – some kind of licensing for it — after all, some bad people do bad things when they leave their houses – it might be inconvenient for people who don’t do bad things – but we’ve got to stop the ones who do, so, you don’t get to leave your house without a license.

  72. Why hasn’t there been a class action lawsuit against BAR and/or CARB due to unrealistic program causing millions of dollars of waste not only in resources but people’s time and money?

  73. Hello! Well I recently bought a 2007 Saturn Aura. I was able to get a 1 month red permit but dmv told me to take it to chp inspection and to get a smog check… Well I was very concerned about the chp inspection since my car is salvage but it all went fine. So the day I took it to get the smog check done I didn’t notice that the check engine light was on untill I got to the place. I didn’t know that this was going to be a problem at all so the guy started the testing finally he is done and tells me that my car failed because of OBDII codes showing up and the check engine light so he told me to fix that and come back and he will “ONLY” charge and extra 31 dlls over the 30 he already charge to get it retested. Anyways I just drove my son to school this morning and notice that the check engine light is not on anymore. I didn’t reset it or anything its just not there anymore. Do you guys know if my car will pass the test now since the light is off now? Or it will still show up when he plugs it to the computer again? I really don’t have the money to get it fix or to keep paying for to get it tested. Thanks.

  74. Angie-
    Time to reiterate that while others can say what they will, this website does not give advice on auto repairs or make any claim to offer solutions. That said, here’s a link to a DMV faq page that may be of some help to you. Beyond that, it might be easiest to simply call the CA Bureau of Automotive Repair at 800.952.5210.

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/smog.htm

  75. My Jeep has a check engine light and there is some reason for it. 4 mechanics and 1 dealership have not been able to find that reason. The last time I was required to get the vehicle smog checked, the CEL was coming on but the vehicle passed the test per the regulations at that time. Now, the smog test shops won’t even run the vehicle because it will not pass, solely on the basis of the on board computer.

    My solution to this problem is the purchase of a 1963 Chevy C10. Easier and cheaper to maintain, better looking, and no smog checks. Probably spews more pollution than my Jeep but I simply can’t afford that anymore.

    You win California.

  76. It’s total BS. Stick a sniffer in the exhaust, if it is below limits, let it through. If not, fail it. Who cares what modifications, etc are on the car if the exhaust is clean?

    It’s all about money and power. Want a new cat in CA? $300+. Any other state? ~$100

  77. Look at all these comments with us Californians getting blocke immobilized. They don’t want our money, the state has basically unlimited credit from the fed megabanks. Its not the politicians faults. they’re puppets. You all don’t know this yet? Anyway I was forced to retire my tiny reliable 95 Hyundai because its destroying our pristine air. Same story, DMV said go to Star station, they failed my car, and the BAR I think gave me $1500 to retire my car. So there I was watching my great functional economy car get picked up by the junking magnet and smashed into this huge bin at the recycling/wrecking yard. I spent hundreds repairing the car and it would have ran another 5 or 10 years. This is exactly what they don’t want. They want to force me to borrow $20,000 to get a new gps’d trackable car. Instead I’m forced to ride the bus with new microchipped RFID cards. Or I can stay home and starve to death.

  78. All I can say is this. This past February, the battery in my GM vehicle went dead–after seven and a half years. I put in a new battery, of course.

    On a recent weekend (Saturday, to be specific), I drove my automobile over to the local smog inspection station, anticipating an uneventual few minutes awaiting what with absolute confidence I expected would be the inevitable outcome–I pass with flying colors.

    Not so fast, indeed. The techinician proceeds to inform me that the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) have been wiped clean due to the battery having died. I need to “drive it around for about 60 miles” to complete a drive cycle and re-set the computer.

    Huh? I’d already driven the vehicle some 150 miles since the battery purchase. Something just didn’t sound right about that advice. Off to Internet Land for some research activity.

    After a minute’s exploration on the Net, I find all the information I need to know about completing a basic drive cycle on a GM vehicle.

    It’s simple, straightforward. The drive cycle on a GM vehicle can be completed in approximately 15 minutes: Just start the car cold (in the morning, after leaving it undriven overnight, when the engine temperature is within 6 degrees of ambient air temperature); idle the car for three minutes in park, with the lights turned on, air conditioner running, and rear window defogger activated–then shut off the AC and defogger.

    Next, get out on a freeway (or country road/highway, of course). Accelerate gradually to 55 miles per hour. Maintain 55 miles per hour for three minutes, then remove foot from accelerator and coast down to below 20 miles per hour without touching the brake. Now, accelerate to 55 miles miles per hour once again; maintain that speed for five minutes–coast down without foot on accelerator, and without touching the break. End of basic drive cycle. The computer is now re-set.

    It worked for me. Easy. Simple. No problem. On the following Monday, I returned to that same Smog Test shop and received the passing grade. I am now good to go to renew my registration.

    The secret to this entire operation, by the way, is finding a basic drive cycle instruction specific to one’s vehicular make. For example, Ford’s drive cycle is somewhat different than the one recommended for GM automobiles. Don’t rely on the generic, basic drive cylce advice provided by the “repairpal” article that Ron Olsen originally linked in his July 10, 2013 blog entry.

    1. Lucky. Pure luck. I have 100 cars. Not ready obdII. Secondary air. No check engine light. All new parts. Just wont reset . Driven cars through 10 cycles. Some cars never will pass

  79. Dear “Anonymous”

    You make it sound so easy. Firstly, you obviously don’t live in Los Angeles, or another major city where running your routine would be impossible on the freeways. Secondly, when I try and get the info on re-setting the code on my car, I find the following.

    “Completing the Drive Cycle successfully one (1) time should reset most drive cycle monitors to a “Ready” status. However, there are “two trip” monitors, which require that the drive cycle be successfully completed two (2) times, to achieve a “Ready” status. Furthermore, systems which use averaging, may require the drive cycle to be completed more than 2 times.

    Verify the status of the readiness monitors with the appropriate function of your scan tool.

    NOTE: Certain vehicles have known OBDII Readiness issues. Please be sure to review TSB’s for special circumstances and or exceptions to readiness monitor resetting procedures.

    Before Beginning the Drive Cycle
    Check the status of the Readiness Monitors, check for DTC’s, correct faults, clear DTC’s before beginning the Drive Cycle.

    Begin Drive Cycle
    The vehicle should be driven approximately 7.5 miles within a period of approx. 23 minutes (1372 seconds) from a cold start. However, due to manufacture variations, it is necessary to perform only as much of the Drive Cycle as is necessary to reset the required monitors to a “Ready” status. Operate the throttle smoothly to obtain best results. Do not turn the ignition off during the drive cycle.

    CAUTION: Obey all traffic laws and drive in a safe manner!

    NOTE: Extreme driving conditioning such as very high/low temperatures, rough roads and high altitudes may prevent some monitors from attaining a “Ready” status.”

    Ya, right. Good luck with that. There is NO REASON it should be this difficult to get a car smog checked in CA.

    1. To repeat something we’ve said before: This website does not endorse or recommend any particular technique or repair for getting a vehicle in shape to pass a smog check in CA. We can only refer you to the CA Bureau of Automotive Repair for guidance.

  80. I recently had to complete a basic drive cycle on my GM vehicle. Seems that when my battery died earlier this year (after seven and a half years), the On Board Diagnostics information got wiped clean. When the smog test failed, the technician recommended that I drive the automobile around “for about 60 miles or so” to re-set the computer.

    That just didn’t sound right. I’d already put roughly 150 miles on the car after the replacing the old battery. A quick internet search disclosed instructions for a complete drive cycle specific to GM automobiles. And it worked–in a little over the estimated fifteen minutes the article touted. Smog test passed. Registration renewel achieved.

    For folks with GM automobiles who need to perform a complete drive cycle in order to pass a smog test, here are the instructions, from a web site over at http://www.obdii.com/drivecycle.html :

    General Motors Driving Cycle

    A complete driving cycle should perform diagnostics on all systems. A complete driving cycle can be done in under fifteen minutes.

    To perform an OBDII Driving cycle do the following:
    •Cold Start. In order to be classified as a cold start the engine coolant temperature must be below 50°C (122°F) and within 6°C (11°F) of the ambient air temperature at startup. Do not leave the key on prior to the cold start or the heated oxygen sensor diagnostic may not run.

    2.Idle. The engine must be run for two and a half minutes with the air conditioner on and rear defroster on. The more electrical load you can apply the better. This will test the O2 heater, Passive Air, Purge “No Flow”, Misfire and if closed loop is achieved, Fuel Trim.

    3.Accelerate. Turn off the air conditioner and all the other loads and apply half throttle until 88km/hr (55mph) is reached. During this time the Misfire, Fuel Trim, and Purge Flow diagnostics will be performed.

    4.Hold Steady Speed. Hold a steady speed of 88km/hr (55mph) for 3 minutes. During this time the O2 response, air Intrusive, EGR, Purge, Misfire, and Fuel Trim diagnostics will be performed.

    5.Decelerate. Let off the accelerator pedal. Do not shift, touch the brake or clutch. It is important to let the vehicle coast along gradually slowing down to 32km/hr (20 mph). During this time the EGR, Purge and Fuel Trim diagnostics will be performed.

    6.Accelerate. Accelerate at 3/4 throttle until 88-96 km/hr (55-60mph). This will perform the same diagnostics as in step 3.

    7.Hold Steady Speed. Hold a steady speed of 88km/hr (55mph) for five minutes. During this time, in addition to the diagnostics performed in step 4, the catalyst monitor diagnostics will be performed. If the catalyst is marginal or the battery has been disconnected, it may take 5 complete driving cycles to determine the state of the catalyst.

    8.Decelerate. This will perform the same diagnostics as in step 5. Again, don’t press the clutch or brakes or shift gears.

    Reprinted on OBDII web site courtesy of General Motors Corporation
    © General Motors Corporation

    1. It’s time for a class action lawsuit against these smog pin heads. The only place most people can ‘accelerate and hold steady at 55 mph for 3 minutes’ is on the highway. Then your supposed to decelerate, stop, accelerate, etc- IN OTHER WORDS CREATE A HAZERDOUS, UNSAFE SITUATION ON THE HIGHWAY.

  81. When the emissions control on cars started they didn’t think it through as usual in California if they had they would have put in an emissions control light along with the engine light so we Californians would know and be responsible when our car is polluting we’d know on a day to day basis instead of registration to registration but don’t push that they’d start ticketing for your check engine light being on instead of fixing the problem

  82. It’s 2015 and I have the same problem. I have been driving it for a month. My mechanic says that there is nothing wrong with my car…I have already paid 50 dollars. Now I have to pay another fifty to another smog station. …

  83. FUN is trying to SMOG a 1983 Porsche that’s now 32 years old: Used to be a car when it hit 25 years or older didn’t have to pass smog, and now the DMV/CA CARB is trying to literally drive me OFF the road.

    Ervin Raab

  84. I have a Toyota 2003 Avalon, I’ve been told like the rest to drive my car on this route, at this speed, do this and keep being told “you gotta just keep driving it”, kind of herky jerk, crack house is CA smog check running here. My passed all others except the catalyst “Not Ready” my car runs awesome and passed last time.

    I bought a handheld to test after I drive Toyota’s ridiculous drive pattern for my car 40-55 for 3 minutes, then 35-45 for 7 minutes. WTF can you do that safely? Hopefully on the 56 this Saturday at 4am, I’ll be that guy who no one wants to be with hazards in the retarded lane.

    If this doesn’t work, already have an appointment with the smog check referee but I’m counting on that not going well too.

  85. I am with you 100% of the way. I am going through this bullshit with my 4 Runner that has had everything done on time the way it should be in regards to vehicle maintenance . I was told yesterday my truck needed a oxygen sensor and the reason it not pass smog. EVERY mechanic I called wanted 300-400 dollars to fix it when the part cost around 50.00 bucks and it took all of 30 min for me to install? I took it back today to smog test shop and was informed to drive it around 100 miles and back it should pass. I did that went back the same day and without hooking it u to any device the owner glanced under the dash board and said its still not ready? What kinda crap is this?
    The DMV had no problem in taking my money for the registration but wont give the damm piece of red plastic that say 2015? I have had it with this state. If its not one bullshit thing its another. Something needs to be done to try and fix this problem there are countless vehicles that I see daily with black smoke pouring out the tail pipe but they all seem to have passed smog as they all have current registration. I have spent money , time , burned gasoline and went NO WHERE trying bring my vehicle up to the computers / state requirements.

    I am going to try another shop but am going to blast this smog
    check shop on YELP after reading this article. Thanks for listening.

  86. I had a new battery put in, and my car was not ready for the smog test. Took it to Honda who charged me $125. to do god knows what for 2 minutes & then told me I had to drive the car for 70 miles before taking it for the smog test. It is now 300 miles later and the car is still not ready for the test. Very frustrating! I’m told I could get a ticket also because mow it is past the due date for the sticker.

  87. I have been going through this nightmare since June. My car keeps failing the smog check as the O2 sensor is not ready. I have been told to drive I interrupted on the highway at 45-55 mph, then was told to drive at 55-60 mph Eric. The check engine light has never come on during this time. I have had my carinro the check station six times right after 100 mile drives and still the sensor is said to be not ready and am told to just keep driving. I am now at my wits ends. All the experts tell me it won’t do any good to change the sensor. I have a 2003 Malibu with less than 40,000 miles as I am disabled/retired and just don’t drive long distances.

  88. God, what a whiner!
    The new smog check uses the information gathered by your vehicle’s computers to “fill in the blanks” as to what the emissions systems are up to. These tests are done constantly while you drive, idle, even while the car is not being driven.
    Overall, these tests come under the heading of “OBDII Drive Cycles” get used to it!
    This “new” OBDII-based smog test in partially in response to people crying that their vehicles wouldn’t pass EMISSIONS.
    There are NO emissions tests on 2000 and newer lighter duty cars and trucks.
    THAT’S the trade off!
    Within OBDII testing there is something called mode 6. Mode 6 details all the subtests within each OBDII monitor.
    Your mechanic did not do mode 6 testing. There IS something wrong.
    Stop trashing my business!
    Don Kenyon
    CA Smog License # EO and EI 039900

  89. It is clear that California’s Smog Check system, while possibly originally well intentioned, is not the most effective way of ensuring that vehicles on the road are safe, and compliant with emissions laws. The only test that should be necessary to determine what emissions are output from a vehicle is the traditional “sniffer” test conducted on a dynamometer, and visual and audible inspection for leaks. Connecting to a car’s OBD II sensor for the purposes of smog detection is simply innane. It is not difficult to install a device which fools the car’s ECU into thinking that the O2 sensors are reading properly, when in fact the catalytic converters have been removed. Additionally, why is it so important that a car passes a smog test, while more critical safety issues (brakes, lights, suspension, steering, etc…) are not checked, and do not even need to be in serviceable condition for a car to be deemed safe to drive on CA roads.

    Further, the fact that every shop charges a different fee for the same test is ludicrous. I am originally from Massachusetts where the state requires every vehicle receive a safety and emissions inspection once per year at a fixed price ($39 last I checked). In addition to emissions, critical safety items are checked to help ensure your vehicle will not harm you or someone else due to lack of maintenance.

    Political action is needed on our part (CA citizens) to evoke change in the state legislature regarding this issue. I am not sure where to start, but perhaps a letter writing campaign or protest is in order. I understand that there are more serious issues in the world and state today, but this is one that affects all vehicle owners in the state; the potential for change from a cooperative effort is enormous, so let’s do something about it!

  90. I’m going through this right now. I’ve put over a thousand miles on my car trying to reset the computer and I’m out of time. It won’t pass the smog because the computer hasn’t reset. I’m prepared to order an expensive part I may not need to try to get it to pass, but if we put the part in, the computer resets and we start the entire process over again. So, today I pad $50 for a smog inspection that got me no where and I’m apparently supposed to keep incurring these charges. Meanwhile, I’m out of time and my tags expired, so I go to AAA to get an extension and I’m told the DMV says I can only have a one day extension because the car didn’t actually “fail” the smog test. So, I’m supposed to go in every single day until I can pass smog to get a one-day extension? I’ve lost two complete days to this this week, and I really have no idea where to go from here. Do I have to buy a new car just because the computer on the old one won’t reset so that I can pass a smog test I probably could pass just fine if the computer was working? Apparently.

    1. I had to laugh…”buy a new car.” Well, I guess you can buy a new one, but how the heck are you gonna sell the one you have…a car that can’t pass a smog test?!! What a joke! Plus, you could buy a new car and have the same problem! Mine is only 2 years old, and I haven’t been able to pass.

  91. 2001 Nissan Altima – same boat.

    Emissions pass, the computer does not and needs to be reset. The driving combination to reset the computer not only is very complicated and has not worked for me but also has caused me to put a lot more exhaust into the air then if the emissions would have just passed and that was that.

    Now multiply this by tens of thousands having the same problem and it is easy to determine that whomever came up with this idea has actually caused far more harm than this was intended to fix.

    My next step is to write my local congressman, my two state senators and the Governor. Calling DMV and the BAR seem to be ineffective.

    Someone with more direct knowledge of the failings of this system needs to start an online petition. Put it on Facebook and via email and watch it hit it’s goal easily.

    credo.com is a good place to start I think for a petition. I am sure most everyone on here will sign it.

    Ed Parry
    San Fernando Valley, CA

    1. Ed,
      Were you able to get a resolution? I too am in the valley and having this same problem. I have no idea where to go from here. Thanks!

  92. I am not a tech guy but decided to start a petition on this. This should allow us to let us voices heard to those politicians able to invoke a change in this policy.

  93. Thank you for writing to someone in the government–I found this because I am facing the exact same waste of time and resources. My car’s computer won’t show “ready” because I don’t drive my car often enough. The solution? Drive 100-350 miles until the car’s computer cycles. So, CA’s government requires me to drive more and output more pollution in order to pass a test intended to reduce pollution. You can’t make this stuff up!!!

    1. I know, right? You can’t make this stuff up!! As someone suggested above, I just called Das Williams’ office. And I’m going to call or write more government peeps. THIS INSANITY MUST BE STOPPED!!!!

  94. OMG!! I’m stuck in the same nightmare. Just took my 2013 Mercedes to be smogged, and it failed because 3 of the monitors register as “not ready.” I was told by Mercedes to drive 200 miles and then test again. I only had time for 80 miles. Well, 80 miles of mindless driving and polluting wasn’t enough because test results came out the same. I contacted the Smog Referee (any state that needs a referee for smog testing, is pretty messed up). Smog referee can only help you if ONLY 1 monitor reads “not ready.” Out of luck there. WTF??!! I’m so irate I just don’t even know what to do. Someone has got to be able to do something about this out of control situation.

  95. I just called the office of Marty Block (state senator). Talked to nice woman named Sara. If you’re so inclined to also call, the office number is 619-645-3133.

    Later on I will also call Assembly person Tony Atkins’ office. That number is 619-645-3090.

    Maybe if enough people call, they will realize there is a BIG problem, and do something about it!

  96. I have just been plunged into the same hell as the others who wrote. In my case, it involves a 1 y/o Mercedes Sprinter., which had a fault code involving the restraint system fixed. Fortunately, although I live in the People’s Republic of California, I am not required to smog check in my particular rural area (although I will have to when I sell it).
    In response to those who mentioned a class action suit against the State, I have a different idea. If I cannot get this resolved, I intend to seek a class action suit against Mercedes. Even though this is “not their fault”, they sold me a vehicle, still under warranty, that is now “defective” from the State’s point of view. I agree the rules are ludicrous, but we all have to comply with equally ludicrous rules every day It certainly isn’t my fault or responsibility. What do others think, especially those of you with vehicles still under warranty?
    Jeff

    1. Jeff…my vehicle is also a Mercedes Sprinter van!! Bureau of Automotive Repair guy told me Sprinters are known to have problems passing the smog test. Since my last post above, I’ve driven mine a total of 300 miles, and my monitors are still not complete and I couldn’t pass. I just paid $50 for an extension on my registration, and I just emailed all my documents to the Smog Ref to get an appointment. I assume they’ll give me a waiver. But, if not, then I intend to raise freakin’ hell with Mercedes, and I might contact our local TV news station to do a story on it. My Sprinter is only 2 years old. Still under warranty, just like yours. Problem with a class action suit is that it will take forever, and the attorneys walk away with all the money. And, you’ll probably have to go through another smog check while that’s all being worked out, so you’ll still be stuck in Smog Check Hell.

  97. I work in the industry and the state of California leases the smog test machines and set the parameters. Because dishonest smog frauds were removing the battery cable to reset the smog test monitors, (7 to 8 per vehicle), they were able to pass smog.

    The government got wise to this practice and required vehicles to be outfitted with monitors that would have to self-test in order for the vehicle to pass smog. Last year it was all but one monitor that had to be set, next year all monitors will set. This procedure is run through a drive cycle; driving the vehicle at different times and speeds; one being driving on the freeway without braking.

    Difficult in SoCal anytime. I remember as a child (back in the 70’s) how brown the sky was, and now it’s not. Not a tree-hugger but a fan of clean air. Can California air get any cleaner? You bet! Buy an electric car or hybrid.

  98. Going through this same crap right now! And it’s 2+ years since this article was written! And to Mark M – most people cannot just buy ‘electric or hybrid”! Let’s all buy new cars instead of finding a solution to the problem!
    My car requires a “Star Smog” and there are very few places approved to do those and I live in a large city! The mechanic says the lights shouldn’t be coming on and the problem is probably a faulty computer system so take it to a dealer! Crazy!

  99. Still no resolve to my smog check problems. I had to spend 2 hours and $50 going to DMV to get extension on my registration.
    The smog ref asked for all kinds of documentation from the Mercedes dealer. I got that. Then smog ref wanted additional testing done by the dealer. Dealer says they won’t do it (run through drive cycle) because we’ve already done it ourselves by driving 300 miles under different parameters. Just sent a semi-nasty note to smog ref. Wondering how much more of this I can take!!

  100. I too am in CA smog check hell. First of all, I did not pass yet had to pay $50.00, so I went to auto parts store and purchased the evap system for $63.00 and installed it since, I am sick of mechanics charging me an arm and a leg. I then disconnected the battery to reset the code, no check engine light and drove it for a week.
    Took the car back to have it checked again, still not passed, and another $25.00. Now I’m pissed! I drive it another week, keeping the gas between 1/4 full and 3/4 full since, I was also told that would make a difference and make passing more likely.
    I took it to a different smog place in hopes that would work but “the error code has still not cleared” despite the check engine light has been off for two weeks of continual driving back and forth to work 20 miles away.
    I am driving with expired registration and am now a ticket sitting duck! I am so tired of CA laws and legislators. Law abiding, car registrating, tax paying citizens are getting hosed!
    After I didn’t pass the guy at the place said that if I cannot afford to pay to have my car fixed I could apply for the government supported $500 smog repair exemption for low income people. This is called the Consumer Assistance Program Application. WTF!

  101. I replaced the battery in my 2007 Subaru on 7/11/15. I needed a
    smog certificate this month for my DMV registration renewal and
    my vehicle would not pass for certification. I had driven the vehicle over 700 miles after battetry replacement and was told that I needed to drive it an additional 50 to 100 miles non-stop to reset the vehicle to pass the inspection at the dealership. I asked at the dealership can’t you reset the vehicle here so that all this additional driving and mileage is not required? The dealership said no. The volkswagons have a reset button on a panel but not the Subaru or any other vehicles. This incident occurred 11/3/15 thru 11/5/15 having to spend $35.00 additional in gasoline and driving on the congested freeways to reset the vehicle after battery replacement. It finally passed the smog test on the third try. One of my neighbors had to drive their Volvo 1,000 miles after battery replacement to reset the vehicle.
    No one should need to go through this expense and waste of time. I was ready for a straight jacket after the experience. I
    did report it to my representative Alan Lowenthal.

  102. My wifes 1999 Lincoln Town car’s battery went dead while we were on an extended vacation. She drives it 1000-2 000 miles a year. It only has 82,000 miles on it. A couple of questions for anyone really in the know on this subject. Will I have the dreaded drive cycle problem? Do the diffrent items in the drive cycle reset only if done in the exact order described or do the reset individually under normal driving. If a dead battery can cause so many problems why does it not have a memory battery lke a desk top computer or night stand digital clock?
    It does not suprise my that the brain dead people at CARB have screwed everyone so bad. They have all the power and answer to only to the idiots someone ( not me ) votes into office in Sacramento.
    If it’s the computer in the car causeing the problems I’m sure some enterprising teenage could develope a hack to set the appropriate values into the memory to enable it to pass smog. And they could get rich in a hurry. If anyone out there knows of one let me know. I’m tired of my life being run by people who don’t bother to conside how their stupid regulations will affect the life of the ordinary person.
    As a parting shot I just have to add “Screw Jerry Brown ,his crony legislature and the big brother CARB……”

  103. Ontarian here…

    Can you guys still smog old cars that don’t even have computers?

    Like, introduce CARB to the CARBERATUER?

    The diesel test up here… It can’t blow black smoke at idle. That’s it

  104. I have the same problem. My wife’s car is a 2007 Honda Civic EX. There are no check engine light and no error codes. But when I went to the Smog station, I was told that the EVAP and CATALYST are not ready. I was told to drive 50+ miles. My wife has driven 1,000 miles and it’s still not ready! I brought the car to the Honda dealer in Long Beach, spent more money for them to check it. they can’t find any problem and I was told the car is in perfect condition. the car has only 35,000 miles on it. I had the 2 sensors replaced, but still not ready. I called the Honda headoffice and I was by their expert to follow the drive cycle that is on the Owner’s Manual. I’ve tried the drive cycle – unfortunately it did solve the problem. I tried it again after a week, still not ready. I’m sick and tired of this problem! I have several cars in my house for several years now and this is my first time to encounter this problem. The dealer suggested that I replace the computer (which costs $1,000+). Can somebody help me please? What’s the best thing to do here?

  105. Sam e problem, three cars since 2005. It’s basically every time I need to get a smog check, which also seems to have gone from every three to every year now. Each time new sensors, resets, driving around putting miles on the car for no reason, multiple days without car, $600-$1200, with no idea when the efforts are finally going to result in a pass, just because they are not willing to use the actual smog amount the car is producing and instead use the check engine light. It makes no sense and there can only be one reason that our politicians have left us Californians in this situation. This can only be pressure to buy a new car. There is no other possible reason for caring this much about the check engine light. There has to be a car manufacturer/dealer lobby or somebody with an interest in this pushing our politicians to make keeping our old cars hell for us under the guise of fighting smog. Californians are not being represented properly on this matter. We need a movement about this. T-Shirts with slogans saying “anti-smog is about California, anti-check-engine light is about big business!”, or actually hopefully something wittier, but something obviously has to change.

  106. I have a 2000 Pathfinder we use for Costco runs, etc. and doesn’t get much use. Consequently, the battery died, the OBD computers reset, and I too was in smog check hell. I found a solution on the Nissan help forums (x.nissanhelp) that said I needed to put the vehicle through a Drive Cycle Initialization and posted a chart from the manufacturers detailed manual on how to accomplish this. The sequence entails starting up the vehicle and allowing it to idle for 90 seconds; then getting on the freeway and driving at a steady speed between 53mph and 60mph, targeting 56mph. Then stop – then go – then stop – the go… several times for specific intervals. There’s a strange requirement to lift your foot off the accelerator pedal in the beginning for 10 seconds where I almost got run over. But it actually worked. Today the OBDs were ready and smog check passed.

  107. amen. I am at the dmv right now requesting an extension on my new used car on account of this smog sensor nonsense. drove from sf bay area to sacramento on the advice of the smog station guy, to do nothing other than reset the computer. didnt work. if my car was actually polluting then fine. but it is not. considering the number of people dealing with this hell the system needs to be changed.

  108. I brought my 2006 Honda civic hybrid in to the dealership to determine and fix the cause for the dash indicator ‘check fuel cap’ even though I hadn’t put gas in for over a week. I have no tags on account of not being able to do the smog test (readiness monitors not ready) but I’m seriously considering telling the dealership that unless they can prove the car is now fixed and monitors are ready, it’s going to stay there while I drive the rental they are paying for. Nearly 6 months without tags so why should I just ‘keep driving until the monitors are all set’??

  109. Every 2 years I go through this with 3 vehicles. Heres what i do.. Get a Harbor Freight OBD II machine., $75 bucks. Unhook the battery overnight. Rehook battery. Get on the freeway for 30 minutes or more stay at 60-70 mph. Go home hook up tool. It will tell you which monitors are working. 2000 and older cars can ignore one not working monitor. For EVAP I cleaned out the hose and canister. For CAT I replaced the CAT. etc…Its worked every time for me. If it gets really bad call your sketchiest friend and ask who they know that will pass the car..

  110. But seriously just unhook the battery overnight, rehook and try again a few days later. Repeat. Every smog guy i know will whip out a handheld scanner and tell you if it will pass or not before you pay for a test

  111. I am having a similar issue only I put my car on my reader before taking it in to smog to make sure it would pass. After getting to the shop the mechanic came out and said my catalyst was failing and that I couldn’t pass. I know my engine like the back of my hand no codes in my computer, and no check engine light. Two years prior the same smog shop told us our Elantra passed better than 80% of the cars coming in….so what changed. Could be a coincidence and I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Ive taken countless vehicles I have owned in to the shops and never had an issue until now. Yes I’m pretty upset with all my knowledge and taking it to verious shops I still have the same answer…there isnt anything wrong with your car keep driving it. The point of having a vehicle smogged is to make sure that its running clean. Seems to me I’m not the only one running my car for miles and miles wasting precious gas and putting more emissions into the air. Someone high up is definitely not focused on the emissions and I definitely agree with others something needs to change. Some people have enough money to blow on there car but I myself cant affored to spend this much to fix nothing on my car.

  112. Am going through exactly same thing , and realize I’m doomed to the same hell as everyone who posted here. Yesterday, my 1999 Jeep GC with 111k miles on it- passed all the vehicle emissions but the OBC can’t be read (it has never failed smog before, and is well loved and kept)…he kept asking me if my battery was failing, don’t think so, year old Interstate battery…. tells me to drive it for 150 miles and bring it back…..! I feel like I am being driven right out of California, by all the politico hacks that run this state.

  113. I stumbled on this post because I encountered the same issue with my car. It was not driven for more than 6 months as I was working on out of state project and filed for NOOP status with DMV. Now when I went for renewal, the smog nightmare started.
    Smog tech says because of new battery, the configuration is off and I must drive it 20 miles/day for 7 days. I said I don’t have the registration. He said you cant have it unless your car passes smog. He suggested to remove the registration sticker. I freaked out because I am a responsible law abiding citizen. Went to DMV, but they will only give moving permit for SMOG/auto repair and it is only valid for the day specified. What is wrong with these people? Our law makers are living in first world country and making policies which are worse than a 3rd world corrupted and broken system. Now I have no option left to get my car on the road. Looks like there is always a heavy price attached to doing anything ‘honestly’.

  114. It’s 2/16 and my sister is going through this exact foolishness right now. DMV suggested she “retire” her perfectly running 2016 Chevy Tahoe and they’ll give her UP TO $1500. Up. To.

    The Chevy service department says the emissions are fine, but she has to keep driving the car. She’s gotten 2 citations for driving without current registration! The next traffic stop, her car will be impounded!!

    What the HELL?!

  115. You must look up the “drive cycle” for each vehicle. I Googled drive cycle for a 2003 Porsche 996 and I got one for a Porsche 993. Bottom line, I did what it instructed and it finally reset the computer. Without the instructions, I would never have stumbled onto the drive pattern required to reset the cars computer.
    1. I had to start engine, idle cold 2 min 10 sec.
    2. Next, accelerate 20-30 mph, maintain for 3 min 15 sec
    3. Accelerate 40-60, maintain for 15 min
    4. Decelerate; stop, then idle for 5 min – in neutral
    * the tricky part was to keep RPMs below 3000 and mph below 60 mph!

    The other tricky part I kept hitting stop signs or lights so I had to drive under 60 mph for 15 min on the fray – all the while folks riding my $&& wanting me to speed up that slow @&& Porsche. One was a tiny smart car who loved riding my bumper. If u go above 3000 rpm or above 60 mph during the process, just do that portion again. You don’t have to start all over cold…Really was a trick starting out and shifting so quickly to keep RPMs below 3000. I would never have done that without purposely trying. Hope this helps someone. Saved me a trip to a smog referee. Kali is so,awesome except for our politics and emissions regs. Emission nsx testing should only fail a car that pollutes too much, not just because a onboard computer is “not ready”. Lord bless!

  116. I have been a smog tech in So Cal for over 30 years now and understand the frustration.

    It was easy for the BAR to say a car will pass with two moniters not ready and then tell the technicians if they pass a car with more than one not ready that will affect their abillity to keep their license.

    This whole grading system they imposed on techs was a bunch of crap like saying we are not running the car in the correct gear because the RPM wasn’t within range. Like I have control over how and when a auto transmission shifts on the dyno. In the end like anything else if you figure out what they want to see, you can play their game. Unfortunately the consumer is not always on the winning end of this deal. But now in my mid 50s I need to keep my smog license or I’m delivering pizzas.

    Now it doesn’t matter with the new system. Only one moniter not ready is allowed and on 2000 and newer it is only the EVAP moniter not ready allowed. No longer checking tailpipe emissions means the car must test itself (yeah, that’s the ticket) and not ready means that it can’t.

    My own 2001 Toyota would not run the catalyst moniter for over a year after I put in a new battery even driving up and down the freeway. But after my kid drove it for a day during a driving lesson it somehow set. So if you can’t get the moniters to run maybe try letting your children drive the vehicle.

  117. So since my last post February 17th I just wanted to post that we still haven’t been able to solve the issue with my car. I looked up all the drive cycles ran them up and down the road 8 times or more with no luck. Even followed what the smog mechanic recommended which was to drive it to the next town basically.
    So we have bit the bullet and are trying to chew on a $1000 dollar new catalytic converter in hopes that even though the car doesn’t have any codes in the system and no check engine light that this will fix the problem. If it doesn’t we are going to be sent to a smog REF and hope to see if we can get the car waived until the next smog…and by then maybe the catalyst will have reset. Again lets take our car out on the road and put that many more Carbs in the air. I’m driving around in a car that potentially has no issues with it …and then I pull out on the freeway to go to work and see these vehicles that are fogging the road. Makes no sense no sense at all.

  118. I have a 2002 Saturn VUE 3.0L and I have to take the car to a STAR station for the smog test. It passed previously. It was rarely driven over the year. I had the oil changed, filled the gas tank, took it into get smog tested. It had 4 codes showing “inc”. I was told to drive for 50 miles, so I drove on the highway for 50 miles, and still had two left (one was EVAP). I was then told to drive in different conditions, so I drove on an expressway. I drove on combination of highway/expressway again. Still had a couple of codes still showing. After more driving, I attached an OBDII monitor, which showed all codes cleared. I went into the Smog shop, and it then showed the same original 4 codes showing up again, though they had just cleared. I drove the car to work for 3 days (combination highway/city driving), and the Bluetooth OBDII monitor again indicated all codes were cleared. I again took it to the Smog shop, and apparently the test is run three times? In any case, the first time it passed, but then the next time the original 4 codes came back, and it failed. They didn’t know what the problem was and suggested I take it to the dealer, so I have an appointment for next Friday.
    Any suggestions? I’m not a car-savvy person, just want to get the car to pass the smog test.

  119. I have a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and I can’t pass the EVAP system. Mechanic at the Chevy dealer in Redlands California told me that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my truck I just have to take it through drive cycles. So around $450 cash 2300 miles I’m driving and I still have the EVAP system preventing me from getting my smog certificate. I wish something could be done . They have to drive without my sticker.

  120. I just recently experienced the California smog torture system. I have a 2008 Roush P-51A Mustang (fairly rare collectors vehicle that only 151 were made). I took the vehicle in for the required smog test which shouldn’t have been a problem because it has passed 3 prior tests with no issues. The vehicle only has 1900 miles on it because it is stored and rarely driven except for shows. (It’s basically a new vehicle). The smog technician informed me basically the same thing that the laws have changed and its reading on the OBD II reader that the catalyst and evap system both are not showing ready. I get told to go drive the vehicle for thirty minutes and bring it back. I complete this only to find out that nothing has changed. So they get some info from Ford that tells them the driving pattern that it takes to get the computer to show “Ready”. This included everything from driving at 5 constant speeds at 5 minutes, stopping and accelerating to 60 mph. So after completing these tasks nothing has changed and I again get told to drive the vehicle some more. I finally broke down and purchased my own reader so I could check its status without waiting 30 minutes at a smog shop 5 times in one day only to be told “It’s still not showing ready”. After putting more than 300 miles on the car the evap finally showed ready but the catalyst was not. I finally talked to someone at Ford who told me that performance vehicles like the Shelby Mustang, Roush Mustang, some Corvettes and about 50 other various makes have this issue. The only way to get the catalyst to show “ready” is to take the car out and redline it in every gear. (Basically drive it like a maniac and cause a ton of pollutants to belch out of the exhaust). Well this actually worked. So here’s a vehicle that probably doesn’t get driven 150 miles and year very easily. However in order to get it to finally pass the California Smog test it had to have over 350 miles put on it in 4 days, use over two tanks of gas ran through it, then finally driven like Jeff Gordon at the Daytona 500 while coughing out black smoke into the air. This is typical California….SMH. I would hope that eventually someone files a class action suit against The California Air Resources Board, Bureau of Automotive Repair, and the Department of Motor Vehicles to put a stop to this nonsense.

  121. F*ck this shit! My 99 mustang gt convertible isn’t passing cause of some bullshit…. My car is fine drives better than ever & still won’t pass the damn test…..

  122. Wish I could say third time is the charm….but we are way past the third time. I’m taking my pefectly running car with no codes and no check engine light into the state Ref this morning. We will see what they say. Again when they were performing the exhaust tests not once did I have an issue. Only now that they are only performing the computer test has this become an issue.

  123. Ha ha ha ha haaaaaa! Still didnt pass and the state ref now says I have to get a diagnostic done. When will this end??? We thought we had our paperwork in order…well what will they come up with next?

  124. Count me in on any class action. Auburn Toyota just did $600 worth of work just to tell me that another $2100 worth of work “might” fix the problem. The smog referee says I’m “SOL”. The only problem is the catalyst readiness monitor, and I’ve been driving it for years without disconnecting the battery or clearing codes. The thing runs perfect! No check engine lights! The most reliable car I’ve ever owned and now it’s worthless! I can’t even legally sell it. Anyone want a 2000 Sienna in excellent condition?
    First they said it was the thermostat, then they said it was o2 sensor, now they say it’s the catalytic converter. It’s an expensive guessing game and the consumer loses every time. Thanks EPA!

  125. I’m being forced to buy a new car because I have, apparently, two bad catalytic converters that are causing my check engine light to come on. You cannot pass a smog test with this light on. It is cost prohibitive for me to repair.

    This is, generally, what we should expect by allowing our government to have this much power. Also, you have to ask, how much influence do companies have in getting these “environmental laws” passed that favor them and only cost the consumer?

  126. I have been going through the same thing that many of you have: Smog check, cat no ready. Contatacted BAR Ref. They provided a list of vague steps to take to car dealer. Car dealer ran a test on my battery and showed it needed to be replaced. Replaced battery. Drive 1 week. Back to Smog check and still a problem. Drive another week. Made an appointment with Referee. They sent me to a Community College. I went to my appointment. They now showed 3 not ready states. This was probably because my battery was replaced. They gave me a list of places I had to go to. I went on line and did my best to check out their reputations.

    I got lucky! I found a mechanic who spent 4 hours with my car, testing it and driving it to get the readiness states removed. The entire cost was 186.04, which included 50 for the Smog Check again with him and 99 that was initially estimated for the analysis and 50 to perform drive cycles. Then a -20 auto club discount. On my way home I stopped and got my stickers. Done!

    1. Hi Deborah, can i ask you where you went to get this done?
      i’m in O.C.. sure need help on this.. Were facing the same mess with our car. Thanks

  127. 2010 Toyota Corolla: Changed battery in November 2015. 46,000 miles.
    April 26th, 2016 went to get smog check 1st time for this car. 46,858 miles. FAILED
    Catalyst: Not ready Oxygen Sensor: Not Ready Sign is shop said if battery had been changed car needs to be driven 100 miles to reset computer. At that time I had driven 858 miles. Tech told me to drive the car another 150 miles. Took a trip to Fort Bragg round trip was over 400 miles. June 4th – FAILED AGAIN SAME PROBLEM. Tech told me to drive 100 miles in hills drove 100 miles June 6th FAILED AGAIN had paid $39.95 for smog check…..Paid Registration it was due. TECH SAID to drive more. I said there is a problem. Took to my mechanic he said car is fine no check engine light on. diagnostic test will not find any thing don’t pay for one. Got on You tube they talked about a drive cycle I tried it to hard to do in San Jose to many cars.
    Took car to Toyota dealership. They Performed road tests to complete monitor status of CAT and 02 REINITIALIZED SYSTEM AS PER TOYOTA TECHSTREAM MACHINE, SET ALL PARAMETERS TO SPECS AND RETESTED ALL READING NORMAL NOW. Charged $208.20.
    This process is so wrong in so many ways…… This is not the drivers fault yet we are being punished. We should not have to go to half a dozen locations to find the right one.
    Who should be responsible? Why can’t the computer reset all
    sensors? Why can’t the smog inspection location set the computer on the car? We should not be billed $208.20 for this process. HELP !!!!!!!!

    1. Yes we are facing a similar expense but because we have a JAG its $350. We havent done it yet since they told us it still might fail. This car has NEVER failed. The test is flawed. Anyway The hubby wants to try to drive it more to see if that will work. This is total Bull. Please call your local news. Thats what i’m doing. I already emailed several stations along with Joel Grover.. We need to make some noise and be heard!!!

    2. After reading all of this I am seriously considering trading my 07 Fit for 1966 Fiat 124 sedan.
      No ABS, no SRS, no EFI, 4 spd MT, 1.3 L 0 to 60 in 10 seconds, 26 MPG.
      I am driving 8000 miles per year (thanks to restricted license) and don’t think that this car will emit lot of pollution:)

  128. I think CA creates difficulties to pass smog test for the only one reason: to push owners to buy hybrid/ electric cars. It’s just crazy very new car can’t pass smog because of OBDII is not ready. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!! Mr. Brown please get your attention to this problem(we voted for ya).

  129. This has worked for me before (got it from YouTube) and you need at least a 1/2 tank of gas and no more than 3/4 and a code reader (cost little or nothing on amazon ): In the morning (when car has sat overnight/cold) start car and turn defrost on high. Let car idle for about 5 to 10 minutes. Now, leave defrost on (let windows down if its spring or summer)and take car out for a 30 to 45 minute drive on freeway/highway(keep speed above 55 but below 65- I know most highways are at 65 now so watch out) . Now, the hard part. after ample time (in our eyes) find a place where you can let the car coast to a stop (do not-I repeat do not touch the brakes or you will have to start over the next day.When it gets to a really low speed you can use the e-brake ) Let car idle for 3-5 minutes . Return home (if u can use surface streets to get home even better) and check code reader to see if some or all monitors are ready ( if not you may have to repeat this after car has sat overnight ) I’ve been lucky enough to only have to do it two days in a row, at most. Good luck

    1. I went to smog repair shop & the guy said you need to change thermostat. So now I have to start from scratch again & drive, drive, drive…. How many miles? Only god knows. It should not be that difficult to go through all this crap. Also carmakers must make it much easier & faster for the cars computer to pass all monitors. Why we have to go through this smog hell.

    2. Forgot to say that the defroster and the a/c must be placed on high when you start the car for this. If its hot roll those windows down.

  130. My registration expired and the DMV says it needs a smog check and for that they will issue a permit to only drive to the smog check station and back home valid one day only. OK. It hasn’t been driven in 5 years. Naturally the OBDII computer is not in a ready state and won’t be until several days driving of 60 miles or more according to the smog station. Additionally, my insurance company won’t provide insurance until it has current registration. So I need registration to get insurance and to drive it to get a smog certification to get registration. What kind of BS Catch-22 have I been subjected to? I can’t even sell it without a smog cert, etc. So California is telling me it has to sit in my driveway for eternity? Thanks guys! Maybe you should consider keeping your money-grabbing schemes feasible.

  131. Don’t worry guys. The problem isn’t your car, it’s California. Ever scene I moved out of the state, my car, my wife, my children and life have all got better.

  132. Yahoo! I finally passed smog(2 months later) after the new air filter & thermostat were installed & about 140 miles ‘drive cycle’. Also make sure the gas tank slightly more than a half full. GOOD LUCK!

  133. Hello just found this blog.
    We are having same issues with our 2003 Jaguar.
    Has anybody thought to call Joel Grover,, i think thats his name?
    This needs to make the news people.. CA cant suddenly change the way they do a smog check and expect the dealerships to take care of their customers! I called that stupid Ref thing too! It did nothing. All they did was tell me the dealer needs to follow a check list and it wont cost me anything! THAT was B.S,, Jaguar told us they will charge us 350 minimum and that there was no guarantee the car would pass. Something MUST be done. I’ll call Joel, David Horowitz, whoever I have to. I suggest you all do the same.. Together they need to listen to us. I’m a native Californian and have always paid the high fees and faithfully done a Smog check when required.
    This is an outrage! PS. AAA was NO help at all either! They act like they have no idea this is even happening!

  134. Wow! It just happened to me and my first time here in Las Vegas, I just had an oil change yesterday from my dealer, I have an Audi Q7 2007 and I never had any problem on smog test until now. After my oil change I went straight to the smog shop and din not get any results, I was told to drive it at least 50 miles and I did. But today I went back to a different shop still no results! Now by reading all the comments here, I can be driving for hundreds of miles and might still have the same problem. My car is fine by the way, properly maintained. I’m gonna start to drive more for few more days like normal in the city, I just hope mine will be successful getting smog results after that.

  135. Also, here is the generic drive cycle procedure for OBD2.

    To perform an OBDII Driving cycle do the following:
    •Cold Start. In order to be classified as a cold start the engine coolant temperature must be below 50°C (122°F) and within 6°C (11°F) of the ambient air temperature at startup. Do not leave the key on prior to the cold start or the heated oxygen sensor diagnostic may not run.

    2.Idle. The engine must be run for two and a half minutes with the air conditioner on and rear defroster on. The more electrical load you can apply the better. This will test the O2 heater, Passive Air, Purge “No Flow”, Misfire and if closed loop is achieved, Fuel Trim.

    3.Accelerate. Turn off the air conditioner and all the other loads and apply half throttle until 88km/hr (55mph) is reached. During this time the Misfire, Fuel Trim, and Purge Flow diagnostics will be performed.

    4.Hold Steady Speed. Hold a steady speed of 88km/hr (55mph) for 3 minutes. During this time the O2 response, air Intrusive, EGR, Purge, Misfire, and Fuel Trim diagnostics will be performed.

    5.Decelerate. Let off the accelerator pedal. Do not shift, touch the brake or clutch. It is important to let the vehicle coast along gradually slowing down to 32km/hr (20 mph). During this time the EGR, Purge and Fuel Trim diagnostics will be performed.

    6.Accelerate. Accelerate at 3/4 throttle until 88-96 km/hr (55-60mph). This will perform the same diagnostics as in step 3.

    7.Hold Steady Speed. Hold a steady speed of 88km/hr (55mph) for five minutes. During this time, in addition to the diagnostics performed in step 4, the catalyst monitor diagnostics will be performed. If the catalyst is marginal or the battery has been disconnected, it may take 5 complete driving cycles to determine the state of the catalyst.

    8.Decelerate. This will perform the same diagnostics as in step 5. Again, don’t press the clutch or brakes or shift gears.

    1. Dear V. Jones-

      Are you kidding? Should people really be forced to go through all of this? That said, none of this is a concern for me, as I have moved out of California. But….are you kidding? There isn’t an easier way to get a car smog-checked? The Cali state legislature needs to get off the dime and fix this.

    2. @ V. Jones. Thanks. The hard part is where you can easily do this in our area (Bay Area CA). Any tip out who done it here?

      1. @Tivo532

        I live out where there are some long wine country roads. So, I’m able to do this stupid crap if I have to ( and I have had to). Usually, after the first time most will get in ready status .But, the two monitors that are the hardest to get in ready status (on my MBZ) are the Evap (check the gasket on your fuel cap and change it or buy a new fuel cap) and Secondary Air (may be carbon deposits blocking the valve check it and clean it and lines if needed). I have another process (that doesn’t involve all the idling and coasting) in a previous post above. Good Luck

  136. Dear, Ron Olsen

    I’m not a fan of this crap either. Look at all the stuff you have to do to get the monitors ready. It just seems like a lot of red tape to force you into buying a new car every 5th year. My last 3 cars have had issues with smog tests. Everything from the smog tech not entering a CARB E.O.# for an aftermarket certified part, not realizing a emissions part recall and removal, to not knowing how to smog a car properly (they dinged you as a gross polluter a few years ago). My latest had to do with a CLK 55 that had battery issues (got all the monitors ready then battery went dead) . So don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just trying to pass on what has worked for me. Congrats, on moving out of this state. I envy you.

  137. 2010 Chrysler Sebring. Got a new engine at 72,000 miles, on warranty! 8,000 miles later it won’t pass smog because of two sensors “have not reset, etc.” Going out tonight to do the road work recommended. Absurd. Not a happy camper!

  138. I feel your pain. 2002 Chevy 3500 diesel with OBDII not clearing the egr valve monitor. $60 to star smog station fail, $50 to DMV for temporary op permit, $300 to dealership to find out egr valve fine and update to software that did not fix the issue. $850 in lost wages and fuel running around. Finally $8.00 at the BAR referee to get a one time exemption certificate. All this because a stupid monitor won’t tell the state of CA our truck is running perfectly.

  139. OMG it is absolutely ridiculous! I have been driving all over the place just as I was told and also on how the “Drive Cycle” is written to do. Still won’t pass. I have had my car retested 6 times! The dealership said that they could get it to pass; however, it would cost me $120 an hour to have my car on the machine that simulates driving. No way! I have a 2008 Nissan Rogue and it only has 49,000 miles on it. So far I have put close to 1,000 just to try to get it to pass. Isn’t the whole purpose of smog check not to put out bad emission? Then why in the hell do we have to drive all over the state to try to get the thing to pass. Fed up!

  140. It’s interesting to read the comments here. I’m 71 and am driving a car (1997 ford escort) that was my mom’s until she died in 2003. It had 45,000 miles on it when she died, and now it has 55,00 miles on it, which includes the first 3,000 miles driving it from Massachusetts to California . That calculates to my driving it about 500 miles a year, which makes sense since I live in San Francisco where a car is usually unnecessary except for schlepping groceries. I keep the car maintained, and it always passed the California smog tests before, but yesterday it failed for the first time. The mechanic said there was nothing wrong with the car: it had passed the actual smog check with flying colours except for the mysterious computer. He said I should drive the 200 miles to do something called a “drive cycle”, then bring it back in. That’s more than I normally drive in three months, so it seems more than just unnecessary if the aim is really to decrease smog in the state: it seems downright counterproductive. I looked up what a “drive cycle” might be but the answers were all over the park, so I still don’t know. As to the “check engine” light, that comes on when I first put the key in the ignition or start the engine (I don’t remember which), but then a second or two after I’ve started, it goes out just as it should. I don’t often drive on the freeway, but even if I did it would be suicidal to drive at 60 or 70 mph and then slow down to 30 mph ON THE FREEWAY! Are the people here who advocate that just nuts? Actually I suppose they work for the state DMV because there is a pattern to such insane comments that come from just a handful of people here, and it gets easy to spot those people after reading a number of other posts that
    contain rational comments coming from people having a real nightmare experience. When I drove home after the check failed today, I ran into a neighbor near my flat, and she said she had had the same experience once, but she just drove for 30 miles instead of the 200 miles, and when she took her car back to the station and it passed. I guess I’ll start by doing that. It seems to be a crap shoot whether one’s car will pass the computer part of the smog test, even if the car is in perfect condition and passes all the real smog testing with flying colours. It was three weeks after I got the biannual DMV notification for a “STAR” smog test that I took the car in, because the notification arrived just before I was headed up to Alaska to visit my son, so I have less time now than others do to keep retesting the car and hoping it will pass next time. In Alaska, the smog test has been discontinued. I suppose the citizens there have managed to get the test abolished after they had the same experience that the people here who are not just bureaucratic mouthpiece plants are experiencing, about the absurdity of arbitrary regulations in a supposed smog test that have absolutely nothing to do with whether a car is actually producing excessive pollution. California is a lot more entrenched with Big Brother ideology than Alaska though, and once a bureaucratic absurdity becomes law here, it’s almost impossible to get rid of it, so I suppose we’ll be stuck with this in California until long after I’m dead, no matter how many people get trapped by it and understandably infuriated by the absurdity of being expected to pay thousands of dollars for something that’s increasingly realized to have absolutely nothing to do with pollution. Bureaucracy has a life of its own, as evidenced by the comments from the handful of apparent bureaucrats here.

  141. P.S. I remembered since my last post that a couple of weeks after I got my clutch replaced a couple of months ago, I was parked in New Chinatown, and when I got back to the car, it wouldn’t start and the overhead light didn’t come on. I jiggled the connections of the battery to the car a couple of times, and that worked and the problem hasn’t recurred. That probably reset the computer though. Obviously that has absolutely nothing to do with pollution but since that was only a couple of months ago, I probably haven’t even put 100 miles on the car since. Now l’m going to have to waste time and burn gasoline, and spew exhaust fumes across the state, just to comply with
    the ironically named “smog check”. Ain’t bureaucracy
    wonderful? As Mark Twain once wrote, “Suppose you were a congressman, and suppose you were also an idiot – but I repeat myself.”

  142. UPDATE, well after over two months i’m PLEASED to tell you all that my hubbies 2002 Jag finally passed the stupid#$@@ smog check.. It only cost us over $1,800 to change all 02 censors, or whatever they are called. I had a wonderful former Jag mechanic help us. NO THANKS to Jaguar dealership! I called their headquarters and they were of no help! Plus if we had gone thru the Jag dealer it would have cost us way more. Also this man helped us with the drive cycles and wella, the catalytic converter finally said it was ready! We had to carry around one of those hand held things to hook up the cars computer.
    OK so, that’s the end of our story however, I’m upset that we had to pay for repairs that were not needed JUST to pass the freaking smog check. The only thing that needs to be repaired here folks, is the STATE of CA and their nonsensical regulations! Stop the insanity!!

  143. Hi Miracle,
    Glad to hear your troubles are at an end, though having to
    spend $1800 senselessly on “repairs” that were not needed
    sure isn’t a “happy” end. I love living in California, but I sure
    don’t love the California DMV. Stories like yours are the
    reason some people from other states call California
    “Freakafornia” and such names. Let me echo your final
    comment to the DMV “stop the insanity”, though of course
    the DMV staff will just pass the messages around the office
    and laugh at us, if even that much, because it’s not the
    DMV employees’ money that’s being thrown away.

    1. I drove 109 pointless miles yesterday, half of it on the San Francisco East Bay freeway 880 to reëstablish a stupid computer history which is all that failed on my “smog” test. I hadn’t driven that freeway for many years, and it’s absolutely scary even though I was driving about 11:00 AM, well away from rush hour. I then avoided San Jose by taking route 237, then drove back up the other side of the Bay to San Francisco along the much more leisurely El Camino Real. I’m going to drive a bit more before I retest, but I’m posting now because of something interesting I read, though I don’t know if it’s true, at:

      “http://repairpal.com/Drive-Cycle-Issues”: under “What to Do When the Drive Cycle Won’t Complete.”

      The interesting text was “Step Three: (…) Drive your vehicle to your regular shop and have them re-check your readiness monitors, present codes, and pending codes. They should do this as a courtesy and for free.”

      I don’t know if it’s really true that a shop will check your monitors for free,, but I’m going to call where I got the first test taken, to see if they’ll actually do that, before I spend money on a retest.

      I also read somewhere that your gas tank should be 30% to 70% full when you have a smog test. My tank was about 100% full, which may have contributed to the failure. What a wacko system. It’s “abusive”, there’s no other characterization for it.

  144. OMG I’m going through the same thing. Whatever happened to the main concern where air pollution derived from vehicular emission from internal combustion engines and industrial fumes that react in the atmosphere with sunlight to form secondary pollutants that also combine with the primary emissions to form photochemical smog. In certain other cities, such as Delhi, smog severity is often aggravated by stubble burning in neighboring agricultural areas. The atmospheric pollution levels of Los Angeles, Beijing, Delhi, Mexico City, Tehran and other cities are increased by inversion that traps pollution close to the ground. It is usually highly toxic to humans and can cause severe sickness, shortened life or death. It’s not even about the SMOG anymore. My car is a newer car that has sensitive sensor issues that’s all. I know it doesn’t emit smog so why shouldn’t it pass? This is insane.

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      You’re experiencing the same thing I am. My car passed the smog part of the so-called “smog check”, but that name is just propaganda since the state includes levels in the accursèd “computer” that have nothing to do with smog at all. The DMV is simply lying to us. My car is 1997 and has had to be checked at a “STAR” (or otherwise named “special”) station since at least 2012. I saw a question at a DMV site asking whether the DMV discriminates against older cars. Their response was “NO” because older cars are not held to the same emissions standards. However, if I have to go to a “STAR” station every time, which is more expensive and more inconvenient and doesn’t give free retest. That definitely IS
      discrimination. They’re just lying when they say they don’t discriminate. In the USA today, there’s no such thing as “truth”. If people don’t buy the nonsense one is pushing, that just means one isn’t “spinning” one’s nonsense well enough. I’m as disgusted as I can be.

      I hope your situation ultimately works out without too much more angst, although dealing with a faceless bureaucracy is always a nightmare scenario, and one has no control over it because one doesn’t know when the Sword of Damocles is going to fall on one – in this case on the basis of Big-Brother’s so-called “smog” regulations that have nothing to do with actual smog. It’s too bad we can’t vote on getting the DMV more responsive to facts and to the will of the people.

      I haven’t found any %^&*$# “STAR” stations that offer a free retest if one fails, so I guess I’m just going to have to spend another $30. Whether my car will pass the computer jimjabbery next time, despite my having put 109 pointless miles on it since the computer levels rejection, heaven only knows: I have no control over it. It’s a horrible situation, not that the DMV gives a damn what we think.

  145. My car passed the retest after I’d polluted the atmosphere and wasted gasoline by driving 109 pointless miles so as to establish a history on my car’s computer in order that it could pass the thereby comically (if it weren’t also tragically) misnamed “smog check”. So my troubles are over at least until the next “smog check”. My sympathies to those posting here who are still being burnt at the stake in “California smog check hell”.

  146. I am in the Bay area. Today I went to a test center for smog test required by DMV for registration process since my car is 6 years old. I don’t drive often as I am working from home and my office is just 10 mins driving away. My car is still pretty new but we didn’t pass the test, the guy said there is no enough data and the report shows OBDII not ready. The suggestion is to drive 100 miles and he suggests me do this in the night when there aren’t many cars on freeway. I feel it’s quite wired and rediculous. I called another test center who says not driving too much won’t be an issue here but once he knows I have been a test center already then he rejected to help anymore.

    I have no problem of taking the test but the only way to pass it is burning more gas unnecessarily and wasting my time and money, which just does not make any sense, and counteracts the purpose of the test.

  147. I’m in the same boat as many others have been here…2000 Toyota Camry, 170,000 miles…not driven much on the highway anymore as I work at home. Passed my last smog check in 2014, but had to get a new battery in June 2015 …took it in last month for the smog check and had the dreaded “one incomplete monitor” (catalyst)…was told to “drive it on the highway,” but that didn’t solve it.

    Further research (including this blog entry) revealed, of course, that it ain’t the number of miles, but the type of miles – and the specific drive cycle. Well, I’ve attempted the Toyota drive cycle for the catalyst monitor for my specific model/year two times now, and still no relief…although trying to complete it per the instructions here in Los Angeles is a tricky proposition, to say the least, so who knows if I’m even getting the cycle driven properly.

    Mechanic says car is fine otherwise…I maintain it regularly and it runs great, but I suppose that catalyst monitor hasn’t reset since I got the new battery – and perhaps never will! Registration expires next week – I’ve paid the fee already, but will need to get a Temporary Operating Permit soon to get a two-month extension.

    The whole process is ridiculous. If I can’t get the monitor to reset and can’t find anything wrong with the car – I’m faced with having to junk it two months from now. Can’t afford a new car – or a good used one. Mine runs just fine, thank you.

    I’ve lived in California all my life, but right now I hate this state with a passion.

    1. If the state would just get rid of this “drive cycle” bullcrap that has nothing to do with smog, people would have a lot less trouble passing the so-called “smog check”. Who asked for these accursèd computers to be installed in cars anyway, that get reset if all one does is change the battery or if it otherwise
      becomes momentarily disconnected? It sure wasn’t me. All that really counts for smog is the tailpipe exhaust. The rest is meddlesome and merciless Big-Brotherism. That’s the direction toward which bureaucracies always progress, to inflate their own self-importance at the expense of the middle-class from whom they are completely remote and toward whose consequent difficulties they display nothing but the most cavalier disregard.

    2. Agreed and Californians are leaving this state and screwing up Ore. WA. and Colorado voting in these lunatic politicians that create this crap. My air quality is worse with everyone growing and smoking POT around my neighborhood!!!!! ASS BACKWARDS STATES.

  148. Folks, I had my 2003 Lincoln Towncar smogged 2 years ago and the technician said he had to re-set the computer. The car passed smog but, after that my gas mileage dropped from 17.5mpg city an 23mpg highway to 13.5 period!!! Went back to the smog station and asked what he did. Technician had a funny look on his face but said he did nothing to the car. I have an ODB2 scanner and have checked the car several times and everything checks good. Took the car back to the same place this year for a smog and he didn’t even put it on the treadmill. Plugged into the computer and said it passed. WTF is going on in this state. I know they want older large cars like mine off the road but I will register it in Arizona before I quit driving it.

  149. I can not drive my 2012 Passat TDI since 11/15. It does not pass the smog check. The VW service department tested the car three times and run the car 300 miles , but could not fix the car.
    If someone has any idea what to do please let me know.

  150. Thank you to everyone who has written with hints! It “only” took 2 days, 250 miles, 2/3 tank of gas (about a month’s worth of driving for me) and several hours reading about the issue online. FIVE visits to the smog check place, and a thumbs up to Yucaipa Smog , as they did not take advantage of me, didn’t charge for the retest until I passed. $80 total – $45 to fail plus $35 to pass. Also found a nice road to run at 55 mph – try that on the 10 freeway… Gilman Springs road, off the 60 just as you’re coming out of the hills (driving west on the 60) I was able to maintain 55 most of the way to Gilman Springs, a nice run of about 10 miles each way.
    2001 Honda CRV, with 150K. Had to use a STAR smog check, still don’t understand that one…
    I am grateful to everyone who posted with good advice! This ordeal apparently could have been a heck of a lot worse.

  151. I have driven hundreds of miles and the computer will NOT check the oxygen sensors. I even have a $500 state voucher to cover repairs, but no repairs are needed, sensors are JUST FINE. Car only has 56K miles even though it’s a 2002 Suzuki.
    How in the world can I get my car to pass this smog test?
    All I did is replace the gas cap and BOOM… car is now considered a ‘junk heap’?
    I have called CAP/BAR, they want me to go to a ‘referee station’ that does nothing but test it again, cannot do any repairs, but no repairs are needed anyways so I’m not going to waste more time.

    ANYONE HAVE A CLUE HOW I CAN PASS THE TEST?

    Been doing all the driving ‘tricks’ for a solid month.
    I would like to have my life back with my car to drive.

  152. Well being a good earth minded citizen, I often take a bus or bike or carpool when I can. I only have 35000 miles on my 2002 Silverado. My battery just went out ! It ruined my chance of passing a smog test …ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
    So in the state of Ca.,.. if you have to disconnect your battery,.. you are screwed? Really? How many tens of thousands of people does THAT happen to every month?
    And now we all have to drive hundreds of miles burning gas and creating POLLUTION to pass a rigged test that I otherwise would not do? HOW DOES THAT SAVE US FROM SMOG – IN Gov Rainbow Brown its a FACT YOU ARE FORCING ME TO CREATE SMOG BECAUSE I NEEDED A NEW BATTERY? WHAT A HORROR GOV RAINBOW BROWN IS AND HIS LIBBIE HIPPIE TAXING HAPPY MORONS.
    How are they saving us from POLLUTION when they force every person that changes a battery to drive HUNDREDS OF MILES?
    FAKE LAWS- FAKE POLITICIANS- FAKE RESULTS- SHAME – SHAME – SHAME-

    1. Got a new battery over a year ago, and was stuck in the same hell with one monitor still incomplete. When I finally got my situation resolved (after paying a shop to do the drive cycle, plus the cost for a second smog check), the mechanic there sympathized with the same complaints you mentioned. He placed the blame squarely on Governor Brown, noting the new test doesn’t even check emissions . . . no tailpipe test anymore, just OBDII.

      My mechanic and I concluded Brown & his ilk believe forcing you to buy a brand new car with supposedly “better” emissions standards is infinitely preferable to your 14-year-old car still being on the road “polluting” the atmosphere . . . perverse logic that makes no sense at all.

      I spent nearly $200 on my smog check this year (two tests at two different places, plus the “drive cycle” charge) . . . not even counting my $102 registration renewal fee. Loads of fun, and I sure hope I don’t have to disconnect my battery during the next two years!

  153. As noted, I managed to pass the smog test after only driving 109 miles, half on the scary 880 Freeway on the east side of San Francisco Bay, and half at a much more leisurely pace along El Camino Real back to San Francisco. That’s more miles than I drive in the average month. A week ago though, my taillights stayed on all the time. The problem was a little plastic plug that broke in the mechanism that makes the rear lights go out when you remove your foot out from the brake. (Why would anybody design a part that’s subject to repetitive stress out of PLASTIC??? It boggles the mind! Anyhow I had to disconnect my battery overnight or it would run down with the rear lights on. I considered getting out of bed a couple of times a night and driving around for 20 miles or so until I went to get the mechanism fixed, but the appointment was three days away. I sure hope that in two years I won’t have to go through the same performance I went through this year, because I had to disconnect my battery in the interim. Good luck to everybody here who’s still in hell. If I weren’t 71 years old, I might have tried to replace the plug myself, or if my son were here he could have done it. Replacing the plastic part looked just as easy as in the video at the URL below: it took the mechanic less than a minute, but I don’t mind getting it done because the battery connection was all rusted out and my serpentine cable was full of cracks, both of which problems do need to be addressed. Below is the video, for a Ford Escort, if you ever have the same problem with the rear lights staying on. There are similar videos for other cars.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vFq_aydwUs

  154. Hi I know it’s been awhile since your post I was wondering if you ever solved the problem ?? It took me at least $4500 worth of parts that I didn’t need my car did the same as your’s But after a lot of research I find out the fast and easy way boy was I ever pissed My OBDII would not register said NOT READY than it said Secondary Air System but every thing on top passed I took it to the dealer and they to said nothing was wrong but they asked for me to keep it over night Remember just like you nothing was wrong !! It started with oxygen sensors than filter , spark plugs, oil chng. transmission flush air conditioner serviced , than a new air conditioner motor, an air flow valve all that I had fixed for something that nothing was wrong but still it wasn’t Ready than they tell me I’ll need a new OBDII that’s another $1400 but they did mention there not even sure that will work what a joke !!!! My car has been in the shop for over a wk . in the mean time I”ve been searching every web page for an answer and finally I found one on a talk post where people ask for help or the give advice several people had the same problem after a year one guy final got the answer and fixed his car and passed the Smog test everyone else’s has followed his advice and wham there cars passed the test … But he’s the real kick in the ass the car dealerships have known how to resolve this problem for a long time but when you take it in they put you through the let’s try putting or changing this part so by the time the really fix it you go out of there several thousand of dollars out of your pocket if you want to pass you smog test and There’s no way anyone can drive the cold start corse safely and that was what the smog guy told me I had to drive to cold start up to make it work. But here you go the fast and very easy way to get the OBDII to clear the NOT READY Take it to a Smog test & Repair Station they have the diagnostic machine that can reset the ECM Valves and perform a jump start on the cold start on the OBDII to turn of the NOT READY “””” funny thing though I was told that the car dealerships have the same machine “”” My cars still in the shop but come 8:00 Monday I’m going there to pick my car up and take it to the test & repair station and if it fixes the problem all hell’s going to break loose in my town well I stop back by to let you know if the easy fix solved my problem as it did for a lot a people that were struggling with the same problem for a long time well I hope your wife’s car was finally fixed…

  155. I have been trying to get my car to pass for almost 3 months. CAP is even trying to help me. THIS LAW IS A SCAM!!! My car only has 56K miles on it although it is a 2002 and Suzuki no longer makes cars so there isn’t even a factory mechanic to take it go so I’m being reamed by these smog check stations. WHY IN THE WORLD would anyone get a ‘smog check only’ on their registration? AND THEN NOT PASS and be forced to pay for a 2nd smog check at a smog and repair station? AND THEN still have to do all those driving tricks, etc., and IT STILL DOESN’T PASS. Is it my fault Suzuki only sells motorcycles now? I’ve spent a fortune on gas driving hundreds of miles, hours and hours driving and going to different mechanics and spending time trying to work this out with CAP who can’t seem to help even though they want to. I’ve done everything to remove any carbon build up, am using the correct grade of gasoline, have a perfectly sealed gas cap, air in tires A-OK. ANY IDEAS? Why can’t the carb simply be adjusted to make sure the air/gas ratio is correct?

  156. I have been trying to get this done for 7 months now. Paid the registration fee, but now caught in this hell. And now I can’t even drive it because it will get impounded because the REGISTRATION IS EXPIRED!!!!! How can I even proceed? Any ideas anyone?

  157. I live in Riverside and had to go for my bi-yearly smog check to get my tags as per usual. Took it to my preferred place for smog checks, they couldn’t do the test because of the monitor issue and said just drive. Drove around for about a month on expired tags and took it back. Still didn’t trigger the monitors. Went out late at night and drove down the 91 to the 55 to Newport, got on the 5 and went up to the SFV and came back to riverside on the 10, Took me over three hours to make the circuit and this is late at night on clear roads so I could keep the car averaging 75 over the entire distance. over half a tank of gas later, still didn’t pass. THEN the senior mechanic and owner of the facility finally prints me out a sheet of the hoops I have to make my vehicle jump through and it turns out I didn’t even need to go on a tour of OC and Greater Los Angeles and all that money and time was a waste. I had to find a street where I could average between 20 and 40 mph with constant throttle for 4 minutes at a time in intervals and then pull over quickly and idle for 1 minute. It took another 2 hours and some luck with the traffic lights to complete the objective. I was rolling around with my hazards on watching my tachometer, speedometer, traffic around me and the lights to make sure I was hitting all the targets and IT FINALLY triggered the monitor and I passed smog easily.

    Long story short; It’s not how far you go but you have to drive a very specific way to trigger the monitors and it is unlikely you will find it without being told. Get that information specific to your make, model and year and then find a nice straight stretch of road where you can go slow with no stops and little cross traffic. I would not have got it in 100 million years without the printed guide. .

  158. My son and I have been going through this since April. A friend of my husband’s had an old 2001 Volvo C70 that he wanted to get rid of and said he still drives it everyday and runs just fine. Tags were renewed in Dec 2015. Took it in to smog it and because the check engine light was on, the smog guy said it was best for him not to smog it or else we are on the hook for paying someone to fix whatever codes come up (cause of course they don’t allow you to fix it yourself, like my dad did when I was growing up). The car isn’t worth that much (my son bought it for $500). It really does run just fine. My son read online how you can reset the check engine light so he did it and we took it to a different authorized smogger and of course it didn’t pass cause the light came on as soon as he started testing it (even though it wasn’t on the whole way there). Oh ya, and they all keep saying that the seller is responsible for it passing and we should go back to him.

    In the meantime, the DMV sent the previous owner notice of registration termination. He told my husband this which of course lead to my husband asking me why I haven’t gotten the car registration transferred yet. I explain the sitituation to him and he then in turn explains it to his friend. The guy says it passed in December so he doesn’t know what to tell us. I guess that was a “I am not giving you your money back” answer!! Now we have to pay to fix the transmission, but our mechanic says it isn’t worth it. So my son is just out $500. May not be a lot to us but it is for him. We can’t get it registered so therefore we can get it insured, but the car runs just fine. Can’t sell it either cause again “it is the responsibility of the seller to make sure it passes smog”. What a friggin quagmire.

    I have to say though, I have learned a lot about the codes and possible ways to fix them without going to a mechanic (oh ya, you aren’t allowed to do that anymore). This is all such BS!!

    Come on CA DMV. We pay more than our share of taxes to live here as it is, cut us a break, would ya please. All these restrictions are just going to promote people in this situation to drive cars that are not registered or insured. Stop creating more problems.

  159. 2005 Mazda 3 sp23 I bought a car took it to smog after I paid registration they gave me no paper registration and the personal plates are gone so no plates. Can’t drive and a Catalytic converter is 1200.00 that’s from $99.00 for a new one but not CARB compliance. This is NUTS. It’s all about MONEY!!! I’m stuck!

  160. A wonderful way to help reduce smog – drive more, from station to station. More miles, more smog. Thanks California, your dumb.

  161. I have a 2006 Acura RSX type-S original owner I have never had any problem smogging this car until this year . OBD catalyst code. So far I have spent close to 1200.00 trying to resolve this and my mechanic has had the car for close to a month . Called me today and said the only thing left is the O2 sensors. He has put miles on it for the drive cycles which is a bunch of Crap. What the hell did you do to us ..

  162. Hmm, Shit it seems like state is making it impossible fot me to continue work. My cars been in the shop for three weeks and they still cant get it to pass OBD II smog. The car runs fine and the licensed OBDII mechanic seems lost in the direction to take. Guess i will just have to go on wellfare so i can find a job with bus links to work.

  163. 2002 BMW, same problem! Do many complaints, how is this still an issue?!
    I asked whether he can just run a real smog check (the real test where they measure the output). He said he is not allowed!!!!!
    What is more straightforward than measuring the emissions, on a machine that already does it !?

  164. My 2006 Acura one-owner (me), adult-owned, well-maintained vehicle won’t pass either. I’ve spent $1390 so far in diagnostic and repair costs (at two different BAR certified repair shops – including the very same Acura dealership that I originally bought the car from). The ECU, O2 monitors, catalytic converter, have been replaced. All other components were thoroughly examined by my mechanic (a very knowledgeable Honda expert) who is stumped. He kept it for 4 weeks and couldn’t find out what is wrong with it. He doesn’t think there really is anything wrong with it. He said it was a very well-maintained car and it was rare to find one in this good of shape. But we decided to replace the components that “might” have been at fault – TO NO AVAIL! What do I do next?

  165. Actually, your smog check problem is a pretty simple one. A lot of people just unplug the batteries in their cars to clear the code to pass smog. This also resets the memory on your cars computer. So the first thing they’re trying to do is to read your computer to see if it was reset to cheat smog. If yes, the red light comes on asking you to reprogram your computer which is a pretty simple thing you can do within 30 mins. This is the governments way to see if you’re trying to cheat the smog test bcuz by the time your computer reprograms the check engine light will come back on if you have just cleared the code to cheat the system. Now if you’re not the clever one who tries to cheat the system than you don’t have to worry about anything and just reprogram you computer and you’ll be fine. But here’s the trick to reprogramming the computer…if you commute to work like 5 miles each way or even if you drive an hour each way in New York or San Francisco traffic , you can drive your car for a year and your computer won’t reprogram…you have to do this programming in a little more technical manner which is very simple. Find a highway which is not that heavily used…with AC off, slowly accelerate to 45 mph, set your cruise control, and drive for 2 mins…then accelerate to 55 mph and do the same…then slowly accelerate to 66 and do the same. Then repeat the steps again with AC on. Then turn and head back and repeat the same steps above without using cruise control and manually controlling your speed. That’s it…24 minutes…and roughly 20 miles…and your computer should be reprogrammed. I own a small car business where I buy cars off of auctions and repair and sell them…roughly 30 to 40 cars a year…most of the time the computer gets reset on these vehicles since they have been sitting so long with a dead battery at auction yards and then in my shop till they get fixed. Almost all my cars failed smog bcuz of the same reason…they can’t smog it bcuz the computer needs to be reprogrammed…I learned of this trick I mentioned above from a very experienced mechanic friend of mine…and now they pass every time as long as there is no check engine error code.

    1. If you bothered to read even a handful of the posts here, most people here didn’t even have any CEL codes – their computers were reset due to either replacing their battery, or disconnecting it for repairs . . . NOT because they were trying to “cheat smog.”

      Also, your prescribed “drive cycle” is nonsense . . . it will vary by make, model, possibly year, and depends on which monitors are incomplete – for example, running the AC as you suggested has nothing to with the catalyst monitors. There is no universal “trick” and some cycles can’t be completed because of their precise specificity required vis-a-vis traffic conditions. In some cases, only a mechanic with knowledge of that particular make and model will have the in-house equipment to successfully complete all drive cycles.

      1. A “mechanic” can’t fix your car, a technician can. They must be fluent in the latest software. A shop scanner cost thousands of dollars. It’s not a $100 code reader. Code readers cannot read live data they cannot REPROGRAM the engine computers.

        Yes, on new cars there are several pcms. Code readers cannot demand that a solenoid self test. Ask your tech can they read “mode 6”.

        If they look at you funny, run away. Listen to some audio repair shows. I wont drop names but I’m a fan of one from NJ.

        The original article failed to point out that this is a software issue. When the ecm (engine control module) is reset, the car repeatedly tests all sensors for proper function. There are only 3 components, ecm, wire harness, and the sensor.

        What if your new part is out of spec? What if your main engine harness is corroded or car has rust and the ground signal is lost? What if your software parameters are too narrow? For example the evap pressure test passes a .05 psi leak but fails for a .06. We the consumer cannot adjust software tolerance, nor assure the integrity of sensors. The manufacturer can.

        In theory it’s simple, Oxygen sensor 1 and 2: are you seeing different voltages before and after the catalytic converters? Yes, then set that monitor to readiness mode. The computer does this continuously all day everyday for ALL sensors.

        That being said, I still agree with the majority of posts here. If the government truly wants to “smog”, there should be a tailpipe emission test option. Here in Connecticut, we only use tailpipe testing on 1995 and older vehicles.

        It would be fair to allow newer vehicles to have the exhaust gas tailpipe test. That way a newer car could pass smog with the check engine illuminated.

    2. I have a 1998 Isuzu Truck Rodeo V6-3.2L Had the EGR replaced for $600 and engine light came back soon after leaving the garage. Now 2 years later (engine light has been on all 2 years) and using the scan tool the error code is DTC P0405- EGR Low Voltage. Can I fix this and how?

    3. I tried this, and it worked on my 2005 Toyota Sequoia! My alternator went out and computer board wiped out all the data. thank you!

  166. wow. the point of the BAR is to protect our air quality. looking at this board makes me wonder how many miles and lbs of CO2 were released…’just driving’
    when beauoricracy goes wrong.
    i had an ’89 civic that failed and woulda been a massive money pit to try to fix so we scrapped it for tax write off. car got 30 mpg even with 200k on the odo. they recycle the scrap in my car and turn it into massive suvs that get 1/3 the mpg of my honda and creates more GG’s to create, and even more GG to breakdown and recycle my car. environmental protection is being used as a front runner for capitoalism and it needs to stop

  167. I agree with the dude that said, “this is what we get for electing a bunch of communist to run our state gov”. They are trying their damnest to get these older vehicles off the grid. All they are doing is making it harder for those folks that can least afford it. Maybe the electorates in Ca. will get our act together like 36 other states did and retired their sorry behinds.

  168. OMG!!!! SAME..I’m just at DISGUSTED Level now and about to take a Blowtorch to my 2000 Jeep Wrangler..and Other VEhicles before this…WHYYYYYYYYY ITS outrageous and I’m just SICK of it ???

  169. Perhaps it is time to by a 1974 or earlier vehicle that does not require a smog check. Or a 1999 or earlier diesel engine does not have to be smog checked.

  170. I brought my vehicle to smog station yesterday. It is a 14-year-old SUV that is not worth much now, but I have kept it in good shape, and I rely on it for transportation to and from work, shopping, etc. It has passed all previous smog tests. The smog station tested the vehicle and charged me $51.75. The smog station said there is nothing wrong with my vehicle’s emission system but that a certificate was denied due to an “OBD issue,” whatever that means. The smog station said I should keep driving my vehicle and paying for retesting in the hopes that I might get a smog certificate sometime in the future. If there is nothing wrong with my vehicle’s emissions system, I do not feel I should be paying a smog station for retesting just because the state has given smog stations the power to force nonoperation of vehicles. Why should I pay the smog station more money when my vehicle apparently operates cleanly and is not polluting the environment? What is to prevent smog stations from forcing California drivers to fork over hundreds or even thousands of dollars and never granting smog certificates even though the tested vehicles are in compliance with the antismog
    program? The state Bureau of Automotive Repair should not give smog stations a blank check to victimize law-abiding citizens in false name of environmental protection.

  171. I recently bought a 94 civic from a guy and it doesn’t pass smog. the title is signed off but I can’t switch it into my name and register it without it passing. Now the tags are expired and I can’t afford to fix it so I’m stuck with this illegal car and it sketches me out. At this point I’d give the car away so I won’t have the headache but I can’t even legally sell it I’m so lost and frustrated I’ve never had to deal with emissions but I can see its a farce I got rolled out of 1300 bucks buying it, stuck another 500 into it trying to pass smog, then changed the clutch master cylinder in it because that went out, now the starter doesn’t work and it has a flat tire. Wow. So I got rolled on the car, I get that, but I don’t see any way out of it. Am I going to go to jail over this? I just wanted a way to get to work. Now i have this lemon taking up space in the driveway with no means to get rid of it. It’s a never ending cycle of fuckery. Please let me know if you have any information to help me out and thanks in advance. You can email me my name is blake email address is marshmellowhe50@gmail.com

  172. If anyone has had any work done to their car recently, the battery or fuse may have been unplugged to do the work safely. This in turn resets the computer, in which case the computer is considered “not ready” and will fail smog. Easy fix is to take it to the dealer and let them force the computer into “ready” mode. OR, the DIY way, leave the car sitting overnight. Next morning, turn the car on and let the engine warm up ALL THE WAY to operating temperature BEFORE you start driving. Next drive around the local neighborhoods for 30-45 minutes around 25-35 mphs, I know, driving the speed limit is hard. Try to let the car coast, without the foot on the gas, while you are in 25-35 mph range, doesn’t need to be super specific. Next, drive another 30-45 minutes on the FWY or HWY, going about 55-65 mphs. Yes i know… its hard to drive the speed limit when everyone is zooming by you at 80mph, atleast out here in CA. Look at it like this, you are just cruising, with nowhere to go and lots of time to kill, enjoy it, turn the radio on, sing your heart out and CRUISE. After about 30-45 minutes on the FWY, driving the ACTUAL speed limits, go home and let the car idle for a couple of minutes BEFORE you turn it off. This should allow your computer to have run through all of the parameters the ECU needs to meet to be considered “ready” for smog testing. Just did this twice, once on my better halfs Honda Civic after failing, and just this week on my Dodge Magnum after failing both for the monitors/ECU/PCM/computer not being ready.

  173. I’ve gone through the same scenarios with my 2007 Jeep wrangler that only has 69,000 miles. There are no engine issues, but it just won’t pass smog test. I’ve gone back and forth to the smog station and each time I’ve been told that the computer was not ready, drive it another 50 or so miles. I’m now driven over 300 miles and no luck yet.
    I just purchased a OBDII scanner and will see what happens next. This is simply crazy!!

  174. Mine won’t reset either. Getting a smog test for a Prius is hilarious but Governor Moonbeam now requires it. This is CA govt working at it’s finest. They are a bunch of crooks. I can’t get mine to pass because I had my battery replaced and my system hasn’t reset yet. I work from home so driving it 50 miles without breaking seems impossible. I feel a class action lawsuit coming to the state on this one. It is incredible confusing, unjust and terrible to the taxpayer. For gosh sakes my car is half electric!

  175. My smog check was a nightmare too. I went to get it tested and I failed because of my catalytic converter. But when I tried to get that fixed all the mechanics I went to kept calling rotolos dealership because CA doesn’t allow cats to be sold aftermarket. Well the manufacturer stopped making the cat for my car which is a 4 cylinder and 2.5 L. So I have to go to a referee but I had to have a diagnostic to show it’s my cat. i paid my tags but it was incomplete until I passed the smog test. During the two weeks that i had to wait for the instructions from the referee came in the mail I was pulled over for expired tags. I had spent two months trying to find out if I can fix my cat before they expired. I ended up getting a ticket even though I showed proof I paid for my tags. Maybe not the same situation but I had to share.

  176. After Struggling trying to get a smog check, I finally dug into the matter myself. After now driving over 400 miles and my system not resetting, I replaced the thermostat and air filter. I drove my car 28 miles, pulled over, connected my code scanner. Well, guess what? The system reset and the green light came on. I drove immediately to the smog station and passed.
    The only thing that I can say is that although my vehicle had no issues, I feel that the old thermostat was no allowing my vehicle to reach the proper engine temperature in order to allow the computer to reset. Don’t use just any thermostat, try to get an OEM part!!

  177. Hello, I am in twilight zone with the same issue. went for test in Dec 2016 where it failed the computer monitor check for EGR; as post states the car emssion is fine. just a communication problem within; the cars computer refuses to run the diagonistic checks because it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. here i am March 2017 driving with expired registration due to car refusing to talk with itself. Finally took it to dealer today; sat watching tv four hours, gave them $115 for a diagnostic so they can tell me to drive it around some more. but i been driving it since Dec of last year ! i am stuck in the twilight zone with this smog crap! just a matter of time before i get pulled over for expired registration…what do i tell the officer- stuck in CA smog hole..

  178. OMG! I am going through this right now. This is ridiculous. My Touareg is not a polluter, but since the computer will not reset I cannot pass smog. California is ridiculous!

  179. Cali officials wake up! This is fricken insane. Two cars both running fine, not polluting anything but the dang engine lights pop on just before testing and mechanic cannot get either to reset. Driving miles, slow and the faster non-stop with AC/heat etc etc Stupid car makers and politicians making stupid laws. Can we just stick a monitor in the tail gate please and be done with on board computers doing what their supposed to do in order to tell the government I’m not polluting more than they are. Sick of it…VOTE them all out and let them hear you.

  180. well i have read most of the posts and see that most of the authors are angry at the government.
    this is somewhat misplaced, it is true that the EPA and in California CARB, who have set standards for exhaust emissions, however to stop unscrupulous testing stations from keeping a “clean” car to sniff the tail pipe of when the car actually being tested is “dirty” they now require connection to the actual car via the OBD11 test port which is able to identify the car by vin #.
    the OBD11 test port also monitors all the vehicle DATA and by anallsing that data can determind the emissions emited under almost all operating parameters, sounds simple doesn’t it, however people drive their vehicles differently, that’s where the problem lies.
    a driver who lives in a cold climate probably starts his or her car in the morning and leaves it to warm up before driving, this forefills 2 of the rediness checks which southern Californians probably do not because they just start it up and drive away until they go somewhere cold or winter comes when they may inadvertantly start up and leave it sit running for a while., and this situation requires at least two occasions, maybe more to occure.
    in the above senario, the engine is at its most potentially polluting phase so is the period that should be monitored the most accuratly, thus the two or more times it needs before the on board computer makes a judgement on the emissions.
    there are pieces of equipment needed to tell the computer what is happening in real time and other pieces of equipment that only function at this time to enable the engine to operate cleanly when cold.
    so if you have a defective piece of equipment identified in the self test that is needed in this situation, it will set a malfunction indicator light showing that the equipment needs repair or replacement, but if the self test cannot be performed because the vehicle has not been started from cold and left with the engine running in cold weather it will not be able to decide if any equipment is good or bad, these are some of the readiness checks and until a descision can be made we are in limbo!
    all the driving done up to and after will not clear this type of readiness check unless the required circumstances are met.
    other readiness checks require other circumstances to be met with other criteria.
    thus we come to the specified drive cycle which includes all of the things needed to show that all of the equipment is functioning in the correct way to keep the vehicle “clean” and may be required at least twice if not more to allow the computer in the vehicle to know all is well, if the checks are completed and a fault is found it will set the malfunction indicator light (engine check light of service soon light) at which time you will need a repair!
    when you go to a smog station the technician will look for the MIL, and to see if it is present with the ignition on but the engine not running to show it does indeed work and the bulb has not been removed to hide a fault.
    if when started the MIL stays on there is a fault and to test would be a waste of time and all the driving in the world won’t put that light out or remove a stored fault in the computer, you need a repair!
    stored faults in the computer have specific codes dependant on which system is faulty, these are known as “P” codes which can be read by a scanner of various types, even an app for your phone, once the code is known, you can search various data bases to interpret it into a real world fault that needs attention. many automotive parts stores will scan your vehicle for free! this scan will also tell you if a readiness check has not been completed during your normal driving style so you must adjust your driving to emulate the situation needed to complete the checks which will either complete or show a fault displayed by the MIL.
    all the machine at the smog station does is to read this from your car computer, thus you fail if a code is present, the MIL is on or the readiness checks are incomplete, if none of these are present you will pass.
    so you need to know what has failed and how to rectify it, without this information, driving the vehicle for hundreds of miles may not solve the problem but just starting the car in the morning from cold and leaving it to idle may if that part of the self test is not complete.
    knowledge is everything, if the above is too much for you to understand, then you need a person like me to interpret it for you, however that costs money folks and i have many years of my life invested in that knowledge, i have a degree in mechanical engineering and am certified as an ASE master technician. cars are probably the highest level of technology most people will ever encounter in their lives, man went to the moon with less technology than your average car has, remember that when your home computer stops working and you call IT.

    1. Some good information, but a lot of misinformation and nonsense as well, your “mechanical engineering degree” notwithstanding. You paint with a broad brush, when the issues and solutions will vary by specific make, model and which monitors are incomplete.

    2. Dear John Hennessy, please stop listening to the voices of grandeur in your head and read what others are saying. The situation is as follows. No engine light, no faults of any kind, the car runs perfectly and emits nothing above legal limits. However, my recently replaced battery has reset OBC. Now, 2 of the 6 monitoring circuits have reset after 400 miles and 5 driving cycles and the remaining 4 are still hanging in limbo. These cycles have been described by many on this site. Now, my 2011 car has 56K miles on it. Now, $700 later, I am growing increasingly frustrated by inability to pass smog check considering that the car doesn’t emit.

  181. if you don’t like it then you have a vote, get enough signatures and have a proposition to vote on.
    you can do it with marijuana so why not vote out emission laws.

  182. It’s time we stand up to these idiots, this smog test is now making a criminal out of me for driving my chev Silverado. I don’t want to apply for state assistant there is nothing wrong with my truck. Think about this we pay there salaries so they can figure out new ways to screw us. This has nothing to do with clean air and everything to do with money

  183. There are more than enough people here who are or have gone through this hell. My car is a 2005 it has 72,00 miles on it, in which I did a trip to AZ, a trip to Las Vegas and 2 trips up north from Los Angeles as most of those miles. I drive 3 blocks and take the train to and from work everyday. I only do local driving when I do drive with in a 10 mile radius. So tell me this, WHY AM I BEING PENALIZED, FOR TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? If anything I should be getting A FREE PASS ON MY SMOG CHECK, but yet other cars loaded with miles and polluting the air get a pass instead. THERE IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM HERE and I THINK THERE ARE ENOUGH PEOPLE TO GET THEM TO NOTICE! I don’t know about any of you but I don’t want to have to go through this 2 years from now if I even get through this one. COME ON PEOPLE, THERE HAS TO BE SOMEONE THAT HAS THE KNOW HOW and THE TIME TO GET THIS STARTED.

  184. My 2006 Honda Pilot passed emissions with no codes. It shows a “Not Ready” on the cat converter. Smog guy said “just drive and it should reset”. Well, like many others here, it hasn’t reset after 1000 miles of driving. Another recommendation was to pay the registration fees on time and get a vehicle moving form without filling out the date. These are free at Automobile Club and can be filled out if you do get pulled over for tags. The bad part is I hate getting pulled over for any reason. Meanwhile I will just drive, drive, drive!!!

  185. I didnt take the time to read every comment, so maybe this has been covered already, but I’ll update this with some information regarding monitors on OBDII vehicles (1996 and newer).

    First and foremost if you are having an issue with your vehicle failing for incomplete monitors take a moment to look through this web page that lists “Vehicles of interest” from the state. This is a comprehensive list of vehicles that have known test ability issues with the state.

    https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/Smog_Check_OBD_Reference_Full_Version.pdf

    If you have a gas vehicle between 1996-1999 you are allowed to have ANY ONE monitor incomplete.

    2000 and newer vehicles are allowed ONLY the EVAP monitor to be incomplete.

    Each year make and model has its own drive cycle, but most monitors are cleared by a combination of city driving, freeway driving, and cooling off and driving again. Some vehicles have VERY specific driving conditions, and if those conditions are not met the monitors never clear – for instance if it requires freeway driving but you never drive on the freeway.

    If you have a vehicle that despite all your driving wont clear the appropriate monitors a qualified smog repair shop, with a qualified technician can attempt to diagnose the issue….however… vehicle manufacturers do not often give shops enough information to allow a diagnosis. If your shop can not resolve why monitors are not clearing there is a process to follow (and you wont like it)….
    1) The vehicle must go to a dealer. The dealer must attempt to diagnose / repair the issue. They may file a case with the manufacturer to get the issue resolved.
    2) In the event the dealer is unable to resolve the issue, then you may go to the state referee. Bring every repair invoice that shows every attempt to solve the issue.

    If the referee determines the monitor will never clear they will issue an exemption. This is the way the data is changed in the smog machine. If there is a pattern of , lets say Jeep Wranglers of a certain year that will not clear monitors and there is no repair they will change the smog software to ignore that issue.

    Monitors can be extremely difficult to deal with. The process can be long and expensive, and in the end the problem may be unsolvable…..and was not your fault. Smog shops in CA are not allowed to check monitor status prior to the test – they are instructed to run the vehicle as presented by the customer. Smog shops CAN be cited for checking monitor status before the test, so if you failed for monitors, please do not blame the shop. Most will check if requested though, as a courtesy. If you find yourself stuck with a car that wont clear enough of them to smog, check the above link see if your vehicle is listed. If not call the dealer, or a shop that can give you the drive cycle for your vehicle (if there is a detailed one available, there isnt always). Do the drive cycle, and if possible do it several times. If it just wont happen…dealer then referee.

    Hope this helps.

  186. This is still happening in 2017. 2011 Honda nothing wrong with it. Smog guy said drive it around. Went back to the Honda dealer where I bought it to reset the computer. Why can’t they reset it? Who knows, they said the same thing drive it around. Going to try another mechanic. At this point I am relying on divine intervention. The only good thing is that you get a one month grace period for this error.

  187. I am going through this same situation currently with a VW Passat! It’s insane. I thought they cannot refuse to run the check. Something Must be done about this. I am delinquent on my car reg now 🙁

  188. hey there people, i was trapped in the drive-cycle “incomplete” “not-ready” loop after installation of brand new O2 sensors and a full tune up until i checked this one thing – which i did not find a single person on the internet refer to after 10+ hours of searching – i checked all my fuses and found a single one popped for the lowly, unrelated cigarette lighter. i put a new one in and just like that, on my bluetooth – OBD scanner app on the phone, all readiness sensors showed “clear/good/ready to test”. i went in for the smog and it passed. also, if your going in for the test for the first time dont get conned into paying for the test (you’ll get a 30 day free re-test but you might not be able to solve your problem by then) when your sensors are “not ready” by asking the guy up front do they charge if your car shows “not ready” on the meter, this takes 10 seconds and they should not be charging for this (I got ripped off by paying then not solving my problem within 30 days). you can check the ready-ness status for your car yourself with a $5 bluetooth device from ebay or amazon that plugs into your OBD port and a free app for any device called “torque”, its so simple anyone run the check. if anything shows “not ready” or “incomplete” dont even bother going in because they’ll reject you immediately for even one sensor being unready.

  189. BOUGHT NEW 2001 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 4X EXRTA CAB. $32.000 WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY.
    0.7 MI Z71. GM WOULD NOT FIX OR ZIP. IT HAD TO MANY MAJOR DEFECTS ….PASSES SMOG 2-3 TIMES AFTER THAT.
    MANY DEALERSHIPS GM WOULD SAY OH IT WILL BE MONTHS TO GET TO THE PROBLEM.. AS MY WARRANTY OVER A YEAR LATER “EXTENED WARRANTY” TO BOOT
    GOT OUT OF DATE. WELL THE ISSUE WAS GM MANUFACTURING AND INSTALLING DEFECTIVE MACHINE PARTS.. TRANSMISSIONS, EMISSION CONTROL PARTS, EVAP PARTS AND SOME THIRD PARTY SENSORS TO ECM,S……
    YOU SHOULD SUE THE BAR , THE MANUFACTURER AND DEALERSHIPS UNDER THE INTENTED USE ACT AND EPA ?

  190. My smog guy had my 1997 Camry for nearly 8 WEEKS and I finally JUST got it back!!! I have driven it for over 200 miles and the codes have still not cleared, talk about smog hell!!

  191. WE Need to Move out of California…. Face it… the Government in (Jerry BROWN ) in California is NOT on your side. He has never had a “real” job anything he can do yo raise the cost of those that pay taxes (and registration of cars) will increase. My wife and I were Born here…… we realize that the State has left all of out ideals….. Smog laws included, and doesn’t deserve the ever increasing TAXES they impose on income earners. We will be moving … out of California soon…..

  192. What we all need is a class action lawsuit coupled with a state proposition to restrict the state to

    1. Tailpipe test only with under the hood visual inspection to confirm smog components are properly installed. If this truly is about smog, that’s the only test that matters.

    2. Eliminate California only approved smog parts (catalytic converter/EGR valve) what’s good for the rest of the country is good for us.

    3. Provide a common sense/mercy clause that guarantees a pass if someone spends money having parts replaced by a professional only to have the car fail again by modestly missing specs (no visible smog or foul odor)

    1. Keyser, I believe the state is exempt from lawsuits. I do like the idea.

      I have a 2007 Toyota Corolla & I took 2 weeks ago for its maintenance. They changed the oil, got new rear brakes, & got a new battery (Big Mistake). Then last Thursday I took my car for a smog check. It failed. I was told to drive it around town & drive it on the freeway on a steady 55mph or more for 15 mins.

      There is one problem – I do not drive on freeways. I always use back roads & city streets to get where I want to go. I have no friends nor family near me to help. I told the smog tech that I do not drive on freeways. He told me”you have too” as he smiled.

      I feel I am screwed because I am unemployed & do not have money to be paying for every dam smog check. I do not know what to do. Any advise out there would be appreciated.

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