Can I Register My Car in California if it Doesn’t Pass a Smog Check?

You cannot register your car or renew the registration if your vehicle does not pass a required smog check. Your best bet is to take your vehicle to a STAR smog check center that can also determine why your vehicle failed a smog check and fix it. Aero Auto Repair is one such center, and we can smog check your vehicle, run diagnostic checks if it fails, and fix the problem so it will pass the retest.

Why Is a Smog Check Necessary?

Smog checks test vehicle exhaust to ensure its emission gases are under the state’s maximum limits. California has paved the way for vehicle emission control by having some of the toughest standards in the country. Air pollution has been a deadly problem in California for decades, and the smog test program ensures vehicles do not pollute the air severely and increase the risk of respiratory illness.

Why Did My Car Fail the Smog Check?

The number one reason why automobiles fail smog checks in California is their check engine light is on. A vehicle will not pass a smog test with the check engine warning illuminated, even if the warning is a false one. The check engine light or the underlying problem must be fixed first before the vehicle will pass the test. Other common reasons why vehicles fail smog checks include

  • Old and dirty motor oil that is releasing excess hydrocarbons in the exhaust
  • Excess fuel in the air/fuel mixture that will also release too many hydrocarbons
  • A mass airflow or oxygen sensor that is going bad or has died completely
  • Cracked fuel injectors or a fuel pump that is clogged in the open position
  • Dirty, misfiring, or worn spark plugs that are detonating incorrectly
  • A loose gas cap that cannot seal the gas tank and release gas vapors
  • A dirty air filter that does not push enough air into the engine
  • A failing catalytic converter that cannot process carbon monoxide correctly
  • An exhaust system leak or clogged exhaust system

A vehicle diagnostic test will give us the proper error code to determine why your automobile did not pass the California smog check. Once we know the problem, we can discuss the solution with you and, upon your approval, repair your automobile. After the repairs, we’ll run the smog test again and automatically send the passing results to the DMV so you can register your car.

You can count on Aero Auto Repair in San Diego, CA, for the smog test you need to register your vehicle. Call us today to schedule an appointment.