Catalytic converter identification and inspection

In this post I’ll go over aftermarket catalytic converters, why its important to select a catalytic converter that has been approved for your vehicle, and what smog inspectors look for when inspecting catalytic converters during a smog inspection.

This is going to be a long post, so if all you want is a quick summary, feel free to skip to the end.

… passed the smog inspection with flying colors except the tech says he can’t find a number on the cat and so he’s failing it … Is this a thing, or is the guy scamming me?

Car Talk Community Forums

Before removing factory original catalytic converters like these, make sure that the vehicle has been properly diagnosed and repaired.

Aftermarket Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters contain a slurry of three rare earth metals (Platinum, palladium, and rhodium) that are used to reduce and convert harmful combustion gasses before they enter the atmosphere. All three of these metals are extremely expensive.  For example, the price of platinum on March 9, 2017, was over $947 per troy ounce.

If your vehicle is well maintained and in good working order, its catalytic converter(s) should last for the lifetime of the vehicle.

However mechanical malfunctions can damage catalytic converters and cause them to fail.  Ignition misfires are especially harmful.

Did you know?

Did you know, that a flashing check engine light usually indicates a sever catalyst damaging misfire that should be repaired without delay?

Other reasons for catalytic converter replacement include theft, incorrect diagnosis of fault codes, and the far too common practice of attempting to mask emissions control issues with new catalytic converters.

Just throw on a new catalytic converter, right?
wrong!

In the past substituting a “bargain cat” for proper repairs was easier to get away with because labeling requirements were unclear, and it was often difficult for smog inspectors to identify incorrect catalytic converter applications.

When I first got my smog license, I met a customer who claimed that he made two appointments every two years; one with his muffler guy for a new catalytic converter, and one with my boss for a smog inspection. He was almost proud of the fact that he bought a new catalytic converter every two years.

It wasn’t uncommon for people to buy cheap/universal catalytic converters specifically for the purpose of “getting through” a tailpipe emissions test.  Very often those catalytic converters were so cheaply made that they might make it through a smog inspection but not much further down the road.

The worse part was that perfectly good factory parts were often replaced by low quality aftermarket catalytic converters when a simple repair was all that was necessary.

However, new catalytic converter labeling requirements adopted by the California Air Resource Board (CARB) in 2009 make catalytic converter verification much easier.

Catalytic Converter Labeling Requirements
  • Labels must be permanent and indestructible
  • Labels must be placed in a location easily readable after installation
  • Labels must use letters and numbers that are at least half an inch and readable within five feet.
  • Catalytic converters must be stamped with a directional flow arrow
  • Must include executive order exemption number (D-###-###), manufacturer part number, and date of manufacture

OEM vs. Aftermarket Catalytic Converters

OEM (Original equipment manufacturer – factory) catalytic converters are a great choice for those of us who can afford them, but very often the difference in price between a “factory cat” and an aftermarket catalytic converter can add up to hundreds of dollars (Sometimes thousands if more than one catalytic converter requires replacement).

No person shall install, sell, offer for sale, or advertise any device, apparatus, or mechanism intended for use with, or as a part of, a required motor vehicle pollution control device or system that alters or modifies the original design or performance of the motor vehicle pollution control device or system.

California Vehicle Code Vehicle Code section 27156 (c)

Aftermarket catalytic converters must be exempted from California’s anti-tampering laws in order to be legally sold and installed in the state. If an aftermarket catalytic converter is shown to be durable and meets vehicle emission control requirements, it is granted an exemption Executive Order (EO) that allows it to be installed on specific emission controlled vehicles.

arb.ca.gov

If an ounce of platinum costs $947, rhodium $930, and palladium $773 an ounce, how much of each could possibly be in a catalytic converter sold for as little as forty-one dollars? The answer is, not enough to qualify for sale in the State of California!

In order to be legally sold and installed in California, a catalytic converter must undergo extensive testing to prove that it is durable and meets emission control requirements.  It’s not enough for a catalytic converter to “just get you through your next smog”, it must be built to last.

Did you know?

Did you know, that aftermarket catalytic converter installers in the State of California are legally obligated to provide you with a five year/fifty-thousand mile warranty on parts and labor?  Did you receive your warranty card?

Aftermarket catalytic converters sold in the State of California must be proven to have a minimum durability of 5 years/50,000 miles.

Catalytic Converter Inspection

Original Equipment Manufacturer Catalytic Converters

When inspecting a vehicle’s catalytic converters, the first thing we check for is  original equipment.

If a vehicle is equipped with OEM (factory) catalytic converters our job is almost complete. We still need to ensure that all catalytic converters are present, undamaged, unmodified, and installed in their original locations.

Aftermarket Catalytic Converters

There are two sets of rules that smog inspectors are required to follow when inspecting aftermarket catalytic converters:

  • Pre-OBD II Vehicles (1995 and older)
  • OBD II Vehicles (1996 and newer)
PRE-OBD II Aftermarket Catalytic Converters

When inspecting aftermarket catalytic converters installed on pre-OBD II vehicles, smog inspectors in the State of California must first follow all of the same rules that apply to OEM catalytic converters.

A word about installation:

In addition to installing catalytic converters in their original location and configuration, installers must also ensure that they follow all manufacturer guidelines.

Example:

Some catalytic converters have the word “TOP” stamped or engraved on one side (Usually on the heat shield). Very often they will come into the shop installed “upside down”.  In addition to the non-shielded side being exposed to the vehicle’s floorboard, the executive order exemption number, manufacturer part number, and date of manufacturer will not be visible.

In most cases the smog inspector inspecting the vehicle will enter “Tamper” or “Modified” for the catalytic converter, and the vehicle will fail the smog inspection.

All required catalytic converters must be present and properly installed in their original factory locations and configuration. Again, catalytic converters must not be modified or damaged.

Application

When inspecting aftermarket catalytic converters installed on pre-OBD II vehicles, smog inspectors in the State of California must also ensure that all aftermarket catalytic converters installed on the vehicle comply with applicable labeling requirements (See above).

Unlike OBD II vehicles (Discussed below), inspectors are not required to verify specific vehicle applications when inspecting pre-OBD II vehicles; however, the catalytic converter must be approved for the vehicle category (PC 1, PC 2, T1, T2, etc).

  • PC 1 (Single Configuration) – A passenger car with single or dual exhaust that is equipped with one catalytic converter per bank.
  • PC 2 (Dual configuration) – A passenger car with single or dual exhaust that is equipped with two or more catalytic converters per bank.
  • T1 (Single Configuration) – A light duty or medium duty truck with single or dual exhaust that is equipped with one catalytic converter per bank.
  • T2 (Dual configuration) – A light duty or medium duty truck with single or dual exhaust that is equipped with two or more catalytic converters per bank.

For example:

A PC 1 passenger car can not be equipped with a catalytic converter that has been approved for T1 vehicles.

You can access CARB’s catalytic converter database at http://arb.ca.gov

OBD II Aftermarket Catalytic Converters (1996 and newer vehicles)

Again, OBD II aftermarket catalytic must follow the same rules regarding placement, configuration, and condition that apply to OEM and pre-OBD II catalytic converters.

In addition to those rules, OBD II aftermarket catalytic converters must be approved by CARB for specific vehicle applications.

The following information must match on all OBD II aftermarket catalytic converter applications:

  • Executive order exemption number (D-###-###)
  • Manufacturer part number
  • Model year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Engine size
  • Engine Family Number (Also referred to as engine test group)
CARB Catalytic Converter Database

When it comes to inspecting aftermarket catalytic converters (Especially on OBD II vehicles), CARB’s catalytic converter database is the smog inspectors bible.

After selecting a vehicle’s manufacturer, model year, model, and engine size from the database’s drop down menus, the database returns a list of all CARB approved catalytic converters for the selected vehicle.

Your muffler guy may make a lot of reasonable arguments, but if a catalytic converter is not CARB approved for your vehicle it will not pass a California state smog inspection.

To determine the correct catalytic converter part number for your vehicle, you will need its make, model, model year, engine size and test group/engine family designation.

arb.ca.gov

Test Group Name (Engine Family Number)

The engine family or test group is the one field that seems to create the most confusion among installers, consumers, and even some smog inspectors.

Emissions control information label

All vehicles sold in the United States have a unique drive-train identifier called the “Test Group” or “Engine Family Number”. This number allows owners, parts suppliers, and service providers to determine specifications and installed emissions control equipment of motor vehicles. Because many vehicles may have several different configurations, this number will provide specific information about the emissions control system and exact standards that a vehicle was designed to meet.

arb.ca.gov

In many cases a single character in the test group will be the determining factor between a passing catalytic converter, and a failed smog inspection.

Federal/EPA Only

On Federal/EPA certified vehicles (Those that are not California emissions certified), EFN does not need to match since only CARB approved EFNs are listed in the database.  However, all other requirements apply.

Q. Federal vehicles are not listed in California application catalog. How do I determine what catalytic converter to install on a federal vehicle?

A. Find a catalytic converter exempted for a California vehicle that is of the same make, model, and model year as the federal vehicle, except for the engine family. Install the catalytic converter on the federal vehicle and make a note on your invoice and warranty card that it is a federal vehicle.

CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCES BOARD FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS New Aftermarket Catalytic Converters Installation Requirements

 Application Type

Application type can be 2WD, AWD, 4WD, ALL, etc. We don’t see this very often, but it is possible for a catalytic converter to be approved for two wheel drive applications, but not four wheel drive, or the other way around.

Part Manufacturer

The manufacturer of the catalytic converter.

Manufacturer Part Number

The catalytic converter’s manufacturer part number.

The part number must be an exact match.

Example:

82633 and 82633R are not a match.

Executive Order

The catalytic converter’s executive order exemption number.

By clicking on the executive order number in the list, you can view a PDF of the actual executive order for the exemption.

The executive order document will list information regarding specific vehicles and manufacturer part numbers covered by the executive order.

Total Converters

The total number of catalytic converters that should be installed on the vehicle.

Catalyst Location

Not all catalytic converters installed on a vehicle serve the same function. When inspecting aftermarket catalytic converters, it is important for an inspector to ensure that all catalytic converters are installed in the correct location.

Rescinded and Withdrawn

Affected converters sold on or before their rescission or withdrawal date, are legal for use and installation in California. Affected converters sold after their rescission or withdrawal date, are not legal for use or installation in California.

arb.ca.gov

You may have noticed that the catalytic converter database indicates that some executive order numbers are Rescinded, while others are listed as Withdrawn. 

Rescinded

An executive order exemption that is listed as Rescinded is one that has been rescinded (cancelled) by CARB.

Withdrawn

An executive order exemption that is listed as Withdrawn is one that has been withdrawn by the manufacturer.

In either case, rescinded or withdrawn, it is not legal to advertise, sell, or install affected catalytic converters after the date of rescission or withdrawal.

You can find the date of rescission or withdrawal by clicking on the executive order number in the catalytic converter database listing. The applicable date will appear stamped across the executive order PDF document.

Toyota Sequoia and Tundra Pickup Trucks

CARB goofed a few years ago and published the wrong information for certain Toyota Sequoia and Tundra pickup trucks.  As a result Sequoia’s and Tundra’s failed smog inspections, and the wrong number of catalytic converters were installed based on CARB’s information.

Fortunately CARB decided to play fair. CARB is allowing use of catalytic converters installed based on the wrong information as long as the installation occurred during the affected period.

Click here for more information.

Summary

This was a long post, so let’s summarize.

  1. Before you replace a catalytic converter, especially an OEM/factory catalytic converter:
    • Make sure that your vehicle has been properly diagnosed, and that the catalytic converter has actually failed.
    • Repair all other mechanical issues that may have damaged the original catalytic converter.
    • Do not use a new catalytic converter as a substitute for proper emissions repairs.
  2. Maintain the original exhaust/catalyst configuration.
    • Do not add or subtract catalytic converters.
    • New converters must be installed in the original catalytic converter locations.
    • Do not modify existing or new catalytic converters.
  3. Catalytic converters must be installed according to manufacturer specifications.
    • Observe direction of flow.
    • Do not install replacement catalytic converters upside down.  If a top is indicated, that should be on top.
    • If a catalytic converter is installed incorrectly, the vehicle will not pass a California smog inspection and a smog certificate will not be issued.
  4. Install catalytic converters that are CARB approved and legal for sale and use in California.
    • California legal catalytic converters will comply with CARB labeling requirements
    • If an aftermarket catalytic converter does not comply with CARB labeling requirements, the vehicle will not pass a California smog inspection, and a smog certificate will not be issued.
  5. Pre-OBD II Vehicles (Model year 1995 and older):
    • Catalytic converter must be approved for vehicle class (PC1, PC2, T1, T2)
    • If a catalytic converter is not approved for the vehicle’s class, the vehicle will not pass a California smog inspection, and a smog certificate will not be issued.
  6. OBD II Vehicles (Model year 1996 and newer):
    • The catalytic converter’s executive order exemption number, and manufacturer part number, must be approved for the vehicle’s:
      • Model Year
      • Manufacturer/Make
      • Model
      • Engine Family Number (Test group)
      • Engine Size
      • Location on Vehicle

If any of the above do not match, the vehicle will not pass a California smog inspection, and a smog certificate will not be issued.

Catalytic converter visual inspections constitute just one part of the California smog inspection, but if you have made it this far, you now know that it takes a lot of knowledge to do it right.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Stained Glass of Saint PatrickSaint Patrick’s Day is one of the largest celebrations around the world, with Irish and non-Irish alike celebrating all things Irish on March 17.

 

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Irish: Pádraig) was a fifth century Romano-British missionary and Bishop in Ireland. Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, Saint Patrick is the primary patron saint of Ireland.

 

Saint Patrick is believed to have been captured by pirates at around the age of fifteen.  He was sold into slavery and tended sheep in Ireland for approximately six years until he escaped and gained passage back to England. He eventually became a cleric before returning to Ireland as a Christian missionary.

 

Although only a legal holiday in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, in the United States Saint Patrick’s day celebrations have grown in size since it was first observed in the Thirteen Colonies on March 17, 1737.  Today, New York’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade is not only the largest in the nation, but also the largest in the world.

 

The Just Smogs® team would like to take this opportunity to wish all our friends and customers a happy and safe Saint Patrick’s day, and as our Irish friends say, May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.

February 2017 California Smog Check FAQ

Smog Check Frequently Asked Questions for February 2017

How do I submit my smog test?

How do I determine what year a car needs a smog check?

Does my RV require a smog check in California?

Smog Check Frequently Asked Questions for January 2017

Why did my car fail for incomplete OBD II readiness monitors? I Thought the rule was that my 1996-2001 car could pass with two incomplete readiness monitors.

How do I submit my smog test?

You don’t need to “submit” your smog test. The results of your smog inspection were electronically transmitted and submitted to the State of California at the conclusion of the smog inspection.


How do I determine what year a car needs a smog check?

Gasoline, Flex, CNG, LNG, LPG Powered Vehicles

1976 to current model year vehicles are subject to smog inspection.

All 1976 and newer model year vehicles entering the State of California require a smog certification prior to initial registration

Change of ownership smog inspections are required after the fourth model year

For example:

A 2016 model year gasoline powered vehicle would be subject to change of ownership smog inspections beginning in 2020 (2016 + 4 = 2020).

Biennial (Every two years) smog inspections begin after the sixth model year.

For example:

A 2016 model year gasoline powered vehicle would be subject to biennial smog inspections beginning in 2022 (2016 + 6 = 2022).

A good rule of thumb is that even number model years are due for smog inspections on even numbered years. Odd numbered model years are due on odd number years.

For example:

This year (2017) we started performing biennial smog inspections 2011 model year vehicles.  We’re also inspecting 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1999, etc.

Hybrid

The only difference between hybrid/gasoline powered vehicles is that hybrids become subject to smog inspections beginning with model year 2000 instead of 1976.

Diesel

Diesel powered vehicles under 14,000 pounds GVWR become subject to biennial smog inspections beginning with the 1998 model year.

Unlike the vehicles described above, diesels do not have a four year change of ownership exemption, nor do diesels have a six year new vehicle exemption.

Fleetwood Jamboree Smog CheckDoes my RV require a smog check in California?

In most cases, the answer is yes.

If your your 1976 or newer motor home (RV) is gasoline powered, and more than four years old, it is subject to smog inspections in the state of California.

If your 1998 or newer motor home (RV) is diesel powered and has a GVWR of 14,000 pounds or less it is subject to smog inspections in the state of California.

Click here for more information about smog requirements by vehicle type.


Why did my car fail for incomplete OBD II readiness monitors. I Thought the rule was that my 1996-2001 car could pass with two incomplete readiness monitors.

check engine lightEmission test rules previously allowed for a car to pass the smog inspection with two incomplete readiness monitors; however the rules changed effective May 4, 2015.

Most 1996 – 1999 model year gasoline powered vehicles will fail the California smog inspection if two or more OBD II monitors are incomplete. Any one OBD 2 readiness monitor can be incomplete and a gasoline powered car will pass the smog inspection.

Most 2000 and newer gasoline powered vehicles are subject to stricter rules.  A 2000 or newer model year vehicle will fail the smog inspection if any monitor other than the EVAP monitor is incomplete.

Most 1998 – 2006 OBD II certified diesel powered vehicles will fail the smog inspection if any monitors are incomplete.  All OBD II monitors must be complete in order for a 1998 – 2006 model year OBD II certified diesel powered vehicle to pass the California state smog inspection.

Most 2007 and newer model year OBD II diesel powered vehicles can pass with two incomplete monitors.  If more than two monitors are incomplete the vehicle will fail the smog inspection.

Some vehicles are known to have difficulties completing OBD II monitors and may be subject to different rules. For more information see the Smog Check OBD Reference.

Smog Check Frequently Asked Questions for January 2017

How many readiness monitors have to be complete to pass smog?

What if I cannot get my smog test in California before it is due?

Can I go to another smog check station after failing?

The shop that failed my car also does repairs, can I go someplace else for repairs?

A relative gave me a car, do I need a smog inspection?

If my check engine light doesn’t turn on at all will I pass smog?

If you fail OBD II on a smog check, should your overall smog fail?

Smog, check before you buy

To quote one of my instructors in smog school, “There’s no such thing as an as-is sale on a car that wont pass smog”.

When a car is sold, who is responsible for the inspection?

The seller is required to provide the buyer with a valid smog inspection certification at the time of the sale or transfer. Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.

 

dmv.ca.gov

Unless a car is being sold to:

  • A licensed dismantler (Junk yard)
  • A spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild.
    or
  • A biennial smog certification was submitted to DMV within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date (a vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification).

porsche star smog checkThe California Department of Motor Vehicles will not complete the transfer of ownership until the vehicle passes a smog inspection.

Why?

The short answer is that the State of California is looking out for your interests.  The idea is to prevent someone from dumping their problem car on you.

But I got such a great deal!

We recently had a BMW in the shop.  The customer bought the car without a smog.  He thought he got a great deal until he learned that the vehicle would require several thousand dollars worth of repairs before it would pass a smog inspection. Needless to say, our customer no longer believes that he got such a great deal.

Smog check sign

Just Smogs Star Certified Test and Repair

Protect yourself

The state will allow a transfer to occur if a vehicle has received an emissions certification within the last 90 days, but a lot can happen in 90 days.

Maybe the car squeaked  through its last inspection.  Maybe something that was getting ready to go went. Perhaps fraud was involved.

California Vehicle Emissions Statement

The Vehicle Emissions System Statement is a DMV form that even most smog inspectors don’t know about.

The seller is required to furnish the purchaser this statement if a transfer application is submitted to the department within 90 days of the submission of a valid smog certification that was not obtained specifically for the transfer…

… You may have this vehicle tested at a licensed smog check station prior to completion of this transaction to verify compliance. If the vehicle passes the test, you shall be responsible for the costs of the test.  If the vehicle fails the test, the seller is obligated to reimburse you the cost of having the vehicle tested and, without expense to you, must have the vehicle repaired to comply with specified emissions standards prior to completion of this transaction.

Excerpt from :
DMV REG 139 (REV.5/2007)
Vehicle Emissions System Statement

While having a current smog certificate can be a selling point, it can be in the interest of the buyer to have the results of the last smog inspection independently verified.

In today’s vehicles emissions problems are often related to issues that affect fuel economy and driveability. You might be out the price of a smog inspection, or you could save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

Check the History

I always recommend checking a vehicles smog check history.

What?

The smog check history of every vehicle that has been inspected under the modern smog check program in the State of California is available at:

https://www.smogcheck.ca.gov/pubwebquery/Vehicle/PubTstQry.aspx

You can search for a vehicle’s smog check history by license plate or vehicle identification number (VIN).  I always recommend searching by VIN, especially if that old car you’re thinking about just happens to have a brand spanking new license plate.

If you spot a repeating pattern of several failed smog inspection followed by a single pass, the car in question might not be the car you’re looking for.

We can’t all afford to buy or lease new cars

Just Smogs® 7722 Talbert Ave, Huntington Beach, CA

I hear you.  Some of us can’t afford a new car, while others don’t want a new car.  Either way, it’s important to protect yourself.

When buying a used car, always remember to:

And most important of all, to ensure peace of mind, have the vehicle inspected by the dedicated STAR certified professionals at Just Smogs® in Huntington Beach. Click here to make an appointment.

January 2017 California Smog Check FAQ

Smog Check Frequently Asked Questions for January 2017

How many readiness monitors have to be complete to pass smog?

What if I cannot get my smog test in California before it is due?

Can I go to another smog check station after failing?

The shop that failed my car also does repairs, can I go someplace else for repairs?

A relative gave me a car, do I need a smog inspection?

If my check engine light doesn’t turn on at all will I pass smog?

If you fail OBD II on a smog check, should your overall smog fail?

Where can I get a STAR Smog Inspection in Huntington Beach?

How many readiness monitors have to be complete to pass smog?

check engine lightThis continues to be number one on the hit parade.  Nobody wants to hear the dreaded words, OBD II not ready.

1996 to 1999 Gasoline powered vehicles: Any one monitor can be incomplete.

2000 and newer Gasoline powered vehicles: All monitors, with the exception of the EVAP monitor must be complete.

1998 to 2006 OBD II certified diesel powered vehicles: All monitors must be complete.

2007 and newer OBD II certified diesel powered vehicles: Any two monitors can be incomplete.

For more information about OBD II Monitors:

OBD II, “CHECK-ENGINE” LIGHTS, and READINESS MONITORS..WHAT ARE THEY?

OBD Monitors and Testability Issues

What if I cannot get my smog test in California before it is due?

 

Pay your fees!

Even if you do not pass smog, you can avoid paying late fees by paying all registration fees on time.  While the DMV will not issue a registration renewal until all requirements, including the smog certification, are complete, the DMV will stop assessing further late fees upon receipt of your payment.

You may also be eligible for a temporary moving permit.  Contact the California DMV for more information.

Can I go to another smog station after failing?


Absolutely! Many people are under the mistaken impression that they have to return to the original smog shop to finish the smog inspection after failing. Not true.  Pass or fail, that smog inspection ended when you received the results. It’s done. You are free to have the vehicle inspected at any shop.

Of course, if the vehicle requires an inspection at a STAR certified shop, you must take it to a STAR station.

Also, it important to note that if the shop that inspected your vehicle promised you a free retest, or any other discounts, those promises only apply at the shop that made the offer

The shop that failed my car also does repairs, can I go someplace else for repairs?

Again, absolutely.  Shops performing emissions repairs in the State of California are required to be licensed by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs; however, you are not obligated to have your vehicle repaired by the shop that performed the smog inspection.

A relative gave me a car, do I need a smog inspection?

 

If you acquire a vehicle that is currently registered in California from a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild, you are entitled to an exemption from the smog inspection. Other family members or relations are not exempt and are required to obtain a smog inspection certification.

For more information read “Transfer a Vehicle Between Family Members.

www.dmv.ca.gov

If my car check engine light doesn’t turn on at all will I pass smog?

No, if the check engine light (Service Engine Soon, MIL, etc), is burned out, missing, disconnected, or not functioning normally for any reason, the vehicle will not pass the California smog inspection.

If you fail OBD II on a smog check, should your overall smog fail?

If a vehicle fails any part of a smog inspection the state’s software will not certify the vehicle. In other words, the vehicle will fail.

As a matter of fact, if the check engine light isn’t on, the technician inspecting your car won’t know your car failed until the test is over.

Where can I get a STAR smog inspection in Huntington Beach?

Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Fountain Valley, and beyond, the choice is simple!  For any and all smog inspections, booking an appointment at Just Smogs® in Huntington Beach will be the best smog inspection decision you’ll ever make.

Click here, or call (714) 596-1019 to make an appointment.

2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Some 2003 Chrysler PT Cruisers (2.4 liter DOHC 16v turbocharged, sales code EDV, with 5- spd manual G288 trans, sales code DDD) are unable to complete the OBD II Catalyst monitor because of a firmware error.

Chrysler is aware of the problem, and a firmware update is required to correct the problem.

If you own an affected vehicle, please contact your Chrysler dealer for more information.  Reference technical service bulletin number 18-112-16.  Repair reimbursement may also be available.  Per waranty D-16-26, the warranty for reprogramming the PCM on affected vehicle has been extended to a lifetime warranty.

Diesel Smog Check in Huntington Beach (STAR Certified)

Give me forty acres and I’ll turn this rig around

Smoking ExhaustThere was a time when driving a diesel powered vehicle in the United States meant air horns, CB radios, and trucker songs.

The few diesel powered passenger vehicles made an awful racket and belched smoke.  Even luxury diesels may as well have come from the factory equipped with ear protection and a soot blackened rear bumper.

Much has changed

BMW 328d EngineToday’s diesel powered vehicles run so smooth that in many cases they make far less noise than their direct injected gasoline powered counterparts.

Thanks to low sulfur clean burning fuel and advanced emissions control systems that include urea injections designed to purify the exhaust stream, today’s diesels have little in common with yesterday’s rolling smog machines.

Diesel powered vehicles are no longer just for hauling boats, trailers and farm equipment.

Whether you’re looking for something sporty, luxurious, a sports utility vehicle or a blend of all of the above, manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes, VW, and Land Rover are sure to have what you’re looking for.

Diesel Smog Inspections

Red Mercedes GLESince 2010, diesel powered vehicles have been required to undergo smog inspections in the State of California.

Although there is no tailpipe component to the diesel smog inspection (In other words, we don’t measure exhaust gasses coming out of the tailpipe), diesel vehicles are required to pass a comprehensive visual and functional inspection.

During the visual smog inspection an inspector will ensure that all diesel engine emissions related components are properly installed and in good repair. In addition, an inspector will ensure that aftermarket parts have are approved for sale and use in by the California Air Resource Board.

The vehicle’s On Board Diagnostic System (OBDII) will be checked for active diagnostic trouble codes (That would command the “check engine/service engine” light on, and will also be checked to ensure that on board diagnostic tests have been run to completion.

Where can I get a smog inspection for my diesel?

It doesn’t matter if you need a smog inspection for your Ram 3500, Mercedes Sprinter, Volkswagen TDI, or BMW 325d, the professionals at Just Smogs® in Huntington Beach guarantee fast friendly service.  Click here to make an appointment, or call us at (714) 596-1019.

 

 

 

 

Hybrid Smog Check in Huntington Beach (STAR Certified)

Hybrids outsell all other passenger cars in California

“The Toyota Prius is the number one selling passenger car in California”. Those words, spoken by the instructor of a hybrid vehicle diagnostic course I took two years ago, made it clear that gasoline hybrid vehicles had arrived in a big way.

Toyota Prius on the beach near Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Hybrids at Just Smogs

Everybody is on board with hybrids

Just look around the next time you’re on the freeway.  Everybody is making a hybrid.  Toyota has the Prius and Camry.  Chevrolet has the Volt, and Ford offers hybrid Fusions and Escapes.

Californians love hybrid vehicles! They’re stylish, economical, and good for the environment, but did you know that even hybrids are required to pass smog inspections in the State of California?

That’s right, whether you drive a Nissan Altima, Honda CR-Z, Hyundai Sonata, or any other gasoline hybrid powered vehicle, chances are that you’ll eventually receive a notice from the DMV with the words “Smog Check Required” printed along the top.

Where can I get a hybrid smog check?

Nobody in Huntington Beach, or Fountain Valley, performs more hybrid vehicle smog inspections than your friendly neighborhood smog technicians at Just Smogs® in Huntington Beach.

So what are you waiting for?  Click here or call (714) 596-1019 for a fast and easy hybrid smog inspection. Just Smogs® – We do Smog Checks Fast!

 

Toyota Camry Failed Smog : Not Ready : No Check Engine Light

Our customer’s 1999 Toyota Camry CE 2.2L failed the biennial smog check inspection (category: OBD System Checks for being “Not Ready“). In most situations driving the vehicle for a week or two (streets & highway) will allow the vehicle to complete it’s self tests (readiness monitors) and become “Ready” so that it will pass the emission inspection.

Unfortunately, our customer drove almost 500 miles and still his Toyota was Not Ready for the following three monitors: Catalyst, Oxygen Sensor & Oxygen Sensor Heater.

He asked us to diagnose the problem. Although there was no check engine light illuminated, there as a pending diagnostic trouble code (DTC) stored in the vehicles computer: DTC P1155. P1155 is a manufacturer specific code relating to the Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor Heater Circuit.

Our technician diagnosed the air/fuel sensor and confirmed an open heater circuit. We replaced the a new Denso air/fuel sensor, cleared the fault code, and drove the vehicle.

In less than 20 miles of our drive cycle all three incomplete monitors (Catalyst, Oxygen Sensor & Oxygen Sensor Heater) became “Ready”. We re-tested the Camry and it passed.

Although in most “Not Ready” failed smog check situations, a vehicle can be driven to become “Ready” and pass a California smog inspection, repairs are sometimes necessary.