This is the first in a series of blog posts that our emissions and diagnostics expert, Daniel Dillon, will be writing for RepairPal. Dan has 22 years of experience as a licensed Smog Technician in California. He helped write test questions for the California Smog Technician Exam, and has performed Consumer Assistance Program and gold shield diagnostic work for the State. He also was an instructor for SnapOn Tool Corporation.
Dan's posts will address important events or trends he encounters in his shop.
At least once a week when I'll explain to a customer what steps will need to be taken to bring their vehicle into emissions compliance, they often respond with, "Oh, I just want to get my vehicle to pass the emissions test and I don't care about all that 'Smog' stuff that you need or want to do". Then, after I explain that the recommendations are required to bring the vehicle into emissions compliance and that, in most cases, the State of California, will pay up to $500.00 towards the repair(s). This generally covers all or most of the work; the customer generally agrees and authorizes to have the repairs performed and I go forward with the work.
Afterward, I almost always get a phone call or an impromptu visit from this same customer. They are usually amazed at how well their vehicle runs and how much more fuel efficient it is since the repairs were performed.
There is an important concept here. When your car is emitting more than the allowed emissions and fails a Smog or Emissions Test, it is because the combustion process inside of your car's engine has gone out of balance. It is burning the fuel either incompletely or not at all and much of it is going right out of the tail pipe. Making your car properly 'Green' means that the engine combustion process has been brought back in to a very delicate balance that produces the most power from the least amount of fuel with nearly zero 'left overs'. Emissions compliance benefits the car, the driver, as well as the air.
(Next post: why Catalytic Converters usually don't just die, something ruins them)