For smog checks, I have a perfect dream. In my dream, you should be able to take your car down to the shop one time, spend no more than an hour, pass the test, and then go on with your life.
But with a very old car, it’s a nightmare if you don’t pass.
It goes something like this:
- You don’t pass the initial smog check.
- You pay for a diagnosis and expensive repair bill.
- The car’s computer that controls the engine gets reset and has to do a self-diagnosis.
- You have to drive the car for a few days until the computer can be “smog test ready“ again.
- Then you go back to the mechanic’s shop and do the smog test again (and hopefully pass.)
- Pray its not more than 2 – 3 trips to the repair shop over a 1 or 2 week period (if everything gets fixed properly.)
Waiting for a car’s computer to be “smog test ready” is a very frustrating and time-consuming process. I really, really don’t understand why the process is so bureaucratic and a consumer nightmare.
Do you want to ease the frustration and know 100% when your car is ready for a smog test or re-test? Buy one of these…
This BlueDriver ODB-II Scanner (this is not an affiliate link btw…) is a small device that hooks up via bluetooth (wireless) to your Droid/iPhone smartphone. It can talk to your car’s computer and tell you when it’s smog test ready. You just plug it into the computer diagnostic port under your car’s dashboard.
You can view all the diagnostic information right on your smart phone’s screen. Pretty slick!
This device is totally worth it and also does a great job scanning for check engine and airbag light codes. Out of all the auto ODB-II scanner tools I’ve used, this Blue Driver is the best one by far.
I recently wrote an article about all the money I dumped into keeping my 18 year-old Toyota Tacoma running. Smog related repairs totaled up over over $3,000 dollars, which is crazy. I’m not sure I’d ever spend that kind of money again to repair a car that won’t pass smog. It’s bitter sweet.
You can bet I got a second opinion on the repairs too, it all checked out, they were legit, especially with a car with over 150k miles on it.
What do you think? Have a story about a smog check nightmare you’d like to share? Comment below!