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California Car Inspection FAQ

California vehicle inspection FAQ


State Car Emissions Testing & Inspection

With regular automobile inspections and periodic emissions checks, drivers can be familiarized with any mechanical issues with their vehicles. In case your car fails the inspection or the vehicle-emissions test, you will know it requires some prompt attention and possibly some repair work. Vehicle owners should schedule the repair or service as soon as possible because it may jeopardize the dependability of the automobile and also lead to hefty penalties or even an invalidated registration. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have your car checked by a skilled professional at least every 6 months to avoid all these hassles. Some frequently asked inquiries on automobile inspection are described here.


What is On-Board Diagnostics?

The OBD or On-Board Diagnostics, or OBD II is a standard computer system executed in all vehicles constructed in and after 1996. In short, all the vehicles made in 1996 and after will have an OBD system in them, which provides information records on self-diagnosis of the car usually utilized by automotive specialists prior to carrying out any type of vehicle repair work.


What Are The Most Common Causes Of a Failed Emissions Test?

An emissions test can fail for many reasons due to malfunctioning car parts such as an injector, oxygen sensing unit, spark plugs or even an EVAP system. One of the more common reasons is damaged injectors. Either the injectors or a malfunctioning oxygen sensor can trigger a “abundant air-fuel mixture” leading to a disappointing emissions test.

If your automobile has a damaged ignition system, there is a greater chance that it might be the cause of a boost in exhaust discharges. This, subsequently, can lead to a failed vehicle-emissions test.

Any type of issue or deficiencies in the EVAP system or evaporative emission control system can cause trouble in the handling of the gas vapor emitted from the automobile resulting in air pollution.

If your vehicle hasn’t undergone regular maintenance and the “check engine” light is lit up on the dashboard, your automobile may not pass the emissions test.


What Do They Check for in a Vehicle Inspection?

A licensed inspector performs an automobile evaluation at state-approved examination stations only. This is what they will look for:

  • Front lights: headlamps evaluation to make sure of proper operation, no broken lenses or lamps, lights are the proper shade, are the same, and turn signals are operable.
  • Tail lights: Turn signals, marker lights, hazard lights, license plate lights, brake lights, reverse lights are operable, and no broken taillights
  • Wheels and Tires: to check tire problems for any type of indicators of wear and tear and if there is a need for replacement
  • Mirrors: Make sure no mirrors are cracked, damaged or missing
  • Seat belts: to evaluate safety belt condition and ensure they are securely working or require a replacement
  • Brakes: a detailed brake assessment to ensure proper brake response and if there are any kind of brake fluid leaks
  • Horn: ensure the horn is working correctly
  • Evaluation of suspension and shock absorbers

How Long Does A Safety Inspection Take?

Depending upon the state, city, and region where the car examinations are conducted, the vehicle safety inspection duration might differ. Nonetheless, for most vehicles, this process generally takes one hour to 90 minutes.


California Car Inspection FAQ | Toyota Dealership Orange County

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