Whitney Russell
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6 Tips to Help Your Car Pass an Emissions Test

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Exhaust emissions
Smog tests are just one method some states use to help curb auto pollution

Many states, like Maine, require annual vehicle emissions tests (i.e. smog tests). Here are some tips for preparing your car to successfully pass this yearly checkup, whether you live in The Pine Tree State or in another part of the U.S. that requires this evaluation.

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Smart strategies for success

engine oil change dipstick fluid level check
Timely oil changes are important to help your car do well on its yearly smog test
Photo: The News Wheel

1. Regular maintenance

For starters, make sure that your vehicle is up to date on maintenance. It is especially important to keep up with oil changes since old, dirty oil can impede how your car performs on the smog test, according to CARFAX’s Warren Clark.

2. Fuel additives

Regularly use a fuel additive to help lower your vehicle’s emissions when you’re driving it. They work by removing carbon deposits that accumulate in the engine. Every now and then, pour the additive into the fuel tank before you pump gas.

3. Drive more

Racking up miles on the odometer can be a good thing when it comes to the time leading up to your car’s smog test. Clark advises putting at least 100-200 miles on your vehicle after you’ve changed the battery or had another service task done. That’s because mechanics disconnect the battery for a short period when replacing it or performing certain maintenance items. This wipes your vehicle’s memory chip and having a populated memory chip is crucial for doing well on the emissions test.

filling tires with air checking pressure
Fill your tires to the proper inflation level before your car’s smog test

4. Check your engine

Ensure that the check engine light isn’t illuminated on your vehicle’s dashboard. If this symbol is turned on during the test, you’ll automatically fail to pass it, as Clark confirms.

5. Inflate

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your car’s tires are at the proper inflation level before the day of your test. This will enhance your vehicle’s stability on the machine that the testing site uses.

6. Warm it up

And spend some time driving your car right before the smog test. Engines that are warmer have a better chance of acing the test than those that are cooler.

For more information about your state’s smog test rules, visit your state government’s website (such as Maine.gov).

Convenient Scheduling: Make a maintenance appointment to ensure that your car is in tip-top shape for its smog test