or how do I get
my Jensen Healey past the dreaded smog test?
by Greg Fletcher
The California Air Resources Board has released a draft report on the
effectiveness of the Smog Check program. Some quotes: The most significant
options that we expect would have direct, quantifiable emission reduction
- More stringent inspection
- Renewed testing of older
- A new, more thorough evaporative
systems check for older cars (i.e., adding a comprehensive evaporative
system and liquid leak check element to Smog Check)
final cut points would move the fleet emission rates closer to the SIP commitment,
there would also be other consequences. For example, based on an analysis
of the roadside data, at current cut points, we expect a failure rate of approximately
22 percent, while at final cut points we would expect a failure rate of about
50 percent. In addition, the current average repair cost is approximately
$130 per failing vehicle. This cost would substantially increase under the
final cut points. Pilot studies estimated that repair costs could approach
$450 per vehicle under final cut points.
That from the state
of California. It's a drag and getting worse. Old Jensen Healeys (meaning
neglected ones) don't often run clean. If your J-H is in good mechanical shape,
you have no worries, but I hear about someone's J-H failing a smog test almost
every week. Here's some information on the program and some ideas to help
you get through the most unpleasant part of old British car ownership.
What is Smog
Smog Check II is an enhanced version of the current vehicle-emissions
inspection program. It is operating in the areas of the state with the
dirtiest air. Frequently asked questions include:
When does Smog Check
The program is operating now. Most of Smog Check II is being phased in.
The major provisions took effect in the summer 1998. Some portions of
the program have yet to be implemented.
How does it work?
Smog Check II requires most 1974
and newer vehicles to be tested every other year
(new vehicles are also exempted until their fifth year). Eighty-five percent
of vehicles go to neighborhood smog check facilities for testing and repairs,
while 15 percent must go to designated test-only centers. These vehicles
High-mileage fleet vehicles "Gross polluters" and other potential
high-polluting vehicles, two-percent random sample of all covered vehicles.
Are emission standards
Emission standards are still based on those in effect in the vehicle's
year of manufacture. New cars must still meet more stringent standards
than old cars.
How likely am I to
State officials estimate that 30 percent of all vehicles tested will fail,
due to the more accurate and representative test. Without a pre-test,
18 percent of all vehicles tested failed under the old program.
if I fail?
To be registered, failing vehicles must be repaired to meet the standards
applicable to the vehicle. They may also be stored or otherwise lawfully
disposed of. Eventually motorists will be able to sell their failing vehicles
to the state under the "buy-back" provisions of the program.
A subsidy program to assist low-income owners of failing vehicles is being
What is a gross polluter?
Vehicles that fail by a wide margin are considered "gross polluters."
(10 percent of vehicles produce about half the auto-related emissions
or 12 percent of emissions from all sources.) A gross polluter
can be any age or type of vehicle that has been tampered with, poorly
maintained or in need of repair. It is illegal to drive or sell a gross
polluting vehicle in California, and it cannot be registered with the
There is no cost limit on repairs to these vehicles. If they are repaired
to below gross polluter threshold, they are eligible for a one-time waiver
or "economic hardship extension." After the waiver period, the
car must be brought in to compliance or disposed of in a proper manner.
Gross-polluting vehicles are not subject to confiscation by the state.
Why am I seeing roadside emission sensors?
The state will use roadside sensors to help in the identification of gross
polluters. The program is not yet fully operational. The equipment motorists
are now seeing in Southern California is gathering information on locations
and set up. When the plan is implemented, owners of vehicles identified
as gross polluters by a roadside sensor will be mailed a notice and must
have the car tested at a designated test-only station. If it passes, the
owner will not need to take any further action. If the car fails, the
procedures are the same as those described above, depending on how badly
the vehicle fails. Failure to respond to the notice will result in fines.
compared to the old smog check program:
Pre-1974 vehicles have been exempted from biennial smog checks as well
as smog checks upon transfer of title. The 1966 to 1973 vehicles are still
subject to smog checks if they are identified as "dirty" by
a roadside sensor or audit. New cars under five years old receive the
same exemptions as pre-1974 cars. Gross polluters must go to a designated
station for a retest after repairs have been made. Smog check test information
is electronically transmitted by the technician directly to the state.
Vehicle owners will no longer submit certificates to the DMV at vehicle
registration time. Motorists should take their registration renewal form
to the test site to assure the accuracy of the information transmitted.
Smog check technicians and mechanics are subject to improved training,
testing and monitoring by the state.
Where can I get more information? The California Bureau of Automotive
Repair has an information line-(800) 9525210.
So, after reading
this I'm sure I don't need to emphasis that it's desirable to avoid being
labeled as a Gross Polluter by the State of California at any cost.
You can get your Jensen
Healey to pass a Smog Check II, it's just a matter of trying a solution that
fits your budget
- What about Dellorto
carburetors on the Jensen Healey with Smog II?
- Tune your car for a Smog
Check II Pre-Test to find out where you stand.
- The last resort? Consider
a cataylic converter, they're fairly inexpensive and JHPS members have
reported excellent results. Pike Automotive
in Glendale, CA specializes in getting Jensen Healeys through the Smog
Check II test.
Here's an interesting
web site for any California car, it's theCalifornia DMV website at http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov/VEHTESTS/PUBTSTQRY.ASPX
Just enter the car's VIN or license number. You'll get a vehicle smog
test history and location of the test- neato!
2003 UPDATE for California
registered 1974 Jensen Healeys-
From clubber John Busch
in San Jose, California–
Great news for California JH owners – Yesterday, Jan. 6th, the DMV
surprised me with a no hassle registration experience for my “non-op”
This car has been garaged for the past 5 years because it was always on
the “just not quite” side of passing smog. But now that it
has hit its 30th year, the DMV was more than happy to take my money and
provide the registration and stickers with no hassle. Even better was
the fact that my car’s normal registration due date is March, but
they were happy to let me settle up 60 days early.
Here are the details as I understood the from the DMV clerk:
You can go to the DMV within 60 to 90 days before your normal registration
is due to pay the registration fees and get your tags. If you try to pay
only the portion of fees up to your 2003 registration date, the DMV computer
will ask for your smog certificate (if it is due). If you offer to pay
all fees out to your 2004 registration date, then the computer will not
ask for the smog certificate and you are home free. If your car has been
“non-op” for a number of years, you should only have to pay
registration fees for the current years (year up to 2003 registration
date + year from 2003 to 2004 registration date).
Note: as required by CA, you will need to have proof of liability insurance
when you go to the DMV. I happened to forget that fact, but was able to
call CSAA right at the clerk’s desk, activate liability and have
them fax proof of insurance to the DMV (all within 10 minutes).
So, now I am ready to hit the road again after a long period of hibernation.
Hip, hip, hooray!
Cheers from San Jose,
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