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Old 03-14-2009, 06:54 AM
 
Location: NJ
4 posts, read 5,458 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi
I have a 1994 car that is from NJ. What do I need to do to get this car good to pass all the emission controls needed to run a car in Calif?
Is it worth bringing this car or just buying a used car in Calif when I move there in June? I tried to look on the MVC site but couldn't not find much about what the costs are to bring your car up to the emission requirements.
Any thoughts would be helpful
Thanks
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Old 03-14-2009, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Pomona
1,955 posts, read 9,201,186 times
Reputation: 1531
No special modifications required. Your car will be tested at the EPA emission levels, not the tighter CA emission level. A CA smog check and a vehicle verification against the title (aka proof of ownership) at the DMV is all that is necessary.

As for what the smog check entails ...
- visual check that the engine is what was originally intended. Engine swaps may be an issue, especially if it's something obvious, say like a small block V8 in a Volvo 240.
- no "check engine" light on. The bulb must be functional too.
- all the emission control related items (cat, egr, pcv, charcoal canister, etc.) must be intact and functional. Such are checked visually; any malfunction would show up in the test results.
- no major exhaust leaks. A broken exhaust must be repaired before testing.
- no evaporative emissions from the tank; this is done by air pressurizing the tank. If there's a drop, that means there's a leak.
- the actual smog check, which is done on a dyno (in drive). Being an EPA car means it can emit a bit more and still pass.

There are no regular safety inspections here in CA. A car could be a rusted out hulk with a bent frame and worn brakes here in Cali - it can be street legal as long as it passes the smog check.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:30 PM
 
Location: NJ
4 posts, read 5,458 times
Reputation: 11
Thanks so much for your help. In NJ we have to inspect every two years which becomes a big pain as the car gets older.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Pomona
1,955 posts, read 9,201,186 times
Reputation: 1531
Well, the smog checks here are every two years too. As long as everything is working like it should at factory spec, you'll be fine.
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