"check engine light" a smog scam?


OK, here’s the deal. We go to smog the car the other day, they run the test, charge me $30 and say it won’t pass smog with the “check engine light” on. and to take care of that first, then come back. So we do. I asked a couple mechanics I know and they said they wouldn’t even do the smog test if the “CE” light is on. Then on the return to the smog place, I asked the lady" why do you preform a test if when you get in the car and you see the “CE” light is on, you know from just that it won’t pass? She came up with some crazy answer about how “THEY” could be watching us right now and “THEY” would shut us down if we told people about the “CE” light thing. She would only tell some one if they mention it first, then she would send them off. Sounds fishy.


Not fishy. This is the way the state tells these smog stations to do the test.You could be from the state and they could be fined alot.


It reels.

The mechanics you know and asked gave you the correct answer.


That’s supposed to be ‘reeks’.


I would imagine that they are required to see that light off. Consider this. If the light is on and it is in for a reason not related to the pollution systems the car may not be polluting right now. However next week the pollution system could fail and you may well not know it until the next inspection. A working light is part of the PC system.

I might add that driving around with a CEL and not knowing exactly why is foolish. That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer to the question you need answered, even if you don’t know it.

You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code not just their translation into English and post it back here. It likely will have a format like P1234.


When you’re dealing with bureacracy the shop may be right in proceeding with the inspection in spite of the CEL.
You could examine the laws in your state and see how they read.

I used to be an OK vehicle safety inspector (not out of choice I assure you) and the law said that we MUST proceed with the inspection even we noticed the vehicle had a cracked and unsafe windshield right off the bat.
The law required the inspection be written up as a vehicle failure.
The car owner would then have the vehicle glass (or anything else that failed) repaired and brought back for reinspection. (No charge on the follow-up)

Basically, once the “process” starts one could not back up and forget the whole thing. At least not legally.


Hate typos. Bureacracy - bureaucracy. :frowning:


I suppose the theory is that the inspector should give the car owner a complete list of what needs to be fixed, not just one thing at a time. In other words, suppose that cracked windshield was just one problem and the car also had worn brake pads. The car owner really should be told about both things, but you wouldn’t know about the brakes if you stopped at the first fault.