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Since a smog check is required by the DMV for a title transfer, I wanted to make sure that I had something in hand to show that this had been done when I went into the office to complete the process. My experience was somewhat amusing and may be helpful for other Insight owners when the time for a smog check comes.

First of all the Insight, clean as it is, is not exempt from smog checks. The state has a very good site that can answer most questions: CA Smog Check

When the girl I bought the car from went to get the check (it is the seller’s responsibility), the station she went to told her that their equipment didn’t have the ability to test the car and so it didn’t have to be done. If there were any questions I could just call him. Somehow I didn’t think the DMV would take a business card and the instructions to call “Charlie” as a substitute for a certificate. I decided to get a second opinion from another shop. While “Charlie” was correct that the equipment could not test the car, it turns out it needs to be inspected by a Referee. The Referees are located around the state, mostly at Community Colleges. There is a toll free number (1-800-622-7733) that you have to call to set up an appointment at the nearest location. Ask about colleges nearby (using the name of the city the college is in) since I later found out I could have taken it to a place much closer to my home and would have been ticked if I didn’t have to be in the Woodland Hills area already.

The actual inspection process is pretty straightforward. They hooked their computer up to the car’s OBD slot under the dash and pretty much just made sure all the equipment was present and working properly. And since they don’t actually check for tailpipe emissions, all you pay for is the certificate ($8.25 in my case)! The referee said that they had inspected several 5-speeds but this was the first CVT that they had seen. He also concluded that the Insight must be a much better car than the Prius, since he had seen so few Insights yet had inspected quite a few of the Toyotas and that they seemed to be changing hands with very low mileage!

Anyway, I hope this helps.
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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Smog Check

Great post. This is the type of information that has a priority. It gives me something to work on. :twisted: I'm in the "smog exempt" area and don't plan on selling the "rocket" soon, but will eventually check and see if I can get a check for documentation.
 

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I'm surprised they couldn't do a smog check in California. Didn't have any problem here (Nevada), except for having to check the manual to find out where the connector was. (Behind the center console, on the passenger's side, FYI.) Then it was just a matter of plugging it in, waiting maybe 30 seconds for the report to print, and handing over the money - $28, IIRC.
 

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An idle test would be impossible or meaningless to conduct on an Insight -- idle stop will prevent most testing and forcing it to idle won't be meaningful.

However, there's no reason an Insight couldn't be tested at speed, what is it, 3000 rpm? That's a pretty high RPM for the Insight which is arguably another reason not to test it.

However, the Insight is a ULEV or SULEV. It's not a ZEV. It does emit pollutants. Other ULEV and SULEV vehicles get tested; there's no reason not to test the Insight (aside from 3000 RPM being too high).

I am actually interested in seeing tailpipe test results of others' cars. I had to have mine tested when we moved to MA and our 5spd ULEV exceeded the SULEV tailpipe emissions standard :)
 

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I bought my Insight used in Ontario so it had to get it's emissions tested (all our cars need to be tested every 2 years).
I recall that the results for the various emissions read something like this:
0, 0, 0, 0 , 0.01 , 0, 0
It was very amusing : )
 

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"An idle test would be impossible or meaningless to conduct on an Insight..."

Well, not really :) The idle stop kicks in and stops the engine when other cars would be idling, no? So the Insight, in its normal operating mode, produces zero emissions at idle. Therefore an idle test is measuring what the Insight actually does.

Here there's no test of the actual tailpipe emissions at all, and I think that's true of all newer cars with OBDII. The internal diagnostics are supposed to check for EC faults, so the check only reads the memory to see if any have occurred.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The inability to do an idle test was the reason that I was given why a regular smog check station could not complete the test. This is pretty funny since the idle stop feature produces zero emissions!
 

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Guillermo said:
I bought my Insight used in Ontario so it had to get it's emissions tested (all our cars need to be tested every 2 years).
I recall that the results for the various emissions read something like this:
0, 0, 0, 0 , 0.01 , 0, 0
It was very amusing : )
Just curious, but what do they test for? Here in the NYC metro area we have to be checked on a dynamometer up to 60MPH every year for $35 :-(. New Jersey is now smarter and has just instituted a system for cars made in 2000+ (I think that is the correct starting year) where they simply plug into the OBDII connector and read the cars status. Quicker and cheaper and you basically get the same results. Older vehicles have to go through a more intensive test.

Anyhow, here in NY they check HC, CO and NOx. My car has been checked twice now:

2002:
HC 0.01 (test limit 0.80)
CO 1.04 (test limit 15.00)
NOx 0.03 (test limit 2.00)

2003:
HC 0.02 (test limit 0.60)
CO 0.40 (test limit 10.00)
NOx 0.02 (test limit 1.50)

The limits were reduced in late 2002 as part of the completion of a phase-in of tighter standards. Compared to the Insight, it is amazing how "dirty" a car can be and still pass.
 

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rschaffrath said:
Here in the NYC metro area we have to be checked on a dynamometer... New Jersey is now smarter and has just instituted a system for cars made in 2000+ (I think that is the correct starting year) where they simply plug into the OBDII connector...
MA agrees that the OBD check is better than doing tailpipe/dyno tests, though most of their justification appears to be because it can catch problems early, not because it is necessarily more accurate than a tailpipe test.
http://vehicletest.state.ma.us/faqs.html
http://vehicletest.state.ma.us/obdqa.html

On the other hand, CA argues that their BAR-97 system which includes a dynamometer test is the shiznit and they require it in "enhanced" areas.

Non-enhanced areas in CA require only a 2-speed idle test.

Your numbers are almost good enough to beat the SULEV standard for a new car (see the standards at http://www.insightcentral.net/KB/compare/emissions.html and note that they in fact get relaxed as cars age). Is yours a 5spd or CVT?
 
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