Many areas now require cars to pass a smog check as part of the annual safety inspections. In order to pass the smog check, your emissions system must be working as it is intended. In most cases, if you fail a smog check, you'll be given a certain number of days to repair the problem and then you must have the car reinspected. Here are a few tips to help you increase your car's chances of passing the smog test successfully.

Address the Check Engine Light

In many cases, the check engine light is triggered by a problem with the emissions system. Whether it's a faulty O2 sensor or other problem, the check engine light is an indication that there's something wrong. In most cases, an illuminated check engine light is an automatic failure for safety and emissions inspections. Most auto body shops and inspection stations will check your car's computer for the trouble code that tells them what is activating the light. That way, you can get it repaired before the smog inspection.

Make Sure the Engine is Warm

You'll want your engine warm so that it's running at its optimal stage when you have it examined. Drive for 15 to 20 minutes, or until your engine reaches its normal operating temperature. That way, combustion is happening at its proper rate and the emissions handling is happening correctly before the test.

Consider Using a Fuel Additive

Some fuel additives remove carbon deposits in the intake and exhaust, which help the fuel and air flow properly. The improved flow will help the combustion process happen more efficiently, which will improve engine performance and help minimize emissions. Consider adding a fuel additive to your tank when you refuel before your inspection.

Maintain Your Tires

Many smog tests require that the car be hooked up to a dynamometer. If the tires on your car are uneven or not properly inflated, it can cause inaccuracies in the smog test. You'll want to make every effort to keep your tires properly and equally inflated and rotated appropriately for even tread wear.

Schedule an Oil Change

Before you take your car in for an emissions test, plan an oil change. Your car's air intake and ventilation system can actually draw fumes from your car's oil pan into the engine. If the oil hasn't been changed in a while and is dirty, it's going to result in contaminated, dirty fumes being drawn into the engine. Depending on the sensitivity of the smog test, that could cause you to fail.

Talk with your smog test shop about what's actually evaluated during your state's smog inspections. Then, use these tips and any others your mechanic may offer to prepare your car before having your next inspection done.