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Failed Smog Test

Ford Escort - Check engine light is on and failed EVAP test.

1996 Ford Escort, passed all the standard tests but failed because the check engine light was on.

My check engine light has been on since 2002 when a young man at a Sears store in Colorado put a battery in backwards in my car which raised major havic with my alternator and such when he started my car.

Today at Fremont Auto Repair in Fremont, CA: After waiting for 3 1/2 hours for the 'required diagnostic check' ($98 fee) [with the first hour my car was just sitting there], the gentleman at Fremont Auto Repair said that my hoses in the back near my gas tank were old and needed to be replaced along with several other hoses in that general area. He gave me an estimate of $417.54 for this work.

When I asked him if this was required to pass smog check, he never really answered me but proceeded to point out that I passed all the other tests. He then asked me if I wanted to start the work with them, and I pretty much responded that I did not really have a choice since you appear to be saying this needs to be fixed in order to pass smog.

Since they chose to keep all the Smog Check Vehicle Inspection report (VIR) paperwork from Thursday's tests and my DMV paperwork, I cannot give you the actual P code, but I do recall it referred to the check engine light being on.

ISSUE: Was this really a neccessary expense on a 16 year old car that I drive less than 3000 miles a year as I take county transit to work? Was I taken for a ride because he then started stressing that I needed to get the small leak in the radiator fixed saying it could have blown up on him.

While I signed the Estimate for Services repair to pick up car on 12/26/11, I am not feeling comfortable with the lack of an answer from this Gold Shield station as to this being an actual requirement for passing smog. I am on a tight budget and this $515.54 could have gone to other work on my car if it was not a necessary expense to pass smog. Please advise. What recourse do I have if it was not necessary?


From the information you've provided we must assume your Escort's check engine light was on due to an EVAP system leak. During the smog check a vehicle must a) not have the check engine light illuminated, and b) pass an EVAP test, in order to pass the smog inspection. Repairing the EVAP fault and turning off the check engine light are absolutely neccessary in order to pass the smog test.

posted by SmogTips Support 12-24-2011 09:36 AM

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