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Failed Smog Test

My Vehicle Failed For Cracked Gas Cap Gasket! What?

Two questions - 1. Should I have failed the smog because of a visual inspection of the gas cap ? ALL other portions of the test were passed. I was told during the visual inspection there were "cracks" in the fuel cap gasket. No check engine lights, all other mechanical and diagnostic checks were fine. My issue is that it is a rubber gasket with barely visible cracks. The rubber gasket is obviously exposed to gasoline fumes and high heat. Even a new gasket will show evidence of cracking in a short period of time with this exposure. I couldn't find anything that covers a gas cap visual, for my year vehicle, in the BAR smog procedures manual.

2. Is it more difficult to smog a BMW than an Asian or domestic vehicle ? I was charged an additional fee because "BMW's are harder."

At this point, I think I was hosed. Am I wrong? Thanks.


For your first question... technically no, it is not harder to inspect a BMW but due to the high dollar value of such vehicles and the liability involved with smog inspecting vehicles in general, some stations choose to charge more (additional fees) for high profile, European, and performance type cars, trucks, and SUVs. Please note, all smog stations are required to have their fees posted in plain view of the public.

As for the gas cap gasket failure, per the Bureau of Automotive Repairs smog check inspection guidelines, 1996 and newer vehicles are exempt from the Gas Cap Integrity test, but not exempt from the visual gas leak and/or other faulty emission component inspection. The gas cap is considered an emissions component. It appears this particular smog technician felt your BMW's gas cap gasket was defective or worn enough to pose an emission problem. You have the right to contest the smog technician's findings by visiting a smog check referee's office. You may scheualde a Referee Appointment by calling (800) 622-7733.

It is our opinion that this particular smog technician was simply being cautious as to avoid being fined by the BAR should your vehicle have been an undercover BAR inspection vehicle. Since the implementation of the STAR smog check program smog technicians are overly cautious not to accidentally miss any inspection failure. Doing so could mean losing their STAR status; in essence shutting down their business.

posted by SmogTips Support

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