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Every two years the Alfa Spider has to go in for a complete smog check. Any car in California that is newer than 1975 has to go through this. If it fails – you cannot renew the registration. I just took the 1986 Spider in again for this ordeal. They check the engine bay to see if all the smog equipment and lines are there; the timing, the catalytic converter (Calif has special ones); the gas cap seal; and the tail pipe emissions. For pre-2000 cars they run the car on a dynamometer with rollers and the drive wheels spinning. They test the emission output at 15 MPH and then again at 25 MPH. Here are some simple tips to help pass:

  1. Make sure the fuel is fresh
  2. Have clean oil
  3. Run some injector cleaner a bit before the test date
  4. Make sure the plugs are new – or at least clean
  5. Make sure the car is in tune and valves adjusted
  6. Make sure all your smog equipment and hoses are intact
  7. Make sure the tire pressure is up (less resistance for the engine on the dyno)
  8. Take the car out for a good run at speed on an open freeway to clean out the engine and warm up the catalytic convertor
  9. Drive it straight to the test and get in on the dyno while the convertor is nice and hot

With any luck you will pass with ease! Since I installed a new catalytic convertor a couple of tests back the Alfa shows very low emissions numbers. Great for the environment and great for the biennial test. Good luck!

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