Smog test for the Clarity?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by coutinpe, Apr 5, 2023.

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  1. coutinpe

    coutinpe Active Member

    Folks, with my registration renewal notice I just received the weird news I have to submit my 2018 Clarity to a smog check. If I was still in CA I wouldn't worry too much, but living in Vegas I wonder if they will be able to do it properly on these shops here. How would they check for smog a car that works by default as an EV? I appreciate any suggestions...
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  3. Allantheprinter

    Allantheprinter New Member

    From what I've seen (in CA) of current smog checks, they are done entirely by connection to the OBD-II port, along with a visual inspection for disallowed modifications. I would think that putting the car into HV Charge mode would force the ICEngine to start and be sufficient to generate any needed codes.
    turtleturtle likes this.
  4. ppp

    ppp New Member

    YMMV, but I'll repost my experience in Las Vegas from this thread in another forum in case it helps:
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2023
  5. The tech will likely need to put the car in maintenance mode and then start the engine. See the steps below. HV Charge will not start the engine if the battery SOC is 60% or higher. 0B8356F3-A563-48CA-BCAE-A699B6BC012D.jpeg
  6. ppp

    ppp New Member

    Oh yeah, I tried in regular, maintenance and HV charge more at a few smog stations — failed in every mode.
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  8. The catalytic converter needs heat up before it's actually effective. I wonder if driving around for a while on HV charge before you get to the test center might yield better results
    Robert_Alabama likes this.
  9. What did you try in “regular”, maintenance and HV charge modes? To start the engine?

    It is necessary to follow the steps precisely in order to enter maintenance mode and then start the engine.
  10. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    There are a lot of Clarity PHEVs in California. Honda must have written the procedure for performing a smog test on a Clarity. Can your Honda dealer provide that procedure description?
  11. The OP is in Nevada and I don’t believe anyone else on this thread, up to this post, resides in CA.
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  13. Allantheprinter

    Allantheprinter New Member

    I found this discussion of smog checks for PHEV's on the website of an LA area smog station:

    Hybrid Vehicles and Smog Check
    Hybrid Vehicles are designed to meet strict emission standards and to provide improved fuel economy over conventional vehicles. However, hybrid emission control systems experience the same causes of long-term deterioration affecting other vehicles. Emission control system malfunctions on hybrids can cause emissions to sharply increase. By ensuring that hybrid emission related problems are identified and then properly repaired, emission levels will remain low over the life of the vehicle.

    Since their introduction to the California market in 2000, hybrid vehicles could not be properly tested on the BAR-97 equipment that was introduced in 1997. This equipment could not test the emissions of hybrids as the vehicles would switch into electric mode during an inspection. The new Bureau of Automotive Repair On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (BAR-OIS), which is based on a visual inspection of emission control components and a scan of the vehicle's On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system, has resolved this testing issue. Please visit our california-bar-ois-smog-check.html for more details about this new type of Smog Check Inspection. Hollywood Star Smog Check Station is equipped with the latest OBD Smog Check Inspection System (BAR-OIS) and is certified by the State of California.

    Perhaps the issue in Nevada is not having this newer type of test equipment. I live in the SF Bay Area, but since my Clarity is a 2020 model and there is a 4 year exemption from testing for new cars, I won't have to deal with this for another year.
  14. Looks like I missed the CA reference earlier.

    CA exempts new gas powered vehicles from smog checks for the first 8 years. There is a $20/yr smog abatement fee during that period.

    One technicality, while Hybrids and PHEV’s have similarities, the bolded info above appears to address specifically Hybrids.

    I believe the OBD scanner is able to view past ICE/emissions data and determine if the emissions system is functioning properly.
  15. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    I bought my car in for emissions testing a few weeks back in NJ and the tech had problems reading the it. He said he had to try like 6 times before getting a reading and pass.
  16. coutinpe

    coutinpe Active Member

    I finally went today to a shop someone in the other forum said he had his Clarity checked successfully. Drove all the way, 35 minutes, to the other side of town (on HV, through the freeway, so 'the catalytic converter would heat up'). The guy on the shop supposedly knowing all about Clarity mistook my car for a Civic! I had to tell him it was a Clarity. Then he "googled" on his phone on how to start the Clarity engine. I told him he had to put it in "maintenance mode". He googled that and eventually managed to get it. Unfortunately, his device would lose connection after a few seconds. He tried like 5 times, to no avail, before giving up, not without cursing the stupid government bureaucrats asking ridiculous requirements like smog tests for an almost new car working 96% on electric mode, just because of money. He finally asked me to go to the DMV's emissions test lab to figure out if they have a solution. I will go tomorrow to see what new idiocy I have to endure...
  17. coutinpe

    coutinpe Active Member

    Update: Happy ending. I showed up this morning at the DMV's emission labs. Before I had a chance to tell him, the guy said: "Oh, a Clarity! Of course, they couldn't do the test! Just give me your VIN number." He walked into the office, probably to his computer and came back with a sort of a waiver for me to show at my registration appointment (couldn't use it for online). As a side note, I asked him how many Clarities has he seen there and he said "like 20, since Carmax have been bringing a lot of them". He also told me that in CA there is no problem with emission testing...
  18. No problems at all? Or no problems with testing a Clarity?

    Does he know that CA exempts new gas cars from emissions testing for the first 8 years?

    No testing, no problem. I guess he’s correct.
  19. coutinpe

    coutinpe Active Member

    He said that when I had already jumped into my car, so I didn't stop to verify twice, but it looked like he was talking about the testing, However, I find it extremely amusing that the strongest foe of gasoline engines and the champion of the fight against fossil fuels, smog and pollution, the state of CA, has way less strict requirements than this corner of the desert. Go figure how they came with this with a car so "clean" they can't even test because you need to really try hard to get the engine work. Unless the guy at the original smog station was right when he said "it's just to extort money"...
  20. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    It's 8 years for renewals, but 4 for change-of-ownership. So 2018 Clarities being resold in CA needed smog checks starting in 2022. But it sounds like whatever software and update requirements California has may already comprehend the Clarity. It really should be very similar to an Accord Hybrid (and other Hondas), including forcing the engine to stay on etc.

    I have to take our 2015 Highlander Hybrid for its first CA smog check, will see how that goes.
  21. California sets the standards, the other states just follow along. Are you suggesting that the tests themselves are more strict in Nevada than California? Does Nevada require a lower level of emissions in order to pass? Or are you suggesting that because California exempts new vehicles for 8 years, whereas Nevada exempts new vehicles for 4 years and Hybrids for 5 years, that the requirements in California are less strict?

    Keep in mind that California charges a $20/yr smog abatement fee for the privilege of not having to take the car to a smog station for 8 years. Apparently, $20/yr keeps the cars clean. A quick Google search showed that about 96% of vehicles pass a smog test, presumably this includes older vehicles as well. It might be reasonable to conclude that the 4% that fail, likely fail because the idiot in charge ignored an idiot light until the guy at the smog station failed the car.

    Then, we need to ask ourselves if we want to choose the guy who’s working at the smog station to be the person who provides us with valuable information.
  22. Thanks. I only dug this deep into the DMV website. IMG_2604.jpeg
    So there are exceptions to the exceptions for exemptions.
  23. lanb

    lanb Active Member

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