Certified Smog Station, Smog Failure Diagnostics & Repair


Avoiding Problems Before They Happen

If you are familiar with your vehicle you will be more likely to avoid problems well in advance of them happening. Using your common sense, as well as your senses, will help you avoid the most prevalent automobile problems. Your senses will help you notice odd smells, hear unusual sounds, feel a difference in the handling of your car and of course spotting damage to or leaking from your vehicle.

What’s that smell?

  • If you are smelling gasoline after you tried to start your car, you may have flooded the engine. Give it a few minutes and try again. If you are still smelling gasoline that could mean a leak in the fuel system and your vehicle should be checked out immediately!
  • If your car is burning oil it will give off an unpleasant, bitter odor. You usually can see where the oil is leaking from when you give your car a once over.
  • An electrical short and burning insulation has a subtle, sharp smell like burnt toast. It’s best to get the problem fixed before driving the vehicle again.
  • We all know that familiar smell of rotten eggs. This most likely means trouble with the catalytic converter or other emission control devices.
  • Coolant/anti-freeze has a sweet smell. If you smell this or a metallic odor or see steam coming from your hood, most likely your engine is overheating. You should stop driving immediately to let the engine cool down and avoid severe damage to your engine.

Do you hear that?

  • You will know when your brakes need replacing or repair by the high pitched sound you hear when you are driving your car.
  • When your vehicle’s air conditioning or fan belt, or power steering is loose or worn you will hear a shrill, sharp noise like a squeal.
  • If you hear a pinging metallic tapping sound that changes with your engine speed this may be from using a lower octane gas than is recommended by your auto manufacturer. It could also be a problem with engine ignition timing.
  • A loose muffler or exhaust pipe will give a random thumping sound. This noise could also indicate a loose shock absorber or other suspension component.

That doesn’t feel right.

 Ride and Handling

  • When tires aren’t balanced properly it can cause your automobile to vibrate and may prematurely wear out the suspension and steering components.
  • If it feels like your car isn’t turning corners properly it may be due to improper tire inflation or worn out shock absorbers.
  • A good test for checking shock absorbers or struts is to bounce the vehicle up and down vigorously at each wheel, let go and see how much the car bounces. If the vehicle bounces twice or more it is a sign of weak shocks.


  • If your vehicle is pulling to the left or right it could be as simple as under inflated tires or as serious as a misaligned or damaged front end.
  • Difficulty steering in a straight line may mean misaligned front wheels or worn out steering components.


Transmission repairs can be expensive so make sure to check the simple items first; like disconnected hose or plugged filter. Symptoms of common transmission problems:

  • Car doesn’t shift with normal acceleration.
  • No response or a delay when shifting between neutral to reverse or drive.
  • Rough, not smooth, shifts between gears.
  • When stepping on gas the engine speeds up but the car slips and doesn’t respond properly.


If when you brake your brake pedal hits the floor, your vehicle pulls to the left or right, or you hear a noise it’s time to get the brakes checked.


Engine problems come in many forms:

  • Poor fuel economy.
  • Rough idling or stalling.
  • Difficulty starting the engine.
  • Engine continues running after the key is removed.
  • Poor acceleration.
  • Excessive oil use (more than one quart between changes).

I’ve never seen that before.

  • When the engine is leaking oil you will see dark brown or black oily fluid.
  • Antifreeze/coolant is usually a bright color of orange, green or blue.
  • Transmission or power-steering fluid is a red oily fluid.