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Automobile battery replacing and inspection stickers

Discussion in 'ex-Rag Chew Central' started by K9STH, Jul 23, 2010.

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  1. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had to get a new battery for my car over the weekend. Then, since the inspection sticker would expire the end of this month, my wife wanted to get the inspection done this morning. Big problem! It seems that, at least in Texas, most of the inspection process now consists of "reading" the information stored in the automobile's "computer". Unfortunately, all that information is lost when the battery is replaced. It takes between 100 and 200 miles before the information is restored and we had driven only a fraction of that. So, the vehicle "failed" the inspection. However, I have 15 days to drive enough to get the information restored on the "computer" before being charged again for a re-inspection.

    The inspection station gives you a pre-printed form that explains the replacing the battery problem. However, I haven't found any readily available information about having to put between 100 and 200 miles on the vehicle after changing the battery, disconnecting the battery, etc., before taking the vehicle for the yearly inspection.

    Now we have to find an excuse to "put some miles" on the automobile within the next few days. We rarely drive more than just a few miles to buy groceries and so forth. When we go on vacation these days we fly and the airport is about 20 miles away so even then not many miles.

    Glen, K9STH
  2. KD8JFO

    KD8JFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    put the car on blocks so the tires spin, put a brick lightly on the gas pedal and go do your normal buisness, come back in a few hrs.. just dont do it in your garage o.o
  3. AE1PT

    AE1PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    So, what happens if there are one or two error codes, yet the emission meets or exceeds the minimum requirements are?

    What ever happened to real inspections? You know the kind where they check your headlight alignment, other lights, brakes, exhaust, horn, wipers, and tailpipe emission?

    Much would be gained to keep crap off the road by concentrating on this instead of what a control module has to say. The last three states I have lived in either abolished or never had any inspections. The roads are filled with dangerous junk.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    First I've heard of an "inspection" that includes downloading the system computer data. They don't do that here in CA.

    It's a bit weird, since the computer can have all sorts of erroneous information: Like the one in my daughter's VW Jetta, which kept reporting ABS problems when there weren't any ABS problems. It also kept reporting high emission levels when a real emissions test revealed all were way below the State standards, and our State standards are tougher than the other 49 States.

    The problem turned out to be a bad electrical connection to the computer itself.:p
  5. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Huh? .. Whaa?

    Hopefully the computer will tell them the bumper, tail light housings and rear view mirrors are physically present on the vehicle.

    ... Windshield cracks, missing body panels, broken exhaust pipes and leaking fuel tanks are obviously not important considerations for a "vehicle inspection" these days huh?

    Sorry, I'm shaking my head in disbelief at that one.
  6. W4RLR

    W4RLR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Putting the car on blocks and running the engine won't work, and would probably make the situation worse.

    What happened when the battery was disconnected was the computer lost all data regarding the past performance of the engine. Driving the car through a cycle of stop and go and highway driving gives the computer data on the current state of the engine. For accurate data to be recorded, you have to actually DRIVE the car, put a load on the engine when you start from a stopped position, in other words real world operation.

    Your owner's manual will tell you more about the amount of time and mileage needed. But in most cases it is NOT 200 miles of driving, but 2 to 4 hours of driving to give the computer enough data to accurately reflect the state of the emission controls and the efficiency of the engine.
  7. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    We used to call this 're-integration' but it has been a while since disconnecting the battery will erase codes and info. Newer vehicles have the info stored on an eeprom and it takes an OBD device to remove the data. That's why you just can't disconnect the battery to make the check engine light go off any longer.

    Even so, re-integration should be complete in less than a half hour's worth of normal driving.

    If it's any consolation, you would have likely failed the emissions test if your car's computer was still gathering parameters from the sensors prior to full integration, so the tech was doing you a favor by having you drive for a while and come back.
  8. W5HTW

    W5HTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    What DID happen to "safety inspections?" (Versus emissions inspections, which is what states do today.)

    Civil rights happened. In Colorado, where I lived, and in Delware where I lived before that, and in New Mexico. The state government cannot force indigent persons to fix their car, and that's what it amounted to. Therefore, they can't force anyone to fix his car. If they require I get a front end alignment, and they let Joe Indigent's car pass with badly aligned front end, that is discrimination. So they had to end vehicle safety inspections. I asked at the MVD in Denver why safety inspections were no longer conducted. The answer I got, specifically, was 'the state cannot decertify your car for safety problems as it has been declared discriminatory." So, no point in inspecting it. I got the same answer, in different words, from DMV in New Mexico. They can't discriminate. If they decertify your vehicle, they are removing your means of getting around. And they can't do that, apparently.

    I'm not sure any state now has real safety inspections. Some states (like PA) have tried to keep them linked to emissions inspections, but I am not sure how that is faring. New Mexico gave up on safety inspections many years ago, and back in 1982, when I was last living in Colorado, they had abandoned them, too. There was no way to write the rules so that Jimmy Bob, who has massive amounts of credit on his credit card and can buy new tires, is not discriminated against, by Billy Jo, who has no card and no money and has to drive on bald tires. In essence, safety inspections took away individual rights of the poor.

    I can see where the car's onboard computer can tell about ABS brakes, emissions, and the like. But it can't tell if a windshiild is cracked, or the wiper blades don't do a good job, or the left rear brake light is out. Of if the horn won't blow.

    Oddly, cars that fail emissions inspections, and that belong to poor people, can still be red-tagged, requiring repair. The catch is, perhaps, even though red-tagged, the car is still being driven and is on the roads. I am not sure that such a car can be declared 'illegal to drive on the roads.' If it can, and I am too poor to fix the emissions system, then I can complain about my civil rights being violated.

    Some states, and some localities, have tried reinstating safety inspections (again, as opposed to emissions inspections) and I don't know how that is going. The rules have to be written to cover the very poor (which also covers the "I don't give a darn" folks) as well as those who can afford to fix the car. I think progress is being made.

    I think nearly every city in the US requires some sort of emissions testing. If this is done by simply reading the computer, that's fine. At one time Albuquerque had city-owned and operated emissions test stations. I think that, too, was declared a violation, as it meant the government was 'failing' some people who might be poor. I believe all emissions testing is now done at commercial businesses around here. The fee is set by the city, though.

    I have not looked into any of this in many years. I am passing along what I learned, years ago, from both Colorado and New Mexico. Can't do safety inspections and be fair to the poor. I was told that officially. If it has changed, it has not been well publicized, and there are still no safety inspections.

    I recall they used to run the car up on a lift, inspect the exhaust system from one end to the other, pull the wheels and visually inspect and measure the pads, discs, shoes, and linings of the brakes, check for fluid leaks, and check the shocks. Every light on the car had to be working correctly. In Delaware I learned if you installed any extra lights, such as marker lights, they had to be working correctly too. Burned out bulbs were not allowed. Front end alignment was checked and had to be very close to perfect. They had a drive-through tunnel. You drove it, drove onto a pad, and slammed on brakes. Brake pressure on all four had to be within specs. Headlight alignment was measured, both high and low beams checked. All wiper blades had to do a good job of cleaning the windshield. The horn had to work and had to register on a db meter in the tunnel, within certain ranges. Tire tread depth was measured - all four tires - and had to be within specs. No broken glass - anywhere. No cracked windows, not even a cracked mirror.

    It can get expensive to fix some of those things. So, state (and city) safety inspections went away.


    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  9. KR2D

    KR2D Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here in NJ, they have eliminated mechanical inspections as of the beginning of this month. Now, it's only emissions testing. For a vehicle with OBDII (1996 and newer) that means they simply plug in to the vehicles computer. If the computer has no malfunction codes and has passed all of its readiness tests, then you are good to go.

    So it's OK if your tires are bald, your brakes are worn out, your suspension is broken, the frame is about to collapse due to rust, all the lights are out and your windshield wipers don't work. But if your gas cap doesn't seal PERFECTLY, you FAIL!

    For Glenn: when the computer is reset, it has to go through its "readiness tests". They are basically self tests the the computer does on the equipment under various driving conditions. Hence the need to drive for 150 miles or so under various conditions. The Service Manual for the vehicle will have all of the details.
  10. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Apparently before you can take a driving test here, all the safety features must be correctly functioning on your vehicle. In other words, if there is a tailight not working or if the horn doesn't work, they won't conduct the driving test.

    On the same token, the state is no longer requiring anyone to conduct "safety inspections."

    So my question is, if a safety inspection is not a requirement by the state, then why does the DMV here have such a requirement before they will administer a driving test?

    Makes no sense.
  11. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    You talking about ME-- or my car?

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  12. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Then you still fail. Your codes have to be correct. It's not just error codes, but your OBDII system in the car must have readiness codes.

    We had safety inspections here but there were many unsafe vehicles on the roads here. All a safety inspection does is ensure that cars are either safe once every 2 years or that the inspection garages make money in bribes.

    As for tailpipe emissions tests, why do them? They waste fuel and put more emissions into the air, when your OBDII system can do them.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  13. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

  14. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, you're confusing a safety inspection with an emissions inspection.

    Some states do not have a safety inspection but still have an emissions test.

    What you are describing is the safety inspection, which is separate from the emissions test.
  15. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My car has this info in the owner's manual as well.
  16. N5PAR

    N5PAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    In Texas they do both safety and emissions but not in all counties. If you live in Harris or a neighboring county, where Houston is located, you get both inspections. Same is true for the Dallas and San Antiono area. If you live in a rual county they only do the safety inspection. The difference is the cost. Full inspection is $39.75 and I think the safety only is something like $15.00.

    I just had my car inspected last week. I live in Montgomery County, which is next to Harris, so they do the full inspection. They did plug the car into the computer but they also check the lights, turn signals, etc.

    If it's an old car, before they had computers, they put in on a dino and stick a probe in the tail pipe and check emissions that way.
  17. KJ4CMG

    KJ4CMG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm glad I live in a state that doesn't do inspections.
  18. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually, they don't! Well, it seems they do if you have a warning light illuminated (only then), but since I've never taken a car in for a smog test with a warning lamp "on," this has never happened to me:

    "In all areas of the state, technicians are required to perform an OBD II check (visual and functional) during the Smog Check inspection. Specifically, the technician visually checks for a functioning and an illuminated warning light and the Smog Check test equipment communicates with the on-board computer for fault information. If a fault is currently causing the light to be on, you need to have the malfunctioning component repaired before you can pass the test."
  19. KD5PME

    KD5PME Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just had my battery replaced by AAA. The battery died, so I called AAA. They found a bad cell and replaced the battery on the spot. A bit pricey, but worth the non-hassle.

    BTW, when they replaced it, they paralleled a charger on the terminals so no settings were lost. Pretty handy.
  20. KI6J

    KI6J Ham Member QRZ Page

    In order to pass an emissions test in California, as well as most other states, the vehicle will have to have reset all of its emissions "readiness monitors".

    When a stored malfunction code has been cleared from the engine control computer, either by command or by disconnecting the battery, the computer initiates a self diagnostic program, checking and confirming the function of emissions systems and component.

    Your vehicle will have nine system monitors. Several of these can be tested and flagged OK with a single driving cycle. Some systems, especially the catalyst efficiency, evaporative emissions, and oxygen sensors will require up to three driving cycles. Evaporative monitors are only run when the fuel tank has a prescribed range of "fullness". Secondary air monitors will only run in a certain range of outside air temperatures.

    Each manufacturer publishes the criteria for a qualified "drive cycle". Following the prescription is nearly impossible unless done on a closed test track. Just freeway or just round the block driving will not do it. Emissions information such as this is required for the manufacturer to publish.

    Best practice is to place another battery in parallel while changing the first.

    And WIK, Ca has been downloading computer info directly from OBD systems since 2001.
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