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NerdWallet: How to pass a smog test—even if your car fails

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

When my car failed California’s smog test this year, I wandered from one garage to another trying to determine how to bring it into compliance. After speaking with several automotive experts and popping for a few relatively inexpensive repairs, I finally got my new smog certificate.

But with what I know now, I might have passed in the first place — or at least fixed my 1997 BMW 328i with less hassle. Here’s my hard-earned advice so your car can, hopefully, pass with flying colors.

1. Be proactive

As soon as you get a registration renewal notice calling for a smog check, mark your calendar and begin preparing.

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