If you failed smog in your older Honda or Acura, this method I’ve perfected over the years will complete all your readiness monitors in two days or fewer.

Completing all or most of your emissions readiness monitors after you’ve reset your ECU for whatever reason is often the hardest part of passing smog. If you drive an older Honda or Acura from the 90’s, this is the improvised drive cycle I’ve used over the years to reset and complete all my readiness monitors in exactly two days. (This foolproof drive cycle seems to work well for completing EVAP and CAT monitors.)

Civic Si Auction
A 2000 Honda Civic Si

Before you attempt this foolproof drive cycle, make sure you have the following done.

  • Fill up your tank to at least 3/4’s but not full.
  • Start this drive cycle from an absolute cold engine that’s been sitting overnight or at least cold to the touch.
  • Find a 15-20 mile long out-and-back route with minimal traffic you can drive at highway speeds. Usually, this means you must drive in the middle of the night if you live in a place with a lot of traffic.
  • While not necessary, use a GPS and switch over to the speed reading to get an exact speed measurement during your drive.
  • Purchase a cheap OBD2 code reader, one that gives you information on readiness monitors.

Here’s the drive cycle.

Starting from a cold engine, gently speed up to operating temperature. Once your temperature gauge reads half way and your engine is warm, speed up to between 60 and 65 MPH and hold it there for several minutes. If you can hold it at that speed for as long as the out route is, even better.

This is where that GPS comes in handy as I could monitor a constant 62 MPH speed +- 1 MPH on my drive out.

The drive back is the same procedure. You can choose a different speed between 60-65 MPH, but accelerate to that speed and stay there for the entire duration of your drive back.

That’s it.

Once you come back home, check your readiness monitors if they’ve all completed. If one or two are not ready, complete the same procedure above, again. You should’ve completed all your Honda/Acura readiness monitors by day two.

Remember, in California

  • Gasoline Vehicles
    • 1996-1999 Gasoline Vehicles can have 1 monitor not-ready
    • 2000 and newer gas vehicles must have ALL monitors in a ready state with the exception of the EVAP monitor. 

A Honda or Acura official drive cycle?

There are several drive cycles out there ranging from basic to complicated. However, I might’ve found an official Honda drive cycle via Honda-Tech.

I’ve also linked that Honda drive cycle here.

Some disclaimers for this foolproof Honda/Acura drive cycle.

Keep in mind, my car is a 1999 Honda Civic so this drive cycle should definitely work if you drive a 1996-2000 Honda Civic.

Hypothetically, this drive cycle should also work for Acuras between the same years.

Older or newer Honda’s and Acura’s, I can’t guarantee this foolproof method will work but it’s worth a shot. Supposedly there are specific drive cycles for certain years.

Let me know if this drive cycle works for you with a note in the comments.

Good luck passing smog this year.


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