When you own a car, it’s almost impossible for something to not go wrong. Some of these issues that go wrong with your car are a little bit harder to identify than others. Unfortunately, evaporative emissions leaks are difficult to identify.
An EVAP smoke machine could be just what you’re looking for. You can test evap and vacuum leaks with this tool, which are usually easy-to-use and come with instructions for information on proper use and set up. We are going to discuss the EVAP basics and construction, how to test for EVAP leaks (focusing on the EVAP smoke machine), and the top EVAP smoke machines for purchase.
Why Do Evaporative Emissions Leaks Occur?
Whenever you fill up your tank with fuel, the engine runs on the fuel vapors – not the liquid fuel itself. This makes sense, since the fuel evaporates during use. However, the fuel vapors are harmful to the human body, and for the environment as a whole. There are numerous side effects of emissions inhalation, like asthma and lung disease for people, and smog and climate change for the environment. You need to be able to understand the basic EVAP system in order to determine how to properly fix the leak with an EVAP smoke machine.
EVAP System Basics
The EVAP system consists of tubes connecting various parts of the fueling system, a charcoal canister for activated charcoal, and numerous valves which regulate the air flow and vapor flow into the system. The EVAP system needs to remain sealed to be the most effective.
The EVAP system is responsible for preventing your car from releasing toxic vapors from the gasoline. The technician will need to make sure there isn’t an issue anywhere else in the car as well, like the valves and vacuum hoses. Your technician may have to run an EVAP purge system in order to keep your car running efficiently.
The EVAP system can sometimes test itself for leaks depending on the specific model. Some systems utilize a vacuum or pressure sensor to detect the issue. Other systems can use a dedicated pump to run a similar test with a similar function.
Leaking EVAP System
The EVAP system is used to recycle the unused gasoline vapors back into the tank, as we have just gone over. The problem is when this system experiences a malfunction, since it can be tough to diagnose. Sometimes, this issue is signalled by a check engine light. The cost to replace the EVAP cannister alone is $450-$600, and can go higher if hte leak isn’t in an obvious position.
How To Test For EVAP Leaks
When testing for an evaporative emissions leak, the leak can sometimes be localized depending on the specific code. You should check your manual in order to help you figure out where the leak is specifically coming from. However, you need special equipment to look for vacuum leaks, since it can be extremely difficult to sense where the origin is without the required equipment and tools.
First, you can do a vacuum test. An engine vacuum gauge can be used to test valves and lines easily and quickly. While the engine is running, check for vacuum in the EVAP system, with the ideal amount being none.
Second, you can use a hand vacuum pump. This method can be used to check EVAP system valves. The vacuum gauge can show if the valve is holding the correct amount of pressure, and you can check the power valves on their operating power and sealing.
Third, you can use a smoke test. This is the test and method that we will be focusing on in this article. The idea behind the smoke test is relatively simple, since all you have to do is blow smoke into the EVAP system and notice any smoke escaping from a broken appliance, like a valvec, seal, or hose.
In regards to testing the EVAP system, smoke testing is regarded as the best way to test. However, it’s one of the most expensive methods of doing this, with professional smoke machines costing upwards of $600.
The Top EVAP Smoke Machines On The Market Today
In order to correctly diagnose an emissions leak, you need to purchase an EVAP smoke machine. You want to purchase a smoke machine that has a great reputation and high-quality materials. We have a list of the best EVAP smoke machines on the market today, analyzing the pros and cons of each model so you can determine which best suits your needs.
- OTC 6522 LeakTamer
This machine obtains a high rating because it is a performance-oriented appliance that is sold for a reasonable price. The kit involved in the purchase includes many tools that all aid in making a good diagnosis and potential for repair for your vehicle. The smoke machine has the mechanisms to detect leaks below 0.010 inch, and has a flow control adjustment to alter the amount of smoke you want to put into the hose.
The machine uses UV fluid in order to find very small leaks, which would be impossible to detect without the smoke. The kit also has the UV light and glasses which are needed to see the UV fluid. In addition, it comes with an adapter to connect to your intake pipe.
This EVAP smoke machine has an accurate measurement, UV technology, adapters for functional use, and a high-quality construction. The plug technology lets it have a higher lifespan than other models. Despite all of the positives about this EVAP smoke machine, the price point might be a little high for most car-owners. However, if you want a high-performance smoke machine that puts out a high level of work performance, then this is the choice for you.
- Redline Smoke Pro 95-003B
The Redline Smoke Pro has been proven to work over hundreds of leak tests, proving its durability and living up to the price point. This machine is easy to use and simple for anyone to figure out. The only thing that you need is compressed air and a car battery. If you have it, some type of oil works well for using with the tool.
The Redline has a valve control that lets you determine the amount of smoke you want to use. In addition, the kit comes with a gauge for pressure, and the necessary adapters and tools.
The Redline is a high-quality machine with UV light that comes with the necessary Halogen inspection light and the exhaust cone adaptor. The only negative about this model is the higher price point, but if you’re willing to put that aside, you’ll be purchasing a high-quality product. The Redline is an EVAP smoke machine that is a top-notch product and lives up to the price you’ll need to pay.
- Smoke-Pro Total-Tech Leak Detector Kit
The Smoke-Pro is a high-quality and battery-powered smoke machine. The smoke is thick and easy to see when it leaks from the EVAP system for easy and functional use. This kit supports dual-stage testing, which lets you use this machine with smoke vapor or shop air to determine and locate the spot of the leaks.
This kit comes with all of the necessary supplies, like a pressure gauge, service port adapter, cap plug adapters, exhaust adapter cone, Schrader installation tool, and instructional DVD, for easy functionality. Despite all of the positives, this is a more expensive choice than other options on the market. Even so, this machine is compact and portable, low maintenance, and easy-to-use, making it an efficient EVAP smoke machine for determining leaks and diagnosing the issue.
- Autool SDT206 EVAP Smoke Machine
The Autool is a portable and affordable battery-powered EVAP smoke machine that is designed to detect leaks in vehicles. It contains a self-protective system that prevents the machine from being overloaded, contains a flow-meter, and also comes with a pressure gauge.
This machine can detect small leaks quickly and efficiently, runs at an affordable price compared to other similar options, and requires low-maintenance for the upkeep. The negatives of this model is that it can’t be used with gas cylinders, limiting its functionality. In addition, it’s not as effective as the first model we discussed, the OTC 522 LeakTamer, at locating and diagnosing EVAP leaks. This model is a compact and transportable EVAP smoke machine that works well in detecting small leaks.
- Smoke-Tek Leak Detector EVAP Smoke Machine
The Smoke-Tek EVAP smoke machine is an affordable option that is good for budget buyers. This is an extremely affordable option when compared to other potential choices you have. The unit is designed to detect any leaks from pipes within your vehicle, using a specific oil to produce the smoke vapor needed to detect the leak.
The vapor that the EVAP smoke machine uses doesn’t produce any harmful or toxic chemicals upon release, so you can rest assured that this is a safe and trustworthy method. This model also comes with an adapter for the EVAP system in order to check for leaks in any EVAP system in any model of car.
The negatives of this EVAP smoke machine is that it can’t be used with gas cylinders, which limits the functionality. Even so, this EVAP smoke machine is an affordable and portable model that is designed for detecting small leaks using mineral oil. It is well-designed and designed for the average car-owner in mind, with the inexpensive price and easy-to-use method.
- AutoLine Pro EVAP Vacuum Automotive Smoke Machine Leak Detector
This AutoLine EVAP Smoke Machine is compact, powerful, and composed of high-quality materials. The units are tested to be completely safe for all vehicles, and come with approved smoke fluid. The kit can be used with the approved fluid or you can use your own oil if you choose. After you choose what liquid you want, you just fasten the power cable, connect your air supply, and check for leaks. It’s as easy as that!
Despite being a high-quality EVAP smoke machine, this model has some flaws. It has some reports of the fluid being partially blown open while putting psi through the tank. There are also some reports of some internal hardware issues during use. Even so, this is an efficient EVAP smoke machine that is small and gets the job done.
- Vacutec 2000E EVAP Smoke Machine
This EVAP smoke machine is a heavy-duty and high-performance option that can quickly and proficiently detect any size leak in your EVAP system. It can detect and locate any fault codes within your EVAP system by using UltraTrace UV dye to make the smoke visible under the provided UV light.
The smoke control can be adjusted in order to fit your preferences and specific, situational needs. The model can detect micro-leaks in your EVAP system up to a diameter of 0.01 inches. In addition, it uses an easy-to-read meter that lets you quickly use the system and read the diagnosis.
Despite all of the positives about this model, it isn’t as portable as other options on the market due to its size and weight. It is more expensive than other EVAP smoke machines, which limits the affordability factor for car-owners.Even so, this EVAP smoke machine can detect any size leak, uses UV dye for ease-of-use, requires low maintenance, and comes with a one-year warranty.
Hopefully after reading about the basics of the EVAP system, how to properly test for leaks, and the best EVAP smoke machines that you can purchase to detect and diagnose a leak, you’ll be more confident in the next steps if you sense a leak in your car.
The ability to understand how the EVAP system works gives you an idea of the best way to treat and fix a potential leak. After noticing the signs of a leak, you then have the ability to diagnose the problem on your own by purchasing a trusted EVAP smoke machine from our list of top choices.
What If I Don’t Want To Go Through The Hassle Of Buying An EVAP Smoke Machine?
If you don’t want to purchase an EVAP smoke machine since your car isn’t in the best condition, then you can bring your car to CashCarsBuyer and earn some cash. Be sure to remove all of the non-metal components from your vehicle before you sell it to CashCars. By scrapping your car, you can gain some money to put towards a brand-new vehicle.