Hey guys, I just reset all my monitors yesterday on the interstate and passed the emissions test immediately after. Here’s some helpful info and background for anyone who has to go through this as I noticed there was a lot of confusion about this. First important thing: DO NOT go for an inspection/emission test if you have a check engine light and your monitors are not ready (check with scan tool), as they will not pass you and you’d have wasted your time. The first step is to fix the issue causing a check engine light if it’s on and then clear the code. In my case I replaced my O2 sensor and was good. When you clear the code the monitors will show as ‘not ready’ and you need them to show as ready. So remember for future: every time you clear your ECU with the scan tool, your monitors will become ‘not ready’ and will need to be reset – this is important to keep in mind if you have an inspection/emissions test coming up soon as you’d want adequate time to make your car ready for testing before your deadline.
The easiest/fastest way to do this is to complete the Nissan Driving Pattern for your car which can be found here:
NTB98-018c (Found this for 96 and 97 Nissan cars, for other years check your owners manual)
SB 1996-1997 Nissan; System Readiness Test (SRT) Drive Patterns
“As part of an enhanced emissions test for Inspection & Maintenance (I/M), some States may
require the System Readiness Test (SRT) status be checked. – The SRT is used to indicate
whether the engine control module (ECM) has completed self diagnosis of major emissions
systems and components. – In these instances the State may require completion of the SRT
before permitting the emissions inspection to proceed.”
Find your Maxima by year and transmission style in that document, and follow the directions carefully. I got my monitors ready in 50 mile trip on the interstate when their were few cars on the road. BEFORE you start the drive you should use an OBD scanner to check which monitors are not ready, it may be that only 4 need to be reset so you now know to only complete portions of the drive pattern that pertain to those specific monitors, saving you time. If you don’t own a scanner I highly suggest buying one as not only will it help big time here but will let you diagnose and learn a lot about your car, plus they really don’t cost much. Ideally you want to monitor the status of all monitors in real time as you’re driving, other wise you’re driving blind not knowing which ones are ready/not ready.
Your best bet is to do the drive at a non-peak driving time on a less busy interstate. Doing this in city/suburbs will be difficult if not impossible due to constant stop lights etc that interfere with the drive pattern. Stay in the slow lane, maintain plenty of distance between cars behind and in front of you. Driving hundreds of miles to get monitors ready is not necessary, it won’t make a difference unless you follow the specific steps in the drive pattern. For example in one of the steps you have to have AC on, be on cruise control etc to make the monitor ready.
I used a bluetooth OBD Scan tool hooked up to my Droid that continuously displayed the status of all my monitors while driving (this was cool ). Once they all showed up as ready I turned around and drove to the emissions facility and passed.
Below is the drive pattern I did for my 97 SE, I annotated some important points in red that will apply to any year 4th gen (95-99). Click on it for a larger view.