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Discussion Starter #1
Had my 2018 in for its first emissions test today. Here in Georgia emissions testing is required annually, however for the first three years an emissions test is not required. This is based on model year not date of purchase, so that means that starting this year all 2018's for all car makes have to be tested.

I took it to the same emissions test station where I used to take my Prius. No surprise that this was the first Clarity that the technician had seen. What did catch me off guard however was when he asked me to start the engine. I had forgotten that when they have their computer connected to the OBD-II port they need the engine to run briefly so that their diagnostic system can verify that all of the emissions equipment is functioning. On my Prius starting the engine while parked was easy, simply turn the car off then back on again, then wait about thirty seconds and the engine will automatically come on. If the engine was already warm it will then shut off in less than a minute, but that seemed to be plenty of time for their diagnostic computer to check things out.

However on the Clarity (and I assume any PHEV) the gas engine will not start if you aren't moving, even if you switch to HV mode. The only way to get the engine to start while parked is to put the car into something called Maintenance Mode, which is designed for any situation where you need to run the engine while parked. One example being checking for leaks after doing an oil change. Fortunately I change my own oil and I have put my Clarity into maintenance mode before. But it requires doing multiple steps in an exact sequence, and I normally have the luxury of reviewing the instructions that I keep on my computer instead of trying to do it from memory.

However in this case I had an emissions technician staring at me, with his patience slowly evaporating as I had my phone out trying to find some online instructions. Fortunately at the time there were no cars in line behind me, if there had been I would have had to pull out and sit parked somewhere while I figured it out, then go to the back of the line. But after a couple of minutes I finally found some instructions, and after a couple of attempts I finally got the engine started. Just in time too as by then a couple more cars had shown up to get tested.

Next year of course I will have the instructions ready ahead of time on my phone, and in fact I will probably practice it once before I go there. If you have never used maintenance mode before I have listed the steps below as it is not in the owners manual. The steps may seem complicated on first read but basically you are just changing from Park to Neutral then back to Park, with double presses of the accelerator pedal in between each step. Note that you cannot pause more than a few seconds between steps or you have to start over from the beginning, which is why it helps to practice ahead of time if you will be in a situation of having to perform this procedure on demand like I did today.

MAINTENANCE MODE

1. If the car is on, press the power button to turn it off

2. Set the parking brake (pull up on the parking brake switch and make sure that Brake appears on the display)

3. Without touching the brake pedal, press the power button two times to put the car into ON mode

4. Press the accelerator pedal to the floor twice. You don't have to press it hard just make sure that it goes to the bottom on each press

5. Press and hold the brake pedal as you put the car into Neutral, then release the brake

6. Press the accelerator pedal to the floor twice

7. Press and hold the brake pedal again as you put it back into Park, then release the brake

8. Press the accelerator pedal to the floor twice

On the instrument panel it should now say "Maintenance Mode"

Now start the car as usual, i.e. hold the brake pedal as you press the power button. You will hear the engine start up immediately. The engine will stay running until you turn the car off. The next time you start the car after that everything will be back to normal.

If you don't get it to work the first time, simply turn the car off then try it again. Usually the problem is pausing too long between any of the steps. It's not like it requires split-second timing or anything but you do have to move through the steps with minimal delay.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good point about HV Charge although that only works when the battery is below 58%. That wouldn't have helped me today.
 

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Wow - that was a long sequence to fire up the engine for an emissions test!

Glad in CA we are exempt for the first 4 years from original purchase and then every other year after that....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow - that was a long sequence to fire up the engine for an emissions test!
It's not that bad when you do it, it only looks complicated when written down.

But Clarity_newbie's method would be even simpler, just make sure the battery is less than half full when you go in, then you just have to turn on HV Charge. I might try that next year, but I will still bring the Maintenance Mode instructions with me in case for some reason HV Charge doesn't want to start the engine.
 
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