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Does New Car Need Smog Test California

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The Cost Of A Star Smog Test

2020 CALIFORNIA SMOG TEST “Do an easy pre-test on your car before bringing it in”

Having a STAR inspection done on your vehicle is relatively straightforward. You can find a STAR smog station online with a station locator. In California, there is an $8.25 state service certificate charge and then the cost for the inspection. STAR inspections will vary in price a little depending on the location or your automobile. These are typically between $29.95 and $59.95 plus the state fee. In some counties, the cost can be as high as $89.95you can check around with various locations or call a station to check ahead of time.

Performing Emissions Testing In California

During a smog check, your vehicle will be inspected for its emissions and a visual and functional inspection will also be performed. During the emissions test, measures will be taken to see how much CO, CO2, HC, O2 and NOx your vehicle emits. The physical inspection will look at whether your vehicle and its exhaust system, work to limit emissions.

You can visit a STAR station, a testing location or a testing and repair location. For vehicles with higher levels of emissions, its recommended you go to a STAR certified station. If you live in an Enhancedarea, you must go to a STAR station. Some of these places will just do the test, while others also handle repairs. When visiting a testing location, make sure to bring your drivers license, proof of insurance, vehicle title and registration. Three smog check methods are currently used in the state of California, and they are as follows:

  • TSI Test thetwo-speed idletest measures through the tailpipe to determine the level of emissions while the vehicle is in idle. This measure is taken both at low and high speed. The TSI test typically applies for older vehicles, although your location also plays a factor. If your vehicle is registered in aBasicarea, this test will be required.
  • ASM Test theacceleration simulation mode testmeasures is typically used with very old vehicles. This test incorporates a drive-on dynamometer which measures exhaust emissions while the vehicle is being driven.
  • Smog Check Stations In Los Angeles County

    Los Angeles County is the largest county in California with more than 10 million residents. The cities in Los Angeles County with the highest populations are Los Angeles and Long Beach. Visit our Los Angeles County Smog Check Stations page to find a list of all the STAR certified stations in Los Angeles County.

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    What Is The Purpose Of A Smog Check

    Smog checks are performed to ensure vehicles are producing safe levels of emissions. Emissions standards are determined by both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, and are designed to help improve the air we breathe by reducing the air pollution from vehicles that creates unhealthy smog.

    Where To Perform An Emissions Check In California

    Los Angeles County Police Smog Check Points

    Undergoing an emissions inspection in CA is relatively simple. At the time of your vehicle inspection, you will need to present the following items to a Bureau of Automotive Repair station:

    • Proof of car insurance

    A smog test can be performed at any of the following locations:

    • Star Stations â These stations meet or exceed the state BAR standards. You may be required to visit a Star Station if your vehicle emits a high volume of pollution.
    • Test-and-Repair Stations â Non-Star station that test and repair smog-related vehicle issues.
    • Repair-Only Stations â Testing is not performed at these stations, only repairs.
    • Test-Only Stations â These stations can only perform smog testing.

    You will receive your smog certification certificate once your vehicle passes inspection. You must present this certification when you go to renew your registration. All drivers will be required to pay a smog test fee, however, since fees vary from location to location, you will need to call ahead for additional information. The vast majority of locations will also electronically send the results of your test directly to the DMV.

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    Where Do I Take My Vehicle For A Smog Check

    BAR licenses several different types of Smog Check stations to perform Smog Check Program services and meet the needs of consumers and their vehicles:

    • Test-and-repair stations are licensed to perform Smog Checks and emission-related repairs on vehicles.
    • Test-only stations are licensed to only perform Smog Checks. These stations are not authorized to diagnose the reasons for a Smog Check failure or perform emission-related repairs on vehicles.
    • Repair only stations are licensed to diagnose and perform emissions-related repairs on vehicles. These stations are not authorized to perform Smog Checks.
    • STAR stations are test-and-repair stations or test-only stations that meet performance standards established by BAR. Your DMV registration renewal notice will indicate whether your vehicle requires a Smog Check at a STAR station.

    Stations are required to post a sign indicating the services it is licensed to perform.

    What Vehicles Qualify For Smog Check Exemptions

    There are many exemptions to the California smog check program. These exemptions apply to newer vehicles, older vehicles, hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, and more. If youâre wondering which vehicles qualify for an exemption, check the following list:

    • Gasoline-powered vehicle that is a 1975 year model or older

    • Diesel-powered vehicle is a 1997 and older year model OR with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of more than 14,000 pounds

    • Powered by natural gas and weighs more than 14,000 pounds

    • An electric vehicle

    • Gasoline-powered and less than eight model-years old

    In addition, effective January 2019, vehicles that are eight years old or less are exempt from a biennial smog check. If your vehicle qualifies, you can avoid a smog check by paying an annual $25 smog abatement fee or smog transfer fee.

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    Completing A Smog Check In California

    Depending on your situation , you’ll bring your vehicle to one of the following California Bureau of Automotive Repair station locations:

    • STAR stations: Meet BAR-established performance standards. Some perform only tests others perform both tests and repairs.
    • Often, gross polluters” are instructed to visit STAR stations, but STAR stations aren’t limited just to vehicles with high emissions levels.
  • Test-Only stations: Only test vehicles they don’t make repairs.
  • Test-and-Repair stations: Can both test and repair vehicles.
  • Repair-Only stations: Only repair vehicles they don’t perform tests.
  • You must present your:

    • Title .
    • Registration.

    Fees vary by location. Call ahead for fee and schedule information.

    Once your vehicle passes inspection, you’ll receive a smog inspection certificate to present to the CA DMV when you register or renew your vehicle registration. Generally, most smog check stations also report inspections to the DMV electronically. This helps in case you want to renew your registration via mail or online.

    Should All Cars Have A Smog Certificate In California

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    Not all cars need to have a smog certificate in California. Here are some of the vehicles that are exempt from smog check in California:

    In addition, there are a few other instances where you dont need to take your vehicle in for a smog check in California, including:

    • 1975-year model or older model vehicles are exempt from getting a smog check
    • A natural gas-powered vehicle with a gross weight of over 14,000 lbs.
    • Diesel-powered vehicles made before 1998 or have a gross weight of over 14,000 lbs.
    • Electric vehicles
    • Motorcycles
    • Gasoline-powered, hybrid, and alternative-fuel vehicles eight model years and newer are exempt from biennial smog checks.
    • Change-of-ownership smog check is not needed for gasoline-powered, hybrid, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are four model years and newer.

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    How Much Does A Smog Check Cost

    We all know that owning a car comes with expenses like paying for gas, car insurance, maintenance, repairs oh and actually paying for the car, either outright or through monthly payments. Well, you can add a smog check to the expense list but the good news is its not terribly expensive.

    If youre wondering how much does a smog check cost, according to SmogTips.com, the average cost of a smog check can range from $29.95 to $89.95 depending on where you live and what is required as part of the inspection.

    Thats just the cost of the test though. If you dont pass the smog check, you may need to pay for repairs. However, there may be limits in place and additional support if you need it. The state of California caps costs at $450 for smog check repairs and you may qualify for a cost waiver if youre considered low-income.

    Its important to note that smog check costs can vary based on the provider and state. For example, The Bureau of Automotive Repair in California doesnt regulate prices, so its best to shop around to compare prices as youll be dealing with private enterprise. However, smog check stations are required to list prices clearly.

    My Vehicle Is A Specially Constructed Vehicle Has Had An Engine Change Or Has Modified Emissions Parts Where Do I Take My Vehicle For A Smog Check

    Your vehicle may require an inspection by a Smog Check Referee. For more information on inspection requirements for unusual vehicles and to schedule an appointment, visit www.asktheref.org.

    • NOTE: California Vehicle Code section 27156, in part, prohibits modifications to emissions-control equipment or systems without an exemption from the California Air Resources Board . Modified and add-on parts require an CARB Executive Order . Replacement parts and consolidated parts do not require an exemption.
    • For information on engine changes, see our Engine Change Guidelines page.

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    What Vehicles Do Not Require A Smog Check

    • Gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are model-year 1975 and older.
    • Gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are eight model years and newer do not require a biennial Smog Check.
    • Gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are four model years and newer do not require a change-of-ownership Smog Check.
    • Diesel-powered vehicles that are model-year 1997 and older.
    • Diesel-powered vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds.
    • Electric-powered vehicles.
    • Motorcycles.

    California Motor Works & Tires Is A Certified Star Test

    California Smog Check / Emissions Test

    As a certified STAR test-and-repair station, California Motor Works & Tires is the ideal place to bring your vehicle for a smog check in San Diego. Our expert technicians have experience performing smog checks on both foreign and domestic vehicles, and we repair even the worst-offending polluters to get them compliant with California emissions standards. Call us at and schedule your smog check today.

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    What Are The Elements Of A Smog Check

    The main elements of a smog check are:

    • Inspecting the emission control components of the vehicle visually.
    • Functional inspection of the vehicles ignition timing, engine light, exhaust gas recirculation system, gas cap, and fuel evaporative system.
    • Inspecting the On-Board Diagnostic system of the vehicle functionally.
    • Inspection of the tailpipe emissions.

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    Do Sellers Give Buyers A Valid Smog Certificate

    A current smog check certificate must be provided upon completion of a private sale. This certificate must be no more than 90 days old. The only exception here is when your vehicle is no more than four years old. If the model year is this year or no more than three years back, the smog check will not be required. However, this does not apply to diesel vehicles. Remember that the new owner must also pay the $8 smog transfer fee.

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    My Vehicle Requires A Smog Check But Its Catalytic Converter Was Stolen And/or Needs To Be Replaced What Do I Do

    A catalytic converter is an essential emissions control part and is a key component inspected during a Smog Check. A licensed Smog Check station will help ensure the correct replacement converter is installed before your vehicle can be inspected. The replacement converter must be from the Original Equipment Manufacturer or a California Air Resources Board approved aftermarket converter with an assigned Executive Order number that meets the exact requirements for your vehicle.

    Use BARs Auto Shop Locator to find a Smog Check station to complete the installation. For assistance with locating a hard-to-find replacement converter, contact the vehicle manufacturer or Smog Check Referee.

    Why Do I Need A Star Inspection


    Your vehicle could be chosen for a STAR inspection because of a few different reasons. Generally, the state of California will require a STAR smog check for automobiles known to have previously failed a smog inspection or that have higher emissions and vehicles with high emission profile ratings designated by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs. For instance, older Ram trucks will be more likely flagged than a brand new hybrid vehicle.

    There is also selection done of automobiles registered in the state of California that will be required to get a STAR smog test. So, even if you do not have a higher commission car, you may get a randomized designation for a star inspection.

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    Star Smog Check Required

    If you received your vehicle renewal statement and it states that you need a smog certification to be done at a STAR station, this simply means your DMV selected your car to get the smog certification at a STAR certified facility. STAR facilities are monitored by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs, or BAR, and hold high standards and regulations. These inspections are generally thorough and diligent.

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    Key Takeaways

    If your government fleet operates in California, itâs important to know about the stateâs smog check requirements in order to remain compliant. Continue reading to learn how telematics can help cut down the time it takes to complete smog checks so you can reduce costs and increase vehicle uptime.

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    How Much Does A Smog Check Cost In Pennsylvania

    An emissions inspection will depend on the vehicles manufacturer and model. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection allows residents to purchase a smog check coupon, with no waiting period, online or at participating retailers. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fees for smog inspections.

    The fees depend on the vehicle and state it is from. A minimum fee is $45. The smog check cost $42.50 in Pennsylvania. The cost for a smog check in Pennsylvania is $15.00 if the vehicle has been registered for 5 years or less, and $25.00 if the vehicle has been registered for more than 5 years.

    Cost for a smog check varies by state. In Pennsylvania, the cost is $35.

    Do Collector Cars Require A Smog Check

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    Collector cars that are model-year 1976 and newer require a Smog Check. Because Smog Check stations do not have the equipment necessary to inspect collector cars, collector cars are eligible for an abbreviated inspection performed by a Smog Check Referee. For more information, visit our Collector Car page or asktheref.org.

    All vehicles that are model-year 1975 and older do not require a Smog Check.

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    Emissions Testing In California

    Emissions testing in California must be completed every 2 years prior to renewing a car registration. Residents can complete a smog check at a DMV-authorized site in their county of residence. Inspections that examine the safety of a vehicle are not required in the state of CA, but vehicles must undergo emissions testing to have their registration renewed. Vehicles being registered in California for the first time must also undergo an emissions test before they can be registered.

    How Long Do Smog Checks Take

    To accurately determine the state of your car emissions system, it takes a bit of time. The tester has to plug in a diagnostic computer and check for codes related to emissions failures. They need to use a sniffer tester to check vehicles for safe levels of hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides, and other pollutants.

    All in all, you can expect your smog check to take around 20 to 30 minutes.

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    Types Of Star Stations

    There are two different types of STAR stations: a STAR test only center and a STAR test and repair station. The names are pretty self-explanatory. A STAR test only center is only certified by California to complete smog inspections. Test and repair centers are authorized to do STAR smog inspections, and if repairs are found to be necessary, these centers can also complete repairs and certify your vehicle.

    What Resources Are Available If My Vehicle Fails The Smog Check

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    If your vehicle fails, the station will provide you a vehicle inspection report that shows your vehicles results and the reason your vehicle did not pass. If you have questions, ask the station to explain the information on the report.

    To address the reason for the failure, you may:

    • Complete the emissions-related repairs Any needed repairs should be performed by a station licensed to perform Smog Check repairs. After completing the repairs, have your vehicle reinspected. The station will provide you a final vehicle inspection report once your vehicle passes Smog Check and will electronically send the certificate to DMV.
    • Visit a Smog Check Referee Referees offer a second opinion on Smog Check results and can assist you with inspections of unusual vehicles and locating hard-to-find emissions parts. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit www.asktheref.org.
    • Apply to the Consumer Assistance Program The Consumer Assistance Program offers income-eligible consumers assistance toward emissions-related repairs at a STAR test-and-repair station if their vehicle fails its biennial Smog Check inspection. The program also offers eligible consumers an incentive to retire their operational vehicle at a BAR-contracted dismantler site. To review eligibility requirements and apply, visit the Consumer Assistance Program page.

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