Gas-powered vehicles, model-years 1976 and newer, including hybrid-powered 2000 and newer model-years, are subject to the Smog Check Program with the following exceptions: (1) the first six model-years are exempt from the biennial Smog Check requirement, and (2) the first four model-years are exempt from the change-of-ownership inspection requirement. Diesel-powered vehicles model-years 1998 and newer, with a gross vehicle weight rating up to 14,000 pounds, are subject to the Smog Check Program. There are no new vehicle exemptions for diesel vehicles as there are with gas vehicles. Other exempt vehicles include two- cylinder vehicles, electric powered vehicles, two-cycle-powered vehicles (not including rotary engines) and motorcycles.
Do you need a STAR Station Certified Smog Check or a Regular Smog Check?
Your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration renewal indicates whether your vehicle must be inspected at a STAR station.
What is a STAR station?
STAR stations are Smog Check stations that meet higher performance standards established by BAR. Some STAR stations are licensed to perform only tests, while others are licensed to perform both tests and repairs. The station is required to post a sign on the services it performs.
Why am I being sent to a STAR station?
State law requires that a percentage of vehicles have their Smog Check inspections performed at a STAR station. One reason may be that your vehicle was identified as being more likely than others to emit unhealthy levels of harmful pollutants. This may be true even though your vehicle may never have failed a Smog Check. Another possibility is that your vehicle was chosen as part of a random selection for Smog Check Program evaluation purposes.
Who is Responsible for Smog Check When Selling a Vehicle?
When a vehicle is sold or transferred in California, the seller is responsible for getting a smog certificate prior to completing the sale. When you bring a vehicle into California, the owner of the vehicle is required to get a smog certificate prior to registration and sale of the vehicle.
How often does my vehicle have to be tested?
Smog Check inspections are required biennially (every other year) on vehicles more than six model-years old. Additionally, a Smog Check is required if you sell a vehicle that is more than four model-years old and when registering an out-of-state vehicle for the first time in California.
How long does a Smog Check take?
The average Smog Check inspection takes about 20-30 minutes to complete.
What happens if the “Check Engine Light” is on?
If the Check Engine Light is on this usually means a bad thing is going on with the vehicle. If the check engine light is on most likely it will fail at inspection. It can be very costly to repair a failed smog check vehicle. However there are shops that provide a smog check diagnostics before the test is performed.
What If My Vehicle Fails the Smog Check?
In order to complete your registration, you will need to obtain the repairs necessary for the vehicle to pass a Smog Check retest. Before beginning repairs, you may want to find out if you are eligible for the Consumer Assistance Program. If there is a dispute about the results of your Smog Check inspection or if you would like a second opinion, contact the Referee Call Center at 800.622.7733 to schedule an appointment. The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) is administered by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and is designed to help improve California’s air quality. A consumer may retire a qualified vehicle and receive $1000. Consumers meeting low income eligibility requirements may receive $1500. In addition, CAP provides qualified consumers who own a vehicle that cannot pass its biennial (every other year) Smog Check inspection up to $500 in financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs. You may be eligible for financial assistance from the government to retire or repair your vehicle.
How do I apply?
You must first submit an application. The CAP Application
If you apply for repair assistance, accepted for the program, you will receive an approval letter and a list of participating Smog Check Repair Centers you can take your vehicle for Smog Certified Repairs. If you apply for Vehicle Retirement If you qualify and is accepted for the program, you will receive an approval letter and a list of Contracted Dismantlement Centers in your area that you can go to and receive a check for the vehicle’s retirement. More Information About The Consumer Assistance Program .