Smog Checks

(Please note, PASS or receive a FREE retest when we complete repairs)

We are a licensed site for all your Smog Check (vehicle emissions check) for the State of California.

The Smog Check Program is an important part of the California’s efforts to improve the air we all breathe. Smog Check inspections are designed to identify vehicles with excess emissions so they can be properly repaired. The Smog Check Program has greatly reduced air pollution created by the tens of millions of cars in California.

Smog Checks are required biennially (every other year) on vehicles more than eight 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.

The average Smog Check takes about 20-30 minutes to complete by one of our qualified technicians.

Your vehicle does not need a smog inspection if your:

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

  • Vehicle is powered by natural gas and weighs more than 14,000 pounds.

  • Vehicle is electric.

  • Gasoline-powered vehicle is less than 4 model years old.

Who administers the Smog Check Program?

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’, Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), administers the Smog Check Program. Vehicles are inspected each year by state-licensed, independently owned stations throughout the State.

FAQs

What are the elements of a Smog Check?

Smog Checks are designed to measure the amount and type of pollutants your vehicle is emitting. A Smog Check may include any of the following tests:

  • Visual inspection of emission control components and systems

  • Functional inspection of the vehicle’s check engine light, ignition timing, exhaust gas recirculation system, fuel evaporative system, and gas cap

  • Functional inspection of the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system.

  • Tailpipe emissions inspection

How long is a Smog Check certificate valid?

An electronic certificate of compliance is issued and stored at the DMV when a vehicle passes a Smog Check. The certificate is valid for 90 days.

How can I help my vehicle pass a Smog Check?

Performing regular and proper maintenance according to your owner’s manual and not tampering with the emissions-control equipment will help improve your vehicle’s chances of passing a Smog Check. If the “Check Engine” light comes on, take your vehicle to a licensed repair station as soon as you can to have the problem diagnosed. Do not wait for the vehicle’s next scheduled Smog Check. A blinking or flashing light indicates a malfunction that should be addressed immediately to avoid serious damage to the engine or emission-control systems. Check your owner’s manual for repairs that may be covered under your vehicle manufacturer’s emissions warranty.

What is a “pre-test?”

A pre-test or pre-inspection is an unofficial test provided as an option to vehicle owners prior to having an official Smog Check performed on the vehicle.

What is a Directed Vehicle?

State law requires that a percentage of vehicles have their Smog Check 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, even though it may never have failed a Smog Check. Another possibility is that your vehicle was chosen as part of a random selection for program evaluation purposes.

What is a VIR?

A Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) is provided by a Smog Check station to a vehicle owner upon completion of a Smog Check. This VIR provides details on the tests performed during the inspection. It is not necessary to provide this document to DMV, but it should be kept as evidence of a passing inspection.

What if the DMV has not received the electronic certificate when I attempt to register my vehicle?

If you are going to register your vehicle in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) field office, be sure to bring your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) and any notices sent by DMV with you. The VIR indicates whether your car passed or failed the Smog Check and includes an identification number to help DMV track your electronic certificate, if necessary.

Do I need a Smog Check if I am selling my vehicle and recently had it tested to renew its registration in California?

California Vehicle Code specifies that a Smog Check certificate is not needed upon changing ownership if the application for transfer is submitted to DMV within 90 days of the vehicle receiving a Smog Check certificate. Therefore, if your vehicle received certification of a passing Smog Check within 90 days of the sale, another Smog Check certificate is not required to transfer ownership.

What happens if my vehicle fails a Smog Check?

Ask the inspector to explain the reason for the failure and then seek a repair technician to correct the problem. Many inspectors are also licensed to perform repairs. A-Z Tech has certified, trained repair technicians on-site and can assist you in getting your car repaired to meet the emission standards required to pass the inspection.