Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Test Only Station?

Test-Only stations are licensed by the state only to perform tests on vehicles. They are prohibited from performing any repair services. Gross Polluters can also be certified at these stations.

Who requires a Smog Check?

The Department of Motor Vehicles renewal notice will indicate whether a Smog Check is required to re- register your vehicle. Most areas of the state require vehicles to have a Smog Check performed every two years, when being sold, and when being initially registered in California.

Do I really need a Smog Check?

Not all vehicles must get a Smog Check. Smog Check need depends on the type of vehicle, the model-year, and the area in which the vehicle is registered. Additionally, some vehicles only need a Smog Check when they are being sold or being registered in California after previously being registered in another state.

What is a STAR smog check?

If you received the DMV registration renewal paper saying “SMOG Certification Required at a STAR station”, you are at the right place. Premier Star Smog is a Star Certified Smog Check Station. STAR Smog Station means, DMV has chosen your car to be inspected at a smog station which is monitored closely by the BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) and must conform to high standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs.

What is the difference between a regular smog station and a STAR smog station?

STAR smog stations will be able to issue a certificate of compliance to a vehicle passing a smog check when a motorist is referred by the DMV to such a station for vehicle registration renewal. A non “star” station may not issue a certificate to the motorist’s vehicle. They may however, test and issue certificates to vehicles not directed by the DMV to a “STAR” smog check station.

How much does a test only smog check cost? Does a test only center charge more?

Smog test only stations are not allowed to profit or perform any auto repairs, whether smog check related or not. In the past smog test only centers typically charged more for their smog inspection in order to cover their expenses. In today’s market however, with competition being so great, and the fact that there are plenty of test only directed vehicles to go around, the cost of the test only smog check has been dramatically reduced.

How can I help my vehicle pass Smog Check?

Proper and regular maintenance according to your Owner’s Manual, and not tampering with the emissions control equipment are keys to passing Smog Check and lowering emissions from your vehicle. Also a good 15 minute drive helps to ensure a proper warm-up of all emission related components which helps out in the emissions part of the smog check.

What do I do if my vehicle fails Smog Check?

First and foremost we’ll help explain to you why you failed and some suggestions as to what to do next. You will also need to get your vehicle repaired so it can pass its Smog Check retest in order to complete your registration.

How can I learn if I need smog check and what are the pre and post procedures?

Please check California Bureau of Automotive Repair website for step by step procedures.
http://www.bar.ca.gov

How can I find my vehicle’s smog check history?

Please refer to California Bureau of Automotive Repair website where you can enter license plate or vehicle identification number (VIN) to check the history.
http://www.bar.ca.gov

What should I know about the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)?

You may qualify for up to $500 in financial assistance to repair your car if it requires a Smog Check at a Test-Only station and failed that test. The Bureau of Automotive Repair Retirement Program is now offering $1000.00 for eligible motorists to voluntarily retire their high-polluting vehicles. If you don’t think it’s worth repairing the Bureau of Automotive Repair may buy your car!

How do I qualify for CAP?

CAP offers two options for consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial Smog Check.
http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov

What is a Gross Polluter?

Some vehicles that fail their smog inspections give off such high levels of pollution that a category called “Gross Polluter” was created. BAR identifies these vehicles to encourage their immediate repair. Gross Polluters are some of the worst polluting vehicles on California roadways.

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