WHERE SHOULD I GET MY STAR SMOG CHECK DONE

   I AM SURE WE CAN ALL  AGREE THAT THE NEW CALIFORNIA STAR CERTIFIED SMOG CHECK PROGRAM MAY BE CONFUSING TO MANY MOTORISTS.  SO WHY IS THE PROGRAM CHANGING AGAIN?

   THESE PAGES WERE CREATED TO INFORM THE CALIFORNIA MOTORING PUBLIC OF THE NEW CHANGES TO CALIFORNIA’S SMOG CHECK PROGRAM AND HELP GUIDE YOU TO THE CORRECT TYPE OF SMOG CHECK STATION  TO BEST PERFORM YOUR SMOG CHECK SERVICES

    AS OF JANUARY 1, 2013, MOST, IF NOT ALL 1999 AND OLDER VEHICLES WILL BE REFERRED BY THE DMV TO A SPECIALLY DESIGNATED SMOG CHECK STATION KNOWN AS A “STAR CERTIFIED SMOG CHECK STATION”
 
    AS MORE OF THESE LOCATIONS BECOME LICENSED TO PERFORM SMOG CHECKS, WE WILL BE LISTING STATIONS IN ALL 58 CALIFORNIA COUNTIES
 
    WE URGE YOU TO TAKE THE TIME TO INFORM YOURSELF ABOUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SMOG CHECK STATIONS AND THE DIFFERENT ROLES THEY PLAY IN THE NEW SMOG CHECK PROGRAM AND THEN SELECT THE MOST APPROPRIATE LOCATION FOR YOUR NEEDS

   BEING AWARE OF WHICH TYPE OF STATION SUITS YOUR PARTICULAR SITUATION WILL SAVE YOU TIME, AGGRAVATION AND  MONEY IN THE LONG RUN

  NOTICE: THE “STAR” SMOG CHECK PROGRAM OFFICIALLY BEGAN ON JANUARY 1, 2013. YOUR DMV REGISTRATION RENEWAL NOTICE MAY STATE THAT YOUR VEHICLE REQUIRES A SMOG CHECK AT A “STAR CERTIFIED SMOG CHECK STATION”  

   TO FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU, JUST GO TO THE ZIP CODE MAP PAGE AND INPUT YOUR ZIP CODE FOR A SUPER FAST SEARCH RESULT OR SELECT A CALIFORNIA COUNTY BY COUNTY PAGE FROM THE MENU AND THEN PICK A STATION NEAREST YOU. FOR OUR RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING WHICH OF THE FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF STAR CERTIFIED SMOG CHECK STATIONS TO TAKE YOUR VEHICLE TO, READ THIS NEXT SECTION VERY CAREFULLY!

STAR CERTIFIED TEST ONLY STATION

  IF YOU ARE RENEWING YOUR REGISTRATION AND YOU DRIVE A LATE MODEL VEHICLE THAT DOES NOT CURRENTLY, NOR HAS NOT HAD RECENTLY, THE “CHECK ENGINE” LIGHT ON WHILE DRIVING, THEN SEARCH FOR A “STAR CERTIFIED TEST ONLY STATION” LIKE THE ONE LISTED HERE IF YOU LIVE IN LOS ANGELES FOR EXAMPLE. THIS ADVICE WOULD APPLY IF YOU WERE BRINGING A NEWER VEHICLE INTO CALIFORNIA FROM ANOTHER STATE

STAR CERTIFIED TEST AND REPAIR STATION

   IF YOU DRIVE AN OLDER VEHICLE, YOU ARE VERY LIKELY BEING INSTRUCTED BY THE DMV THAT YOU MUST HAVE YOUR SMOG TEST CONDUCTED AT A “STAR CERTIFIED SMOG CHECK STATION”.  NOW IT GETS TRICKY.

   YOU MAY NOT BE AWARE THAT IF YOUR VEHICLE’S “CHECK ENGINE” LIGHT IS ILLUMINATED, YOUR VEHICLE WILL ALWAYS FAIL

   THE TECHNICIAN WILL REPORT IT TO THE STATE DURING THE SMOG TEST AND THEN THE SMOG INSPECTION SYSTEM WILL AUTOMATICALLY FAIL THE VEHICLE

   IF YOU LIVE NEAR DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES AND WANT TO LET THE STATE PAY FOR THE REPAIRS TO YOUR VEHICLE, THEN YOU MIGHT CONSIDER TAKING YOUR CAR TO A CONSUMER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM REPAIR AND “STAR CERTIFIED TEST AND REPAIR STATION”  LIKE THE ONE LISTED HERE

   IF YOU LIVE CLOSER TO PASADENA OR THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY, TAKE YOUR CAR HERE

REPAIR ONLY SMOG CHECK STATION

   REPAIR ONLY SMOG CHECK STATIONS ARE ONLY LICENSED TO DIAGNOSE AND REPAIR VEHICLES. THEY DO NOT TEST VEHICLES

   THEY GENERALLY DIAGNOSE AND REPAIR NEWER OBD2 VEHICLES WHICH HAVE FAILED A SMOG CHECK.

   ONCE THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN ACCURATELY DIAGNOSED AND THE REPAIRS ACCOMPLISHED, THE COMPUTERS’ MEMORY OF THE DEFECTIVE COMPONENT OR SYSTEM IS CLEARED. THE VEHICLE MAY THEN BE DRIVEN UNTIL THE COMPUTER RETESTS THAT SYSTEM THAT WAS CAUSING THE PROBLEM

   IF NO FURTHER PROBLEMS ARE DETECTED, THE MOTORIST MAY RETURN TO A TESTING FACILITY TO HAVE THE VEHICLE SUCCESSFULLY RETESTED

   REFEREE SMOG CHECK STATION

   THE SMOG CHECK REFEREE STATIONS ARE A TYPE OF INSPECTION STATION THAT ASSISTS CALIFORNIA MOTORISTS WITH PROBLEMS INVOLVING THEIR SMOG CHECK. THE REFEREES PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING SPECIALIZED SERVICES:

SMOG CHECK DISPUTE RESOLUTION

   ON OCCASION, CONSUMERS MAY DISAGREE WITH THE RESULTS OF A SMOG CHECK PERFORMED ON THEIR VEHICLE.

   IN MOST CASES, THE REFEREE STATION WILL LISTEN TO THE CUSTOMERS’ COMPLAINT, REVIEW THE VEHICLE INSPECTION REPORT AND REINSPECT THE VEHICLE

REPAIR COST WAIVERS

   A REPAIR COST WAIVER MAY BE AVAILABLE IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE A  FAILED VEHICLE HAS ALREADY HAD OVER $650 IN EMISSION-RELATED REPAIRS ATTEMPTED AT A LICENSED SMOG CHECK REPAIR LOCATION

    THE CONSUMER MAY NOT WISH TO SPEND MORE MONEY TO PASS THE SMOG TEST. THE WAIVER IS ONLY A ONE-TIME EXEMPTION WHICH PERMITS VEHICLE REGISTRATION FOR THE REMAINDER OF TIME UNTIL ANOTHER SMOG CHECK IS DUE AGAIN TO RENEW THE REGISTRATION.

   CONSUMERS MAY CALL THE REFEREE CALL CENTER (800) 622-7733 TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT IF A STATION(S) REFUSES TO PERFORM A SMOG CHECK INSPECTION ON THEIR VEHICLE

GROSS POLLUTER CERTIFICATION

    ONLY REFEREE SMOG CHECK STATIONS AND STAR CERTIFIED SMOG CHECK STATIONS ARE PERMITTED TO ISSUE A PASSING CERTIFICATE AFTER A GROSS POLLUTER IS REPAIRED AND PASSES A SMOG CHECK INSPECTION

    THE REFEREE CAN ALSO BE CONTACTED TO HELP LOCATE HARD TO FIND EMISSIONS PARTS.

   REFEREE INSPECTION APPOINTMENTS MAY SCHEDULED BY CALLING (800) 622-7733

I KNOW I AM GOING TO FAIL SMOG CHECK, WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO

   1) CHECK TO SEE AHEAD OF TIME IF YOU “INCOME QUALIFY” FOR THE CALIFORNIA CONSUMER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

   2) IF YOUR VEHICLES’ CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON, HAVE A MECHANIC SCAN YOUR VEHICLE’S COMPUTER TO SEE IF THE PROBLEM IS SOMETHING MINOR LIKE A LOOSE OR DEFECTIVE GAS CAP.

   THE CONSUMER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM NO LONGER PAYS FOR DIAGNOSIS AND MOST CAP REPAIR STATIONS HAVE A MINIMUM CHARGE FOR THAT SERVICE WHICH FAR EXCEEDS THE COST OF A SIMPLE FIX SUCH AS A GAS CAP REPLACEMENT

   REMEMBER, THERE IS A MAXIMUM EXPENSE ($650) THAT YOU MUST SPEND ON THE DIAGNOSIS AND REPAIR ATTEMPT TO CORRECT A SMOG CHECK FAILURE BEFORE YOUR VEHICLE CAN QUALIFY FOR A REPAIR COST WAIVER.

   IN ORDER FOR THAT EXPENSE TO BE APPLIED TO THE MAXIMUM, THOSE REPAIR DOLLARS MUST BE SPENT AT A LICENSED “SMOG CHECK TEST AND REPAIR STATION”.

   IN GENERAL, IF YOU KNOW OR SUSPECT THAT YOUR VEHICLE IS GOING TO FAIL, DO NOT BOTHER HAVING IT TESTED AT A “TEST ONLY” SMOG CHECK STATION BECAUSE THEY WILL CHARGE YOU FOR THE TEST AND ADVISE YOU TO HAVE REPAIRS DONE ELSEWHERE.

   REMEMBER, IF YOU FAIL THE INSPECTION AT A TEST ONLY CERTIFIED STATION WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT A LICENSED TEST AND REPAIR STATION FOR REPAIRS, THEY WILL BE OBLIGATED BY STATE REGULATION TO CONDUCT A CONFIRMATION SMOG CHECK EXACTLY LIKE THE ONE YOUR VEHICLE JUST UNDERWENT, AND ARE VERY LIKELY TO CHARGE YOU AGAIN.

   YOU ARE BETTER OFF HAVING YOUR INITIAL TEST DONE AT A STAR CERTIFIED TEST AND REPAIR STATION SO YOU ONLY PAY ONCE FOR THE TESTING. FURTHERMORE, THESE TYPES OF STATIONS ARE ALLOWED TO CONDUCT REPAIRS AND MUST, IN MOST CASES, OFFER REPAIR ASSISTANCE UNDER THE CAP PROGRAM FOR QUALIFIED CALIFORNIANS THE CAP PROGRAM PROVIDES CALIFORNIA MOTORISTS WITH UP TO $500 IN EMISSION REPAIR ASSISTANCE

WHY SMOG CHECK CHANGING AGAIN

   THE LAST MAJOR OVERHAUL OF THE CALIFORNIA SMOG CHECK PROGRAM OCCURRED IN 1998 WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF A TESTING PROCESS WHICH INTRODUCED THE USE OF A DYNAMOMETER TO SIMULATE “REAL WORLD” DRIVING CONDITIONS.

   AS A PART OF THIS NEW INSPECTION MANY VEHICLES ARE PLACED ON WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY A TREADMILL, THEN DRIVEN AT SPEEDS OF 15 AND 25 MPH WHILE A RESISTANCE FORCE IS USED TO STRESS THE EMISSION CONTROL SYSTEMS AND ON-BOARD EMISSION SYSTEMS.

   A SAMPLE MEASUREMENT OF THE TAILPIPE EMISSIONS GENERATED BY THE ENGINE HAVING BEEN “TREATED” BY THE EMISSION CONTROL SYSTEM COMPONENTS AND THEN SENT TO THE ANALYZER VIA A PROBE POSITIONED IN THE TAILPIPE OF THE CAR
    OLDER MODEL VEHICLES, WITH MARGINALLY EFFECTIVE EMISSION CONTROL SYSTEMS, AS WELL AS POORLY MAINTAINED VEHICLES, WOULD TEND TO PRODUCE HIGHER TOXIC EMISSION LEVELS AND FAIL TO MEET STRINGENT STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY CALIFORNIA AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION
   AFTER MANY YEARS OF COMPILING DATA FROM THE TESTING OF THE CALIFORNIA VEHICLE FLEET, IT WAS DECIDED TO FOCUS ATTENTION ON THOSE VEHICLES MOST LIKELY TO BE CONTRIBUTING TO POLLUTION

    THE MODEL YEAR 2000 AND NEWER VEHICLES WERE DETERMINED TO BE LESS OF A CONTRIBUTING CAUSE TO CALIFORNIA’S POLLUTION PROBLEM

   ANOTHER CONCERN OF THE DECISION MAKERS WAS THE MINUSCULE RELATIVE FAILURE RATE OF NEWER VEHICLES AND THE ABILITY OF ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTIC SYSTEMS TO SIGNAL A DEFECT IN THE EMISSION SYSTEM BY TRIGGERING AN ENGINE WARNING LIGHT ON THE DASHBOARD TO ILLUMINATE IN THE CASE OF THE VEHICLES POLLUTION RATE BEING MORE THAN 1 1/2 TIMES THE ESTABLISHED STANDARD.

   ALL THE TECHNOLOGY IS SIGNALING A DAY WHEN THERE WILL BE NO MORE SMOG CHECK STATIONS

   YOUR VEHICLES ON-BOARD COMPUTER WILL PASS IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO A REMOTELY LOCATED SENSING DEVICE, SAY AT A HIGHWAY ON RAMP FOR EXAMPLE. THE SENSING DEVICE AUTOMATICALLY TRANSMIT DATA TO A COMPUTER LINKED INTO A STATE OF CALIFORNIA DATABASE AND ANY EMISSIONS CODES IN IT’S MEMORY WILL BE UPLOADED.

   YOU THEN WILL IN ALL LIKELIHOOD RECEIVE A LETTER IN THE MAIL REQUESTING YOU TO HAVE THE PROBLEM CORRECTED PRIOR TO YOUR NEXT REGISTRATION RENEWAL. IF THE PROBLEM IS NOT ADDRESSED AND FIXED, YOUR REGISTRATION MAY NOT BE RENEWED.

   STARTING JANUARY 1, 2013, MOST, IF NOT ALL 1999 AND OLDER VEHICLES WERE BE FORCED TO UNDERGO A MORE VIGOROUSLY SUPERVISED AND MONITORED TESTING REGIMEN IN THE HANDS OF SPECIALLY DESIGNATED SMOG CHECK STATIONS AND TECHNICIANS WHO HAD BEEN PRE-QUALIFIED AND SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN CALIFORNIA’S NEW “STAR” SMOG CHECK PROGRAM.

   THE PARTICIPATING LOCATIONS WERE CHOSEN FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF TESTING THESE OLDER VEHICLES BASED ON A NEW GRADING SYSTEM APPLIED TO BOTH STATIONS AND TECHNICIANS.

   IT WAS PROVEN BY STUDIES THAT THE THEN CURRENT STATIONS WERE NOT CONDUCTING COMPLETELY ACCURATE TESTING PROCEDURES. THIS LED TO HIGHER EMITTING VEHICLES FAILING FOLLOW UP SMOG TESTING ONLY SHORTLY AFTER PASSING A PRIOR INSPECTION.

   IF YOU ARE A “STAR CERTIFIED TEST ONLY/STAR CERTIFIED TEST AND REPAIR STATION” OR AN OFFICIAL BRAKE AND LAMP INSPECTION STATION” AND YOU WANT US TO SEND YOU MORE INSPECTIONS, OR HAVE UPDATED INFORMATION CONCERNING AN ERROR OR OVERSIGHT ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE CONTACT US HERE

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