A smog check is one of the most common and crucial inspections mandated by governments. They are used to calculate the amount of pollution your vehicle causes by releasing greenhouse gasses and emissions from burning liquid fuel back into the environment.
If you have regularly serviced your vehicle and repaired any visible damage it may have sustained over the years, a smog check should be rather painless.
Given this, you may be curious about smog checks and the knowledge required to pass one. Follow along, and let’s dig a bit on the subject.
What Are Smog Checks?
Smog checks are inspections for cars that emit too much pollution from their tailpipes. These initiatives were put into place immediately after the Clean Air Act was passed in 1966 in an effort to minimize air pollution and car emissions and to improve regional air quality in order to conform to local emissions restrictions.
Who Runs the Smog Check Program in the State of California?
More than 7,000 privately owned smog check stations across the state are licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to perform smog inspections.
For smog check stations in California that want to certify vehicles as being grossly polluting, there is the STAR Program, although there are few exceptions to the general rule that a smog check is needed whenever a vehicle is registered or renewed in California.
Who Needs a Smog Check in the State of California?
Vehicles manufactured in 1976 or after are required to participate in the biennial smog check program in participating counties under the California Smog Check Program.
When you renew your Department of Motor Vehicles vehicle registration, you must have a smog inspection if you reside in one of the following California counties: Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara.
The California Bureau of Automotive Repair has a helpful auto shop finder for businesses that are accredited STAR stations if you’re seeking a place to finish your smog check. Additionally, you can perform a smog check at the local California DMV.
On the Other Hand, Your Vehicle Does Not Need a Smog Inspection If They Are One of the Following:
- A gasoline-powered car from the 1975 model year or before (this includes motorcycles and trailers.)
- A diesel-powered vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of more than 14,000 pounds OR a model year of 1997 or earlier.
- A natural gas-powered vehicle that is heavier than 14,000 pounds.
- An electric car.
- A car with a gasoline engine that is under eight model years old.
Do the Following to Prepare for a Smog Check Inspection:
- Turn off your check engine light; One of the few things that will result in an automatic failure of your smog check is an illuminated check engine light.
- If your vehicle’s oil needs to be replaced, change it; low or contaminated oil levels can result in an automatic failure.
- Travel at highway speeds to ensure that the car is adequately warmed up before the dynamometer is used to measure the torque.
- Request a pre-inspection; most smog check locations provide pre-inspections to give you the chance to address any issues with your car that would result in an automatic failing grade.
- Check your car’s tune-up; if something in your car isn’t working well, the smog inspector is more likely to fail the inspection.
How Much Does a Smog Check Cost?
It usually costs between $30 and $60 to get your car smog checked. Once your vehicle has passed the smog check, the administrator will give you a state-issued sticker to place on your dashboard.
What Happens If You Don’t Pass a Smog Check?
It is often the case that if you fail a smog check, you will be unable to finish the process of renewing the registration of your vehicle. As a result, it will be against the law for you to drive until you pass the smog check exam. After your car has been inspected and passed, you will be able to legally renew your registration and continue driving.
Please contact us at Ticket Snipers if you have any questions about speed limits or California Smog Checks and how to defend yourself against any type of traffic ticket. We are available 24/7 if you’d like to chat with one of our trained consultants about your situation.