STAR stations are Smog Check stations that meet higher performance standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. STAR stations are more closely monitored by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs, and are required to go through an extra layer of certification and perform more involved testing. STAR Test and Repair Centers are the only smog centers that can inspect, repair and certify your vehicle.


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

Why are additional inspections of a vehicle necessary if it passes a tailpipe inspection?

The tailpipe test alone cannot guarantee that a car is not emitting harmful amounts of pollutants into California’s air. The visual and functional inspections of a vehicle’s emission control components and system ensures that the vehicle has all required equipment and that the systems are working properly. These inspections also help prevent evaporative emissions. These types of emissions are created even when the vehicle is not operational. The visual and functional tests also help identify vehicles with tampered (i.e. missing, modified, or disconnected) emissions control systems. These vehicles may be configured to pass the tailpipe portion of the Smog Check, but altered later to produce more emissions than allowed.

How often does my vehicle have to be tested?

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.

How long is a Smog Check certificate valid?

An electronic certificate of compliance is issued and stored at 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.

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. Smog Check stations may charge for this service if authorized by the consumer.

What is a Gross Polluter?

A Gross Polluter is a vehicle with excess hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide or oxides of nitrogen emissions as established by DCA and ARB. Gross Polluters can only be certified at a STAR station which will confirm the vehicle was repaired and brought into compliance with required emissions standards.

What happens if my vehicle fails a Smog Check?

We will explain the reason for the failure and the repairs needed to correct the problem. We are licensed to perform repairs.