Enhanced Smog Check Frequently Asked Questions
What are the environmental benefits of Smog Check?
The Smog Check program has greatly reduced air pollution created by California's 30 million cars. According to the California Air Resources Board, the program removes more than 360 tons of smog-forming pollutants from the air every day.
What is a Test-Only station?
Test-Only stations are licensed to only perform Smog Checks. State law prohibits them from making repairs.
Why are some vehicles required to go to a Test-Only or Gold Shield station for their Smog Check?
Vehicles with expected high emissions levels are selected for testing at these stations.
How will I know if I need to take my car to a Test-Only or Gold Shield station?
The vehicles that are required to go to a Test-Only or Gold Shield station are the vehicles most likely to fail their Smog Check.
How can I find a Test-Only or Gold Shield station?
You can find the nearest Test-Only or Gold Shield station by visiting Find a Station or by calling1-800-952-5210. If your vehicle requires a Smog Check at a Test-Only station and needs repair, you will automatically qualify for the Consumer Assistance Program. (For information, see sections on the Consumer Assistance Program below.)
How much will the new Smog Check cost?
Smog Check prices vary in different areas. Prices for Smog Checks aren't regulated, so motorists are encouraged to shop around. For a list of stations in your area, visit Find a Station.
How long will a Smog Check take?
The average test time is about 30 minutes.
Will my vehicle be tested more often under the new Smog Check program?
No. Your vehicle must be tested every other year, just as before. A Smog Check is also required when you sell your car.
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.
What do I do if my vehicle fails Smog Check?
You will need to get your vehicle repaired so it can pass its Smog Check retest in order to complete your registration. But, first see if you are eligible for our Consumer Assistance Program (For information, see sections on the Consumer Assistance Program below.) If you are not eligible, you may want to visit a Smog Check station participating in our Gold Shield program. (For information, see section on Gold Shield below.)
What is a Gold Shield station?
A Gold Shield station is a licensed Smog Check station that meets certain BAR performance criteria in order to certify all vehicles it repairs. This includes a vehicle that fails its Smog Check at a Test-Only station, or one that fails at "Gross Polluter" levels. (For information, see section on Gross Polluter below.) This can prevent you from having to go to a separate Test-Only station to pass the Smog Check retest. To find a Gold Shield station near you, visit Find a Station or call 1-800-952-5210.
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.
What if I can't afford the repairs?
The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) helps many Californians whose vehicles need Smog Check repairs. CAP allows qualified motorists to receive up to $500 in financial assistance for Smog Check repairs. You may qualify for repair assistance in one of two ways:
· Your vehicle requires a Smog Check at a Test-Only station, or
· Your income falls within certain levels.
How can I apply for CAP?
To get an application, visit online a www.smogcheck.ca.gov or call1-800-952-5210. If you intend to apply for the program, do not have any repairs done on your vehicle. You must first submit an application and have it approved. You will then receive a list of participating stations where you can take your vehicle to have it repaired.
Who administers the Smog Check program in California?
The Smog Check program is administered by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair (DCA/BAR). BAR licenses and regulates more than 7500 Smog Check stations, about 14,000 Smog Check technicians, and 34,000 automotive repair dealers across the state.