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Smog Check Program Areas Fact Sheet

The Smog Check area in which a vehicle is registered will determine the type of test it needs to receive certification, and the frequency of testing. The Smog Check area in which a station is located will determine which licenses the technician must possess and what equipment must be used to test vehicles. The ZIP Code locator can be used to determine your Smog Check area. The Smog Check Program Area Map provides a view of the California Smog Check Program areas.

Areas of the State

All areas of California require Smog Check certifications when a specified model year vehicle changes ownership or is registered for the first time in California. The Smog Check program divides the state into three areas.

Enhanced Areas: Vehicles within specified model years are required to be certified every two years during their registration renewal with DMV. Also a portion of the vehicles are required to obtain a certificate (passing Smog test) from a Test-Only or Gold Shield station. Vehicles registered in an Enhanced Area must receive an ASM (Acceleration Simulation Mode) Smog Check unless the vehicle is not compatible.

Basic Areas: Vehicles within specified model years are required to be certified every two years during their registration renewal with DMV. Vehicles registered in a Basic Area must receive a TSI (Two Speed Idle) Smog Check.

Change of Ownership Areas: Vehicles within specified model years are required to be certified only upon change of ownership or initial registration in California. Vehicles registered in this area must receive a TSI (Two Speed Idle) Smog Check.

Testing Equipment

All stations use equipment called BAR-97 Emissions Inspection Systems (EIS).

Enhanced Area Equipment: Enhanced and Partially Enhanced area stations use an EIS with a treadmill-like device called a dynamometer to simulate actual driving conditions. A few vehicles, such as large trucks, some four-wheel drive vehicles and some vehicles with traction control, will receive a Two Speed Idle inspection without the use of the dynamometer.

Basic Area Equipment: Basic and Change of Ownership area stations also use an EIS, but are not required to have a dynamometer.

Technician Licenses

The Advanced Emission Specialist (EA) Technician License allows an individual to inspect, diagnose, adjust, repair, and certify the emissions control systems of vehicles registered in all areas of the state, including Enhanced Areas. Only technicians with this license may use the EIS with a dynamometer to perform Enhanced Inspections.

The Basic Area (EB) Technician License allows an individual to inspect, diagnose, adjust, repair, and certify the emissions control systems of vehicles registered in the state's Basic and Change of Ownership Areas.

The Intern (EI) Technician License allows an individual, under the direction of a supervising, licensed Smog Check Technician, to perform repairs or make adjustments to the emissions control systems for vehicles that have failed a Smog Check inspection. The Intern Technician license may be used statewide, but it is a nonrenewable license and expires after two years. This license does NOT allow the licensee to perform Smog Check inspections.

 
 
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