Your DMV Smog Check Renewal Notice
Most vehicles in California are required to pass a Smog Check every two years for registration renewal. Your DMV Registration Renewal Notice will indicate if your vehicle needs a Smog Check. You may take your vehicle to any Smog Check station, unless it requires a Smog Check at a STAR station.
Where do I get a Smog Check?
What should I take to the Smog Check station?
If you are renewing your registration, you only need to take your vehicle, your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Registration Renewal Notice, and a method of payment for the Smog Check.
What happens during a Smog Check?
While performing a Smog Check, the licensed inspector will connect testing equipment to your vehicle. This equipment is connected to computers at the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).
If the vehicle passes the test, the vehicle information and test results are electronically transmitted to the DMV. The staff at the Smog Check station will provide you with a receipt and a copy of the test results, known as a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR).
What do I do next?
If your vehicle passes Smog Check, you may continue your vehicle registration with the DMV. Although test results are submitted electronically to the DMV, it's a good idea retain your VIR paperwork in case the electronic transmission was not received by the DMV.
If your vehicle fails a Smog Check, you have several options to meet your Smog Check obligations.
- Have it diagnosed and repaired at a licensed repair facility
If you choose to have your vehicle diagnosed and repaired, keep in mind that all emission-related repairs to correct a smog test failure must be performed by a licensed Smog Check repair technician at a licensed Smog Check repair station.
After repairs are completed, you may have your vehicle re-tested at any Smog Check station. If your vehicle requires an inspection at a STAR station, you must have your vehicle re-tested at a STAR station.
- Get a second opinion from the Referee
The Referee can assist you with disputes from a previous Smog Check, inspections of unusual vehicles, and locating hard-to-find emissions parts.
- Apply for financial assistance for emissions-related repairs from the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)
Up to $500 in emission-related repairs is available to consumers whose vehicles fail a biennial (every other year) Smog Check if they meet income eligibility requirements.
- Seek a Repair Cost Waiver through the Referee Network if you cannot afford to repair your vehicle
The Repair Cost Waiver process is available if you have had some repairs performed to reduce emissions and cannot afford further repairs to pass the smog test.
- Apply for Vehicle Retirement through the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)
If you feel your vehicle is not worth repairing, you can retire it from operation for up to $1,500 at a State-approved dismantler.