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Smog Check Stations Fact Sheet

Smog Station types

Smog Check Station Types and Services

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) licenses or contracts with several different types of Smog Check facilities. The various stations are designed to provide consumers with multiple options to meet their needs. The station is required to post a sign on the services it performs.

STAR Stations

STAR stations must meet specified performance standards established by BAR. Some STAR stations are licensed to perform only tests, while others are licensed to perform both tests and repairs. BAR directs a portion of the vehicle fleet to STAR-certified stations for inspection and certification. These are known as "directed vehicles." Additionally, vehicles that fail inspection at very high emissions levels must also receive certification from a STAR-certified station. These vehicles are identified as "gross polluters."

Test-Only Stations

Test-Only stations are licensed by the state to perform Smog Check inspections, but not repairs, on vehicles.

Test-and-Repair Stations

Test-and-Repair stations are licensed by the state to provide Smog Check inspections and repairs.

Repair-Only Stations

Repair-Only stations are licensed by the state to diagnose and repair vehicles subject to Smog Check Program.

Consumer Assistance Program

Under the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP), STAR Test-and-Repair stations contract with the Bureau of Automotive Repair to perform state subsidized emissions-related repairs on vehicles. To obtain an application, call 1-800-952-5210 or click here.

Referee Centers

Referee Centers are state-contracted facilities that provide specialized inspection services. They perform a number of important functions for consumers, including: issuance of Smog Check repair cost waivers; assistance with certain disputes between a station and consumer; certification of vehicles issued Limited Parts Exemptions; inspection of grey market vehicles, specially constructed vehicles, and vehicles with engine changes; and assistance in the resolution of other Smog Check issues. To make an appointment at a Referee center, call 1-800-622-7733.

Consumer Tips

As with other consumer products and services, it is always best to seek quality services that best meet your needs. Since market forces drive the price of a Smog Check and any related repair work, some stations may charge different prices than others. To determine what services a station provides, or for other information about the Smog Check program, please see Help With Smog Check or call 1-800-952-5210.

Department of Consumer Affairs / Bureau of Automotive Repair