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Pass Smog Test

HOW TO PASS A SMOG TEST

There are lots of reasons why your vehicle can fail a smog check. Follow these tips below to insure your vehicle passes the first time.
Make sure your vehicle is performing correctly before arriving at the smog check inspectionstation.
The chances of your vehicle passing a smog inspection are slim to none if your vehicle is not is good working order. If you do decide to have a smog inspection completed on a vehicle with known mechanical problems you will more than likely lose your inspection fee (unless you are in a state that requires free retests). Save yourself the trouble and get your vehicle repaired prior to having it tested. Also, keep in mind that if your check engine light is on then your vehicle will automatically fail. To investigate the problem, take your vehicle to a repair shop. They will examine your car with a tool that retrieves check engine codes. You can also check with local auto stores to see if this is a service that is available there. For instance, some Pepboys will check your vehicle and give you the engine code for free.

1. Warm Your Car Up
To make sure your vehicle is warmed up and running at the optimal level, drive it for 20 minutes prior to arriving at the smog inspection station. Keep in mind that your engine functions by burning fuel – proper combustion needs adequate time to occur. You can accomplish this by simply driving your vehicle for at least 10 to 15 miles.

2. Take Advantage Of Fuel Additives
To lower your vehicle’s emission levels you can add fuel additives to the gas tank when refueling. The additives reduce your vehicle’s emissions by removing carbon deposits within the engine’s intake and exhaust paths. This allows fuel and air to flow more freely and improves the combustion process and overall engine performance.

3. Check Your Tires
During the emissions test the smog technician might be required to run your vehicle on a dynamometer. If your vehicle’s tires are unevenly worn or improperly inflated then it could cause inaccuracies in the smog test. Verifying your tires are evenly worn and have the correct tire pressure gives your vehicle more stability and produces much greater accuracy during your smog inspection.

4. Change Your Oil
If it’s been awhile since your last oil change, go ahead and change your oil before you get your smog check. If your oil is dirty because of inadequate oil changes then you might fail your emissions inspection because of it. This is due to the fact that the positive crank ventilation system pulls fumes from the oil pan into the engine. If your oil is dirty, so are the fumes.

Smog Check Tips

Smog Check:

Currently, smog inspections are required for all vehicles except diesel powered vehicles manufactured prior to 1998 or with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVWR) of more than 14,000 lbs, electric, natural gas powered vehicles over 14,000 lbs, hybrids, motorcycles, trailers, or gasoline powered vehicles 1975 and older.
Vehicles registered in areas subject to the biennial smog certification program are required to submit evidence of a smog certification every other renewal period. Owners of vehicles six or less model years old will pay an annual smog abatement fee for the first six registration years instead of being required to provide a biennial smog certification. The registration renewal notice mailed to you by the department will indicate if a smog certification is required. If a smog certification is required and you have not had a smog inspection, you may still pay your registration fees to avoid any late fees. However, you will not receive your new registration or year sticker until the smog information has been received by DMV.
NOTE: Upon initial registration, nonresident, diesel powered vehicles manufactured in 1998 or after with a (GVWR) rating of no more than 14,000 lbs, and specially constructed vehicles 1976 and newer requires smog certification. The six or less model years old rule does not apply to these vehicles.
When you transfer a vehicle that is four or less model years old a smog certification is not required. (Determine the oldest-qualifying year model by subtracting three from the current year.) The four or less model years old rule does not apply to diesel powered vehicles. A smog transfer fee will be collected from the new owner. When a vehicle is more than four model years old, a seller must provide evidence of a current smog certification except when one of the following occurs:

  • The transfer occurs between a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild.
  • A biennial smog certification was submitted to DMV within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date (a vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification).
  • Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.

Does my vehicle qualify for a smog exemption?

Smog inspections are required unless your vehicle is:

  • •Hybrid
  • Gasoline powered 1975 year model or older
  • Diesel powered manufactured prior to 1998 or with a Gross Vehicle Weight rating (GVWR) of more than 14,000 lbs
  • Electric
  • Natural gas powered with a GVWR rating of more than 14,000 lbs.
  • Motorcycle
  • Trailer

When a car is sold, who is responsible for the inspection?

The seller is required to provide the buyer with a valid smog inspection certification at the time of the sale or transfer. Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.
The inspection is not required on a transfer if a biennial smog certification was submitted to DMV within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date (a vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification).
NOTE: Smog certifications are not required for transfers that occur for a gasoline powered motor vehicle that is four or less model years old. (Determine the oldest-qualifying year model by subtracting three from the current year) the four or less model years old rule does not apply to diesel powered vehicles. A smog transfer fee will be collected from the new owner.

What if my car fails the inspection?

DMV cannot provide technical information or advice in this area. We recommend that you call the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) toll free number at            800-952-5210      . You may be eligible to participate in the Voluntary Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Program (also known as the old vehicle buy back program).

Is there a military exemption from the smog inspection?

No, a smog inspection certification is required.

My car is new. Am I still required to get the biennial smog inspection?

Vehicles registered in areas subject to the biennial smog certification program are required to submit evidence of a smog certification every other renewal period. Starting January 1, 2005, owners of vehicles six or less model years old will pay an annual smog abatement fee for the first six registration years instead of being required to provide a biennial smog certification. The registration renewal notice mailed to you by the department will indicate if a smog certification is required. If a smog certification is required and you have not had a smog inspection, you may still pay your registration fees to avoid any late fees. However, you will not receive your new registration or year sticker until the smog information has been received by DMV.

NOTE: Upon initial registration, nonresident, diesel powered vehicles manufactured in 1998 or after with a Gross Vehicle Weight rating (GVWR) of no more than 14,000 lbs, and specially constructed vehicles 1976 and newer require smog certification. The six or less model years old rule does not apply to these vehicles

A family member gave me a car. Is a smog inspection required?

If you acquire a vehicle that is currently registered in California from a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild, you are entitled to an exemption from the smog inspection. Other family members or relations are not exempt and are required to obtain a smog inspection certification.

FAQ

What is a Test Only Station?
Test-Only stations are licensed by the state only to perform tests on vehicles. They are prohibited from performing any repair services. Gross Polluters can also be certified at these stations.

Who requires a Smog Check?
The Department of Motor Vehicles renewal notice will indicate whether a Smog Check is required to re- register your vehicle. Most areas of the state require vehicles to have a Smog Check performed every two years, when being sold, and when being initially registered in California.

Do I really need a Smog Check?
Not all vehicles must get a Smog Check. Smog Check need depends on the type of vehicle, the model-year, and the area in which the vehicle is registered. Additionally, some vehicles only need a Smog Check when they are being sold or being registered in California after previously being registered in another state.

What is a STAR smog check?
If you received the DMV registration renewal paper saying “SMOG Certification Required at a STAR station”, you are at the right place. Premier Star Smog is a Star Certified Smog Check Station. STAR Smog Station means, DMV has chosen your car to be inspected at a smog station which is monitored closely by the BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) and must conform to high standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs.

What is the difference between a regular smog station and a STAR smog station?
STAR smog stations will be able to issue a certificate of compliance to a vehicle passing a smog check when a motorist is referred by the DMV to such a station for vehicle registration renewal. A non “star” station may not issue a certificate to the motorist’s vehicle. They may however, test and issue certificates to vehicles not directed by the DMV to a “STAR” smog check station.

How much does a test only smog check cost? Does a test only center charge more?
Smog test only stations are not allowed to profit or perform any auto repairs, whether smog check related or not. In the past smog test only centers typically charged more for their smog inspection in order to cover their expenses. In today’s market however, with competition being so great, and the fact that there are plenty of test only directed vehicles to go around, the cost of the test only smog check has been dramatically reduced.

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. Also a good 15 minute drive helps to ensure a proper warm-up of all emission related components which helps out in the emissions part of the smog check.

What do I do if my vehicle fails Smog Check?
First and foremost we’ll help explain to you why you failed and some suggestions as to what to do next. You will also need to get your vehicle repaired so it can pass its Smog Check retest in order to complete your registration.
How can I learn if I need smog check and what are the pre and post procedures?
Please check California Bureau of Automotive Repair website for step by step procedures.
http://www.bar.ca.gov

How can I find my vehicle’s smog check history?
Please refer to California Bureau of Automotive Repair website where you can enter license plate or vehicle identification number (VIN) to check the history.
http://www.bar.ca.gov

What should I know about the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)?
You may qualify for up to $500 in financial assistance to repair your car if it requires a Smog Check at a Test-Only station and failed that test. The Bureau of Automotive Repair Retirement Program is now offering $1000.00 for eligible motorists to voluntarily retire their high-polluting vehicles. If you don’t think it’s worth repairing the Bureau of Automotive Repair may buy your car!

How do I qualify for CAP?
CAP offers two options for consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial Smog Check.
http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov

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.