Star certified Smog Station

Smog Inspection


Smog inspections are generally required during a vehicle’s initial registration in California and once, every two years, thereafter. This inspection cycle will continue for as long as the vehicle is registered in this State.

The Smog Check Program applies to 1976 and newer passenger vehicles and trucks powered singly or in combination by:

  • Gasoline
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Diesel
  • Methanol / Ethanol fuels

Star Certified Smog Station | Cars Muffler & Automotive Inc.

Smog Inspections are also required anytime a vehicle is sold or bought in California. During a title transfer the Department of Motor Vehicles will not allow a vehicle to be registered unless it is presented with a valid smog certificate. There are special testing procedures for vehicles, which are classified as “Gross Polluters”. These include Test Only and State Referee inspections. If your vehicle requires a Test Only or Referee inspection, your DMV paperwork will advise you of it. Prepare your smog check checklist ahead of time. Preparing is the key.

1975 & Older – Effective 04/01/05: Under the old law, 1975 and subsequent model year vehicles became exempt from Smog Check when they turned 30 years old. A 1976 model year vehicle was exempt in 2005, a 1977 in 2006, etc. Under the new law… commenced April 1, 2005, exempt from smog check requirements are any motor vehicle manufactured prior to the 1976 model year. All vehicles 1976 and newer vehicles will be tested according to state emission law. This law repeals the 30-year rolling exemption.

6 Yrs & Newer – Effective 01/01/05: Will expand the model-year smog check exemption to include motor vehicles 6 or less model years old, unless ARB (Air Resource Board) determines that including the 5th and 6th model-year vehicles in the exemption would prohibit the state from meeting the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act.

Exempt: Still exempt from the State of California Smog Check program are:

  • Hybrid powered motor vehicles
  • 2 wheel motorcycles
  • Diesel cars & trucks (1997 & older)
  • Diesel trucks (over 14,500 GVW)
  • Motor vehicles w/ 1 or 2 cylinders
  • 2-stroke engines(excluding rotary)
  • Engines under 819cc
  • 1975 model year vehicles and older
  • 6 model years old (except for initial registration in California or change of ownership)

Diesel Smog Check

Effective 01/01/2010: All Diesel vehicles, cars and trucks 1998 and newer, and weighing under 14,500 GVW will need a diesel smog check. All California certified smog check stations can perfrom the Diesel Smog Check. The diesel smog test will not include the emissions test portion of the regular inspection. There will be no tailpipe emissions inspection or smog test. Dynamometer testing will not be part of the diesel smog check inspection.

Your vehicle will not be driven on the dynamometer during the diesel smog check. Instead the diesel smog test will focus on a visual inspection of your vehicle’s emissions/smog components, a system check of the On Board Diagnostics (OBD II) system, a visual smoke check for excessive black (carbon) smoke, and an EVAP functional test. Diesel cars and trucks which fail the diesel smog test will have to get their vehicles repaired at a diesel vehicle repair shop before retesting.

What is the Consumer Assistance Program?

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) provides financial assistance for qualified consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial (every-other-year) Smog Check. The statutory authority for CAP is found in the Health and Safety Code and is implemented through regulations adopted by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Participation in CAP is limited to available funds.

How do I qualify for CAP?

CAP offers two options for consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial Smog Check:

  • Repair Assistance: Qualified consumers can receive financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs to help their vehicles pass their Smog Check inspection. Approved applicants must take their vehicles to a Star Certified Smog check station repair station for repairs. Star Certified Smog check stations are licensed Smog Check facilities that are independently owned and under contract with the State of California. There are two ways to qualify for repair assistance.
    • Income Eligible – Qualified consumers whose household incomes meet the income guidelines (derived from the federal poverty guidelines) can receive financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs. A copayment is required and will be applied toward diagnosis and emission-related repairs. The CAP application includes an income eligibility table to help consumers determine if they meet the income requirements.
    • Directed Vehicle Eligible – Certain vehicles are directed to Test-Only or Star Certified Smog check station stations for their initial smog tests. If your Department of Motor Vehicles registration notice requires a test at a Test-Only or Star Certified Smog check station, and your vehicle fails, you may qualify for financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs at a Star Certified Smog check station. Test-Only stations cannot perform repairs. A copayment is required and will be applied toward diagnosis and emissions-related repairs.
  • Vehicle Retirement: Eligible consumers can receive payment to retire their high-polluting vehicle. There are no income or Directed Vehicle eligibility requirements. Approved applicants must take their vehicle to an authorized dismantler. The vehicle must pass a visual and operational inspection before it is retired.

How do I apply?

You must first submit an application. Do not have any repairs done to your vehicle until you are notified that your application has been approved. If you applied for repair assistance, you will then receive an approval letter and a list of Star Certified Smog check stations. If you applied for vehicle retirement, you will receive an approval letter and a list of contracted dismantlers.

Where can I get an application?

You can obtain the CAP application (click to download the application) online or by calling the Department of Consumer Affairs Consumer Information Center at 800-952-5210.