MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHEN DOES MY VEHICLE REQUIRE A SMOG TEST?
The following vehicle model years are subject to a smog check..
- Initial registration (all vehicles being registered in California for the first time) -1976 and newer.
- Resale or change of ownership - 4 years old to 1976
- Biennial for registration renewal - 6years old to 1976
- Salvaged vehicles are treated as an initial registration and are subject to VIN verification, and brake and lamp inspection
What is the difference between a Test Only and a Smog Check station?
- There is no difference in the test only the type of station/shop. If you are directed to a smog test only station, the station only performs tests and does not perform any repairs. If you are directed to get a smog test at any test station, you can choose to go to a test and repair, or a test only station.
Why should I choose to go to a "Test Only" station vs. a "Test and Repair"
- A test only station has nothing to gain by failing a vehicle, Where as a test and repair station is in the business for up sales and looks to fail a vehicle in the hopes to get additional work. NOTE:"NOT ALL TEST AND REPAIR STATIONS ARE THIS DECEPTIVE". My suggestion to you is to know the the reputation of the shop, or just go to a test only station when ever you need to get a smog check of any kind, or for any reason.
What is a smog certificate, and does the price vary depending on where I get my vehicle tested
- A smog certificate is issued by the state only after a vehicle passes the smog test. The certificate is electronically generated and is currently priced controlled by the state at $8.25 and it is against the law for a smog test facility to mark up the price. You are untitled to get a copy of the smog test which also has the electronic certificate # on the print out.
What is an E.T. "Electronic Transmittal" and how much should it cost.
- An E.T. "Electronic Transmittal" is the charge for transmitting the smog test data to the states data base in Sacramento, and to pay for the dedicated phone line required by the state. The average price for an Electronic Transmittal varies from $3.00 - $6.00. If someone tells you that they don't charge for an E.T. they're probably embedding it into the smog price and not separating it out. These types of shops are usually higher priced than the one's that disclose all of the charges.
Important changes in the smog test as of December 2007
- As of December 1, 2007 The state of California has implemented a new test requirement on all vehicles 1976 to 1995. This new test is called the low evaporation emissions test. The test checks the fuel tank and purge line for fuel vapor leaks.
- All vehicles 1996 and newer are equipped with a computer monitoring system that performs random tests of the evap system to determine the integrity of the fuel system and does not require the evap test to be performed at a smog station. any faults found in the evap system will generate a fault code in the computer memory and turn on the service engine (check engine) light alerting the driver of a possible problem.
- All 1998 and newer diesel vehicles under 14000 GVWR are now tested on the new system beginning January, 1, 2014
- 2000 and newer Hybrid and all types of gas vehicles under 14000 GVWR are now tested on the new system beginning March, 9, 2015