Smog Check Industry Information
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 center, unless it requires a smog check at a STAR center (which is also stated in the DMV renewal notice). STAR centers are those that meet a higher standard of performance and accuracy as compared to regular smog check centers. STAR certification is also governed by the BAR.
For more information about the various programs administered by BAR, please visit the following website:
Please note; you may be eligible for Consumer Assistance Program that provides financial assistance for vehicle retirement or emissions-related repairs. Further information can be obtained at the following link: https://www.bar.ca.gov/consumer/consumer-assistance-program/
NEW - California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) introduces smog requirements for Hybrid Vehicles!
All eight years and older hybrid vehicles, with registration date July 1, 2015 or later are now required to get a smog test every two years. All our facilities are equipped with the latest equipment to perform smog tests for hybrids.
What do I take with me at the smog center?
1. The vehicle that needs to be registered
2. DMV registration renewal notice
3. Method of payment
4. Certain smog inspection stations, like ours, can speed up paperwork processing if you also bring your drivers' license (optional)
What happens at the smog center?
1. The smog technician will provide you with an estimate of the cost
2. The admin/technician will provide you a form to fill out (we automate this process to save you time and provide a hassle-free experience)
3. The technician will perform a visual inspection of the vehicle
4. The technician will connect your vehicle to smog testing equipment
5. The test scores are electronically transmitted to the DMV
6. If your vehicle passes, you receive the Smog Check Certificate; if it fails, you are required to repair your vehicle
7. You make the payment (which should match the estimate)
What happens next?
1. You take the Certificate to the DMV to register your vehicle.
2. If your vehicle failed the test; it needs to be repaired, and retested. (Some facilities like ours offer retests on most vehicles for free)
Note - you can check a vehicle's smog check history a.k.a. whether DMV received your smog certificate by clicking here
Once you have confirmed DMV has your smog test pass data, you can pay for your vehicle registration renewal on the DMV website by clicking here. Note - you will need your vehicle's License Plate number AND the last 5 digits of your VIN number.
PART I - What is a Smog Test?
This video outlines various parts to a Smog Test:
PART II - Visual Test Fails
This video outlines the most common reasons for failure in a Visual Test
PART III - Functional Test Fails
This video outlines the most common reasons for failure in a Functional Test
PART IV - Emission Test Fails
This video outlines the most common reasons for failure in an Emissions Test
PART V - How to Read a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR)
After getting a smog test, the smog station will issue what's called a Vehicle Inspection Report.