What is a Smog Test, and Why Do You Need One?

If you live and drive in California, you probably need to take your car in for a smog check. When you register your vehicle, you’ll need to provide proof that you’ve had the car inspected for emissions. Smog checks are meant to identify vehicles that have higher than acceptable emissions so that they can be repaired before they return to the road.

What is a Smog Check?

A smog check tests your vehicle’s emissions and the emission control system. Those results are then compared to the state standards to determine if your vehicle requires repair to meet the state standards. The idea behind the smog check is to reduce emissions across all vehicles and identify those requiring repair to meet standards.

Do You Need a Smog Check?

If you need to register your vehicle in the state, you’ll need a smog check before the registration is complete. You may want to plan ahead and get your smog check before your registration expires because you’ll still be required to pay for your registration renewal to avoid any late fees.

If your vehicle is fewer than six model years old, you may not need to get a smog check every other renewal period, but you will be required to pay a smog abatement fee each year instead.

There are some vehicles that are exempt from smog checks. For example, if your gas-powered vehicle is older than 1975, it is exempt. Other exempt vehicles include:

  • Electric Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Diesel Vehicles older than 1975
  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight greater than 14,000 pounds

How Often Must I Get My Vehicle Smog Checked?

California requires eligible vehicles to have a smog check every two years. If you buy or sell a vehicle that is more than four model years old, you’ll need to have a smog check performed on the vehicle.

What Do I Need to Take With Me to the Smog Check?

You’ll receive a renewal notice from the California DMV. You should take this notice with you when you take the vehicle to a qualified service center for the smog check. This same notice will also let you know if your vehicle requires the smog check to be completed at a STAR station.

If you’re in the Santa Clarita, CA area, consider taking your vehicle to Valencia Auto Service and Simply Smog. They are STAR certified and can help you with the smog check on nearly any vehicle.

Written by Valencia Auto Performance

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