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What is a Smog Test?

California Smog CheckA smog test checks vehicles for excessive pollution, or that have a high potential to pollute, by analyzing their tailpipe emissions, their on board diagnostics systems and other non-monitored components.  Smog check tests vary by the type of vehicle as manufacturer’s build their emissions systems to fit specific vehicle designs. A smog test may include:

  • Visual examination of emissions control systems and parts.
  • Functional check of the on-board diagnostic system (OBDII), check engine light, ignition timing, EGR, EVAP, and fuel cap
  • Evaluation of tailpipe pollutants

The smog test program is a public effort to enhance everyone’s quality of life in California. Smog tests identify vehicles that contaminate the air, and then require their owners to repair them or retire them. This program has greatly decreased air pollution in California made by the large number of automobiles on the road.

What is a STAR Smog Station?

California law requires that a set number of vehicles have their smog test performed at a STAR smog station. These test centers have met increased performance and accuracy standards set by the State. One reason a vehicle might be chosen for a STAR smog test is that it was found to be more probable than others to produce unfortunate levels of unsafe exhaust gas - despite whether it may never have failed smog check in the past. Another plausibility is that your vehicle was chosen as part of a random test pool to help smog program research and improve overall test efforts.

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