How to Get a Smog Check

Smog Certification Required

Why ?
The US government has tightened automobile emissions standards because of increasing smog and air pollution. Check with your auto-repair shop or State Department of Motor Vehicles for local requirements to acquire a smog certificate. Not every vehicle needs to get a smog check, but if you live in California or a handful of other progressive states or counties, you may have to pass their smog check requirements in order to have your vehicle registered with the state. The requirements will be determined by the make and model of your vehicle as well as where it is to be registered.

 
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To be in good standing with your state


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Make your online diagnosis
Understand why your vehicle needs to undergo a smog check.
In an effort to reduce carbon emissions that lead to global warming, many states are being proactive in regulating pollutants being emitted through your automobile exhaust system.

Where ?
Take a look at DMV.org, "The Unofficial Site of the DMV," at http://www.dmv.org/smog-check.php to determine if your state has smog check requirements. This site tells you which counties in each state have smog check requirements and what vehicles need to be tested.

Check out California state resources to determine if there are smog check requirements for your vehicle.
California's Smog Check program was created to help California have cleaner air as well as to help the state meet the requirements of the Federal Clean Air Act.
• Sites such as the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair can give you detailed information to help get you started.
Look for notification in the mail.
In California, for example, your registration renewal notification will state "Smog Certification Required."

Know what to take for your smog check.
• If you are doing your smog check to renew your registration, then take your vehicle, your registration renewal paperwork and your payment.
• If you are transferring a vehicle to a state that has a smog check requirement or your vehicle is being registered for the first time in a state with smog check requirements, you will need to not only bring your vehicle and your payment, but all necessary registration information as well.

Understand what takes place at your smog test.
• A certified technician will apply the necessary measurement tools to your vehicle, at which point, he or she will perform the test.
• In some states, these testing facilities have direct access to your state's department of motor vehicles and will immediately transmit the results to them. If not, get a copy of your emissions report signed by your mechanic and send it to the DMV.
• The staff will let you know the results of your test as well as give you the appropriate documentation of the tests.
Tips
• Find out if your state has any consumer assistance programs if you fail your smog check. California, for example, has repair assistance programs as well as a vehicle retirement program where vehicles that failed the smog check can be turned in to an authorized dismantler for an allotted amount of money.

If your state does require a smog and emission check
You received your DMV renewal notice and discovered it says "Smog Certification Required". No need to panic. All this means is that the DMV has chosen your vehicle to be inspected at certified smog station which is monitored closely by the BAR and must conform to high standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs.
• Test Only Centers are only authorized to perform smog inspections and are not allowed to perform smog check repairs.
• Test & Repair Stations are authorized to perform smog inspections, as well as repair and certify all vehicles.

How are vehicles selected for smog check?
• Gross polluters (vehicles which have failed a previous smog inspection with very high emission readings)
• High Emitter Profile vehicles. These are vehicle types designated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair as having high chances of failing the smog inspection.
• A random sample of all vehicles registered in California and being driven on public roadways. 
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