Reports indicate that nearly a third of older model vehicles checked for smog tests in SoCal failed even after being inspected within the first year alone so it important to choose a reputable station for your next star smog check. Smog laws in California apply to both new and used vehicles, where the former needs to be certified before registration and the latter manufactured after 1976 participate in a smog check every two years.
Smog diagnostic stations in California use a state of the art exhaust gas analyzer to identify the cars that are polluters. Its functionality is similar to a photo camera, except that it takes pictures of the vehicle’s exhaust rather than the actual vehicle. A certified technician then analyzes and evaluates these photos to diagnose the vehicle’s condition. If the vehicle fails the test, the owner will have to get the damaged parts replaced before getting it retested.
Price of the Smog Test in California
There are several businesses that offer smog checks, but it is cheaper to take your car into an exclusive San Jose star smog check station. Also referred to as smog check only shops, they are able to provide you with professional advice on your vehicle’s condition and how to improve it. Some licensed smog star certified stations also offer additional discounts such as vehicle check a free 90 day retest in case your vehicle doesn’t meet the standards the first time around.
Most smog technicians are qualified to cater to limos, RV’s, cars, trucks and vans. Although the costs of the start smog test vary from station to station, they start at $29.95 up to $69.95, but only a few stations offers a free retest provided it is done within 90 days of the first one. Adding to this is the cost of the star smog check certificate, which is $8.25 and seems to be the standard rate in California.
Apart from start smog checks, these businesses provide diesel emission testing, emissions testing and even smog certificates. A complete car inspection takes less than 30 minutes, but this depends on the number of people in queue. The actual test can be completed in 20 minutes or less and add another 5 minutes for 4-wheelers. It is best to call ahead and book an appointment to avoid any inconveniences.
A common misconception about a smog check is that it can be performed at home, but this is far from true and definitely not recommended. Evaluating a vehicles emission requires professional and fairly large equipment that is extremely expensive. In addition, there would be issues of credibility as there is no certificate for a home smog test. This would not only be impractical, but would raise eyebrows if the results of the smog tests were produced from home.
As a car owner, there are a few warning signs to watch for to determine the right time for a checkup. If your “check engine light” is turned on, it’s a veritable sign that your vehicle is due for a smog check. A faulty oxygen sensor is the most common reason for the activation of the ‘check engine light’, and replacing it may cost anywhere from $150 to $1000 depending on the vehicle and its condition.