1717 S Brand Blvd #D
  Glendale, CA 91204                         (818) 500-1770
GLENDALE Smog Check Center  STAR Testing Certified
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Tips and FAQ

Tips to maintain your car and help PASS the smog check
  • Proper Operation
Do not get an emissions test if you suspect your vehicle is not driving, running or functioning properly. This puts the technician at risk for injury and your car at risk for damage. 
  • Check Engine Light OFF
Check engine light should not be on. An illuminated check engine light will automatically fail the functional part of the smog check.  Take your vehicle to a repair facility to retrieve trouble codes and preform necessary repairs.
  • Jump Start, Replace Battery or Check Engine Repairs
Anytime the vehicles on-board computer gets reset via lack of power (bad or low battery) or manual reset of the check engine light after repairs, the computer is running in a "limp" mode. During this state of operation, the computer is trying to reboot and start to monitor sensors. During a smog check inspection, the technician will check to make sure the computer has rebooted and is in normal monitoring operation. Normally a few days of  driving (highway and street) will reboot the computer.  You can have a repair facility check to see if the computer has fully rebooted.
  • Inflate Tires
During a smog inspection, the smog technician may need to drive your vehicle on a dynamometer. Insuring your vehicle's tire pressures are even and correct will allow the vehicle to be driven with greater stability and control during the emissions test.  Accurate tire pressure (as required by the tire and vehicle manufacturer) may be the deciding factor between a borderline vehicle pass or fail.
  • Change Engine Oil
Make sure you have the proper engine oil level filled. If you have not changed your oil within the past 5,000 miles, your vehicle may have increased levels of Hydrocarbons (HC) emitted from the tailpipe.  The vehicle's PCV system recycles crankcase (oil storage) fumes to be burned back in the engine via the intake system. Old oil vapors can creep into the intake via the PCV system and likely cause high HC to be emitted from the tailpipe.
  • Drive The Car
THE CAR MUST BE AT NORMAL OPERATING TEMPERATURE. Drive the car 15-20 minutes normally prior to testing the vehicle.  COLD AND OVERHEATING engines GREATLY increase tailpipe emissions.
  • Use Additives
The use of fuel additives can be very helpful in lowering emission levels. The purpose is to clean carbon deposits within your engine allowing for both fuel and air to flow freely. This lowers emission levels and helps you pass the emission test.
  • Avoid extreme weather
Avoid rainy days or extremely hot days.  If you anticipate a hot day, smog the car early in the morning. If you anticipate a cold day, try taking it to the smog station in the afternoon. Avoid rainy days as much as possible, loss of traction during the dynamometer part of the test could result in higher than normal readings.


More FAQ can be found at the BAR's FAQ website here

Do I need a Smog Check?

Not all vehicles must get a smog check. Additionally, some vehicles only need a passing smog check when they are being sold or being registered in California after previously being registered in another state. Whether or not a vehicle needs a smog check depends on the type of vehicle, the model-year, and the area in which the vehicle is registered.

Under California vehicle emissions control laws and regulations, you must get a smog check for your car in the following cases.

  • Most vehicles registered in California are required to pass a smog check every two years. Your annual Registration Renewal Notice lets you know when you need to get a smog check.

Some vehicles are not required to obtain a smog check inspection for registration purposes.
Vehicles that are six or less model-years old are exempt from the biennial smog check inspection requirement. Vehicles that are four or less model-years old are exempt from the smog check inspection requirement upon change of ownership and transfer of title transactions with the DMV. vehicles being initially registered in California that were previously registered in another state are exempt from the biennial smog check inspection requirements if the vehicle is a 1975 or older model. All 1976 to current year vehicles are required to obtain a smog check certificate of compliance prior to initial registration in California.
  • When you sell a vehicle in California, the seller is responsible for getting a smog certificate prior to completing the sale.
  • When you bring a vehicle into California to be registered, you are required to get a smog certificate prior to registration.

What do I do if my vehicle fails a Smog Check?

If your vehicle fails a biennial smog check, you have several options to meet your smog check obligations.

  1. Have your vehicle diagnosed and repaired at a licensed Test and Repair station.

  2. Apply for financial assistance for emissions-related repairs from the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP).

  3. Seek a Repair Cost Waiver through the Referee System.

If you choose to have your vehicle diagnosed and repaired, keep in mind that all emission related repairs to correct a smog failure must be performed by a licensed smog technician at a licensed station.

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) consists of a Vehicle Retirement Program and a Repair Assistance Program. In order to participate in CAP, you must submit a CAP application and receive approval before attempting to repair or retire the vehicle. Please contact CAP for further information regarding the Vehicle Retirement and Repair Assistance Programs.

The Repair Cost Waiver process is available if you have had some repairs performed to reduce emissions and cannot afford further repairs to pass the smog test. The Repair Cost Waiver will allow you to register your vehicle for one biennial cycle, even if the vehicle still fails a smog test. To be eligible for a Repair Cost Waiver, the vehicle must not be tampered with, and have at least $450 of emission related repairs performed by a licensed technician at a licensed station. The Repair Cost Waiver is issued by the Referee.

Am I eligible for financial assistance?

What is the Consumer Assistance Program?

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) provides financial assistance for qualified consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial (every-other-year) smog check. The statutory authority for CAP is found in section 44062 of the Health and Safety Code and is implemented through regulations adopted by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Participation in CAP programs is limited to available funds.

How do I qualify for CAP?

CAP offers two options for consumers whose vehicles fail their biennial Smog Check:

  • Repair Assistance: Qualified consumers can receive financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs to help their vehicles pass their smog check inspection. Approved applicants must take their vehicles to a Gold Shield repair station for repairs. Gold Shield stations are licensed smog check facilities that are independently owned and under contract with the State of California. There are two ways to qualify for repair assistance.
    • Income Eligible - Qualified consumers whose household incomes meet the income guidelines can receive financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs. A co-payment is required and will be applied toward diagnosis and emission-related repairs. The CAP application includes an income eligibility table to help consumers determine if they meet the income requirements.
    • Directed Vehicle Eligible - Certain vehicles are directed to Test Only or Gold Shield stations for their initial smog tests. If your Department of Motor Vehicles registration notice requires a test at a Test Only or Gold Shield station, and your vehicle fails, you may qualify for financial assistance toward emissions-related repairs at a Gold Shield repair station. A co-payment is required and will be applied toward diagnosis and emission-related repairs.
  • Vehicle Retirement: Eligible consumers can receive payment to retire their high-polluting vehicle. There are no income or Directed Vehicle eligibility requirements. Approved applicants must take their vehicle to an authorized dismantler. The vehicle must pass a visual and operational inspection before it is retired.

How do I apply? You must first submit an application. Do not have any repairs done to your vehicle until you are notified that your application has been approved. If you applied for repair assistance, you will receive an approval letter and a list of participating Gold Shield stations. If you applied for vehicle retirement, you will receive an approval letter and a list of contracted dismantlers.

Where can I get an application?

You can obtain the CAP application (click to download the application) online or by calling the Department of Consumer Affairs Consumer Information Center at 800-952-5210.

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