Do you know how to tell if a local shop is qualified to give a smog check? One way is by looking for the STAR certification. Achieving this designation means that the shop has been tested and verified for quality and safety, so you can be confident in giving smog checks.

What about shops that aren’t certified? There are also other things you can do: ask friends or neighbors where they go; find reviews online and look up customer complaints with the Better Business Bureau. You might want to call around, too–find out which shops offer free estimates before deciding on one. This will make sure that there are no hidden costs like an inspection fee when it comes time for service! 

Doing these few checks beforehand will help you recognize smog check shops that are qualified to do the job.

It’s good practice for car owners in California to get smog inspections at least once a year, but if your vehicle is older or has problems like an aftermarket engine installed it might need to be tested more often.

So What Does A Qualified Smog Check Station Look Like?

They Are BAR-Authorized

The best way to keep your car running smoothly is with a smog check, and you don’t have to wait long. The Bureau of Automotive Repairs has permits for many types of stations that provide this service at different locations across the state!

What Are The Different Types of Test Stations Across California?

Test and Repair Station

A smog check repair-only station in any program area must have the necessary equipment and materials, as well as engine diagnostic tools to diagnose and fix various components of cars. The parts may be used individually or together for repairing different things on your car like its fuel system or computer control unit.

Test-only Stations

Only Smog Checks are allowed with this license. These locations are not permitted to diagnose the cause of a failed Smog Check or conduct emission-related vehicle repairs.

A smog check test-only station located outside of an expanded program region must have the necessary testing equipment, as well as emission application and reference documents, to test and/or inspect all impacted cars, including:

  • According to the bureau’s BAR-97, an emissions inspection system is required.
  • An ignition timing light is used to determine how far the ignition advance has progressed.
  • A vacuum gauge with a hand vacuum pump
  • Inspection of vehicle ignition, fuel supply, and emission control systems requires basic hand tools.
  • A device that can retrieve problem codes from onboard computers in cars, as well as for instructions on how to extract codes and meanings of codes detected.

STAR Stations

Stations must seek certification and satisfy specified inspection-based performance requirements to become STAR-certified.

The stations that are referred to as “BAR-approved test-and-repair or test-only facilities that meet the BAR standards”

Stations are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Have been in operation for at least a quarter
  • Have no pending enforcement actions against the station owners, partners, corporate officials, members, managers, or any employee inspectors
  • Have passed the STAR performance criteria.

Now that you know what a qualified smog check station is, we hope this article has been informative to get you started in having your own smog check station certified.

Are You Looking for a Smog Check Service You Can Trust?

If you’re a registered driver in the San Francisco Bay Area, California Emissions Program or SMOG Check is very strict compared to other states. Customers often ask us how they can get their car ready for a smog inspection. On our site, we cover some areas that we think will be useful and if necessary, we can help with getting the required parts installed at our shop before taking it in! Contact us now to book your no-contact, friendly appointment! We truly value your trust and your business, so thank you for staying local with your auto repair needs.

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