If you register a vehicle in California you should get your vehicle tested. How often you have to get it tested depends mainly on where you live and what type of car you drive. You can find detailed information about how often a smog check is need at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website, or the smog check program website run by the BAR.

The bottom line is that if you reside in a city and have a car that is more than a couple of years old more than likely you will need to have your automobile smog tested every 2 years. So, where can you discover a “great” smog test? That depends, because one persons’ “excellent” can be another person’s not so “excellent”. Nevertheless research studies have actually been conducted on this question and most people value “convenience”, “speed”, and finally “price”.

How Can I Find a Smog Check Station?

There are a couple of ways to find a smog check station. First you need to identify if you have been directed to a STAR smog check location. Each year a random selection of vehicles are required to go to a STAR station. You may also be directed to a STAR smog station based on your type of vehicle or your vehicle’s test history.

The BAR has a website that you can find a smog check location by searching a number of different ways, like the station name or a city. A list of smog check locations is displayed based on your search criteria. This list works, but it does not provide a good display for mobile phones or tablets, and it does not provide a map of the stations in the list.

What is the STAR Program?

The STAR program is a new licensing program administered by the BAR. Its’ purpose is to improve the general quality of emissions testing in California. The BAR gathers statistics about vehicles, smog check stations and technicians. In short it uses these statistics to grade the quality of a technician or a smog check location by comparing technician’s and smog check locations test results for similar vehicles against each other. If a vehicles’ smog test result fall outside the average test results of similar vehicles then the smog check locations’ STAR rating can over time be affected. If issues continue, the location can lose its’ STAR certification. The BAR also evaluates technicians by looking for behavior during testing that matches patterns used to improve the chances of a vehicle passing a test. If a technician is found to be improperly testing vehicles the technician’s STAR rating can be affected. Only those stations that test vehicles as expected can maintain their STAR certification. Only STAR locations get vehicles directed to them by the DMV. So maintaining a good STAR rating by testing vehicles correctly is very important for smog test locations.

Just like water is wet and the sky is blue, car windshields need replacement every now and then. This is just a consequence of driving. While auto glass, especially rear and front windshields, are built to be strong, they can and do break. They can totally shatter, or they could merely suffer minor damage like a crack or chip.

Of course, minor damage can quickly turn into a major issue that requires a total windshield replacement. At any rate, this is something that is going to cost you money. Windshield replacement costs can vary depending on a few factors. Let’s discuss the issue.

The Average Cost of Windshield Replacement

There are quite a few factors that will determine just how expensive it is to replace a windshield. When it comes down to it, it can cost as little as $200 or as much as $800, $900, or more. It depends on a few different things.

First off, it depends on the brand of car you have. Generally speaking, more expensive vehicles will cost you more to replace the windshield. This can be because the materials used are better (or simply more expensive) or it could just be because of the brand name. For instance, if you have a Porsche, the company will recommend going to a Porsche-authorized repair shop.

These guys are obviously going to charge you more than a local windshield replacement shop because you have a highly designed and specialized car. A replacement for a Porsche windshield is not as commonly found as a replacement for your Ford 150. The type of materials and the size of the windshield are going to make a difference as well. On a side note, repairing a windshield is going to be much less expensive that replacing one.

Windshield Replacement Cost – The Front

Generally speaking, the front windshield is going to cost more to repair than the rear one due to a number of factors. First off, the front windshield is usually made to be a little more durable to withstand collisions.

Newer vehicles feature rear windshields that are just as good and structurally sound as the front, but generally speaking, the front is a little sturdier. The front windshield tends to be larger than the rear one too, thus also adding to the increased cost.

It should cost you around $200-$300 to replace a front windshield. However, as mentioned, this depends on the few things. If you go to a cheap local shop, have an older vehicle, and don’t require very high-end materials, you could pay as little as $300.

Now, let’s do the opposite. If you go to a specialized dealer’s shop, have a new and expensive car, and need a really high-quality windshield, you can pay double or triple the $300 or more.

Windshield Replacement Cost – The Rear

Of course, the rear windshield is also fairly important. It also stops rain and wind from getting in, plus it does add some structural integrity to the roof. Most people don’t take the rear windshield as seriously as the front, but major damage requires repair or replacement nonetheless.

When it comes to the rear windshield, the cost is usually quite similar to that of the front. It might be a few bucks cheaper, but that is about it. Usually the biggest difference is the fact that replacing the front windshield also requires windshield wiper replacement (usually).

At any rate, the cost might be a little less for the rear, but the difference will not be huge. Add to the cost if your rear window has heating or defrosting elements embedded.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that you can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on your car. Yes, $1,000 is a lot, but that price is not one you will often see unless you have a high-end car, go to a high-end shop, and require very expensive materials.