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.