Inspect, Check and Repair Your Smog

In California, it is mandatory for all vehicles to go through a biennial smog inspection before renewing your registration. Spiteri’s Auto Service will walk you through the expectations for smog checks ranging from eligible vehicles to the inspection process and everything in-between!


Ineligible Vehicles

All vehicles are expected to get a smog check with the exception of:

  • Gas-powered vehicles with a model of 1975 or older
  • Natural gas-powered vehicles weighing over 14,000lbs
  • Diesel-powered vehicles with a model of 1975 or older or weighs over 14,000lbs
  • Electric vehicles
  • Motorcycles

Smog Abatement Fee

Vehicles six years old or less will not have to get their smog inspected every two years. Instead, they’ll pay $20 for their first six years of registration. After the six years, these vehicles will require inspection every two years.

The abatement fee does not include:

  • Non-resident vehicles
  • Diesel-powered vehicles with a model of 1998 and newer and weighs less than 14,000lbs
  • Specially constructed vehicles with a model of 1976 or newer


Once you determine whether your car needs an inspection or not, it’s time to find a STAR smog check station. Be aware that there will be some STAR stations that may only perform a test or a repair. Make sure to pick a station that fits the needs of your vehicle (Spiteri’s Auto Service is a proud STAR station that provides tests AND repairs!) and that during your visit you have your:

  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance
  • Title
  • Registration

If you pass the emissions test your mechanic will provide you with a signed emissions report that you can present to the DMV. If you do not pass the test, you may have a malfunctioning part. Here a few faulty pieces that may have caused you to fail:

  • Oxygen sensor
  • Gas cap
  • Check engine light
  • Catalyic converter (a common one for Belmont residents!)
  • PCV valve hose
  • Fuel injection lines
  • Ignition/spark plugs

If you are at a STAR station that does tests and repairs (like us!) then, pending availability, they may be able to fix the part, re-administer the test, and provide you with a signed emissions report that same day!

Vist the DMV

Once you have passed the emissions test and your mechanic has provided you with a signed emissions report, visit the DMV and follow any additional instructions they may have for you. Many STAR stations can also send the emissions report electronically which is helpful for those that want to do it through email or over the phone.

Though it can be tedious, smog checks are an important part of keeping our environment safe and limiting the carbon footprint we leave on the world.

Written by Spiteri's Auto Service

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