Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to have my vehicle smog tested?

It depends on the situation. A smog test is required for vehicles more than six model years old but made after 1974. This classification doesn't include motorcycles, vehicles with two-cylinder engines, and some hybrids. If you're buying or selling a car, however, you'll need a smog check if it's more than four model years old. In addition, out-of-state vehicles being registered in California will need to be tested, regardless of model year.

Do diesel vehicles need to be smog tested?

Any diesel engine made after 1998 and weighing under 14,500 GVW requires a smog check.

Why would I need a retest?

A California smog inspection covers more than you might think. Your onboard computer system, wiring and hoses are all included in inspection requirements. Should any of these components fail, you would need to fix them and be retested.

How often does my vehicle need a smog test?

Unless you're buying or selling the car, you will need a smog test every other year.

What happens if the vehicle fails the test?

To complete vehicle registration, a passed smog test is needed. Therefore, any suggested repairs would have to be made and the vehicle completely retested (state law prohibits partial smog tests).

What are environmental benefits of smog tests?

After adding the Smog Check Program, California reduced its air pollution; the California Air Resources Board has stated the program cleans about 400 tons of pollutants from surrounding air each day.

What is a test-only station?

If a shop is test-only, it can test vehicles but not repair them. Fortunately, Dhillon Motorsports, formerly known as Smog Man San Jose can both test and repair your vehicle, eliminating the hassle of different technicians evaluating your vehicle.

Would there be a case in which I would have to go to a test-only station?

Yes, your registration renewal notice (sent by the California DMV) would specify if a test-only station is required.

Are there ways I can help my vehicle pass a smog test?

The best way to ensure your vehicle passes is to stay ahead of regularly-scheduled maintenance set out by the manufacturer in your owner's manual.

What is CAP?

CAP stands for Consumer Assistance Program, and you could qualify for financial assistance (up to $500) if your vehicle failed the smog check at a test-only station.

What is a gross polluter?

A gross polluter is one that gives off indecently high levels of pollution, and the state designates them accordingly. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) requires these vehicles to be immediately repaired.