Many states require smog checks for vehicles, such as Arizona, California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, and Washington, among others. While getting smog tests might be a hassle, they are for everyone’s benefit to keep emissions at a reasonable level. This is especially crucial in places such as Los Angeles, where air pollution is a continuous problem.
You need to have your inspection completed and any repairs fixed within the stated timeframe to keep your registration active and complete. Driving without a completed registration can be considered a serious crime. So, remember a smog check will only take you a little time and get it done to keep your car street legal.
If you received your vehicle renewal statement and it states that you need a smog certification to be done at a STAR station, this simply means your DMV selected your car to get the smog certification at a STAR certified facility. STAR facilities are monitored by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs, or BAR, and hold high standards and regulations. These inspections are generally thorough and diligent.
There are two different types of STAR stations: a STAR test only center and a STAR test and repair station. The names are pretty self-explanatory. A STAR test only center is only certified by California to complete smog inspections. Test and repair centers are authorized to do STAR smog inspections, and if repairs are found to be necessary, these centers can also complete repairs and certify your vehicle.
Your vehicle could be chosen for a STAR inspection because of a few different reasons. Generally, the state of California will require a STAR smog check for automobiles known to have previously failed a smog inspection or that have higher emissions and vehicles with high emission profile ratings designated by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs. For instance, older Ram trucks will be more likely flagged than a brand new hybrid vehicle.
There is also selection done of automobiles registered in the state of California that will be required to get a STAR smog test. So, even if you do not have a higher commission car, you may get a randomized designation for a star inspection.
Having a STAR inspection done on your vehicle is relatively straightforward. You can find a STAR smog station online with a station locator. In California, there is an $8.25 state service certificate charge and then the cost for the inspection. STAR inspections will vary in price a little depending on the location or your automobile. These are typically between $29.95 and $59.95 plus the state fee. In some counties, the cost can be as high as $89.95—you can check around with various locations or call a station to check ahead of time.
Your vehicle can factor into the cost of a smog check. Used or new car prices for a smog check may differentiate a bit from RVs or truck prices for an inspection. Regardless of the cost, it’s not worth the risk of skipping an inspection. Budget the cost of these checks into your annual plan for vehicle maintenance and registration.
If you don’t get a required smog check, your registration is considered incomplete, which is regarded as a falsification of vehicle registration. In places like California, driving with your registration as such can be deemed a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Even for a pricier check station charge, the cost still outweighs getting pulled over and charged with either one. Make sure you have proper insurance coverage and a valid registration to avoid unnecessary penalties.