About Vista Test Only Center

1. What is the Smog Check Program?
The Smog Check Program is a vehicle emissions inspection program that is an important part of the State's efforts to improve the quality of air we breathe. Smog Check inspections are designed to identify and either repair or retire high-polluting vehicles. Approximately 10 million vehicles are inspected each year under the program. The Smog Check Program has greatly reduced air pollution created by millions of cars in California. According to the California Air Resources Board (ARB), the program removes about 400 tons of smog-forming pollutants from California's air every day.

2. What vehicles require a Smog Check?
Gas-powered vehicles, model-years 1976 and newer, including hybrid-powered 2000 and newer model-years, are subject to the Smog Check Program with the following exceptions: (1) the first six model-years are exempt from the biennial Smog Check requirement, and (2) the first four model-years are exempt from the change-of-ownership inspection requirement. Diesel-powered vehicles model-years 1998 and newer, with a gross vehicle weight rating up to 14,000 pounds, are subject to the Smog Check Program. There are no new vehicle exemptions for diesel vehicles as there are with gas vehicles. Other exempt vehicles include two- cylinder vehicles, electric powered vehicles, two-cycle-powered vehicles (not including rotary engines) and motorcycles.

3. What is a STAR station?
STAR stations are Smog Check stations that meet higher performance standards established by BAR. Some STAR stations are licensed to perform only tests, while others are licensed to perform both tests and repairs.

4. How will I know if I need to take my car to a STAR station?
Your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration renewal indicates whether your vehicle must be inspected at a STAR station.

5. Why am I being sent to a STAR station?
State law requires that a percentage of vehicles have their Smog Check inspections performed at a STAR station. One reason may be that your vehicle was identified as being more likely than others to emit unhealthy levels of harmful pollutants. This may be true even though your vehicle may never have failed a Smog Check. Another possibility is that your vehicle was chosen as part of a random selection for Smog Check Program evaluation purposes.

6. How often does my vehicle have to be tested?
Smog Check inspections are required biennially (every other year) on vehicles more than six model-years old. Additionally, a Smog Check is required if you sell a vehicle that is more than four model-years old and when registering an out-of-state vehicle for the first time in California.

7. Do I need a Smog Check if I'm selling my vehicle and recently had it tested to renew its registration in California?
California Vehicle Code section 4000.1(d)(1) specifies that a Smog Check certificate is not needed upon changing ownership if the application for transfer is submitted to DMV within 90 days of the vehicle receiving a Smog Check certificate. Therefore, if your vehicle received certification of a passing Smog Check within 90 days of the sale, another Smog Check certificate is not required to transfer ownership.

8. Who is responsible for getting a Smog Check performed when a vehicle is being sold?
California Vehicle Code section 24007(b)(2) states that it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle to the buyer.


Tel: (415) 454-SMOG (7664)

18 Woodland Avenue
San Rafael, California, 94901

Business Hours
Mon    9:00am - 5:00pm
Tue
    9:00am - 5:00pm
Wed    9:00am - 5:00pm
Thr      9:00am - 5:00pm
Fri       9:00am - 5:00pm
Sat      9:00am - 2:00pm
Sun         CLOSED

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