What Is a STAR Smog Station?

What Is a STAR Smog Station?

What’s the difference between a regular smog station and a STAR smog station?

If you receive your DMV renewal notice and read "Smog Certification Required at a STAR Station", don’t panic. This means that the DMV has chosen your vehicle to be inspected at a STAR-certified smogstation. This type of smog stations are closely monitored by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs and must conform to its high standards.

There are STAR smog stations that are only authorized to perform smog inspections. They are commonly known as STAR Test-Only stations. Other STAR-certified smog stations can perform both smog inspections and smog check repairs. They are known as STAR Test & Repair stations. Both STAR stations are authorized to perform both regular and STAR smog checks.

  • STAR Test Only Centers – they are only allowed to perform smog inspections and are prohibited from performing smog check repairs.

  • STAR Test & Repair Stations – they are authorized to perform STAR smog inspections, as well as certify and repair all vehicles.

If the DMV is asking for "Smog Certificate Required at a STAR station" you can visit either of these smog test center types.

Duties and Responsibilities of a STAR-certified Smog Station

STAR Test Only Center – They are authorized by the State of California to perform both regular and test only smog inspections. They are prohibited from performing any smog repairs. The main obligation of a Test Only Center is to perform a non-bias and accurate smog inspection. They are certified to inspect all DMV required vehicles.

STAR Test & Repair Center – these centers are authorized by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs to perform both regular and test only smog checks, as well as smog check repairs. A STAR Test & Repair station is the only type of smog check station that is authorized to perform inspection, repair, and certification of any type of vehicle, regardless of the car make or model. These stations are part of the State’s Consumer Assistance Program and are inspected each month by the State of California.

How are vehicles selected for the STAR smog check?

The State of California uses 3 main strategies to determine whether a vehicle is STAR station-designated or not:

  1. A random sample of all vehicles registered in California and being driven on public roadways.

  2. High-Emitter Profile Vehicles – they are designated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair as having high chances of failing the smog inspection.

  3. Gross polluters – these are vehicles that have failed a previous smog inspection and have very high emission readings.

If your vehicle has been chosen to undergo a STAR smog check, don’t lose your grip. All you have to do is simply to locate the most convenient STAR-certified smog station and have them conduct the inspection. The smog technician will inform you of any serious issues during the test.


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