FAQ

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1. How much does a smog inspection cost?

Please call us at (510) 655-1888 for a quote.

2. Do I need an appointment?

We welcome appointments if you are under a time constraint and we also accept walk-ins. Appointments may be scheduled online, over the phone and/or in-person.

3. What do I do when my car fails the smog inspection?

At the end of the smog inspection, you will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). Based on the report you and/or your respective mechanic will make the necessary repairs. San Pablo Smog offers one free retest within 30 days, so bring your vehicle back and we will test it again.

4. Why am I being sent to a Test-Only or Gold Shield station. My car has never failed Smog check.

Your car was most likely selected by the High Emitter Profile. This means that even though it may never have failed before, it has been identified through a computer-based selection process as a vehicle which is more likely than others to be emitting unhealthy levels of harmful pollutants. Another possibility is that it was selected via a 2% random selection for program evaluation purposes. In either case, your vehicle has been designed as a Directed Vehicle.

5. I lost and/or misplaced my DMV registration renewal paper. Can you still do a smog inspection for me?

Yes. All the information we need to perform a smog inspection will be on your vehicle, such as the Vehicle Inspection Number (VIN) and license plate number.

6. I have a huge motor home that needs a smog inspection. Can your station accommodate large vehicles?

Yes, we are able to accommodate most motor homes and other large vehicles. Due to the extra time needed for motor homes, an appointment is highly recommended.

7. Why do I need a smog check on my vehicle?

The State of California requires vehicle owners to get a smog certification to ensure that vehicles are emitting emissions below the allowable limits.

8. I’m kind of confused between the different types of smog stations. What is the difference between a Test-Only Station versus a Test-and-Repair Station versus a Gold Shield Station?

Test–and–Repair stations are licensed by the state to provide Smog Check tests and repairs to most vehicles. Under current law, Test–and–Repair stations are prohibited from certifying repaired Gross Polluters or vehicles that have been directed to Test–Only stations for inspection. Only Test–Only stations and Gold Shield stations are able to certify repaired Gross Polluters.Test–Only stations are licensed by the state to perform only tests on vehicles. They are prohibited from performing any repair services. Gross Polluters can be certified at these stations. In addition, potentially high–polluting vehicles in the state’s smoggiest regions are directed to these stations for their initial Smog Check inspection, as specified on the Department of Motor Vehicles registration renewal form.Gold Shield stations are licensed Test–and–Repair stations that have received additional certification by BAR. In addition to the services provided by regular Test–and–Repair stations, Gold Shield stations can certify vehicles identified as Gross Polluters. Gold Shield stations can perfom the initial testing and certification of vehicles directed to Test–Only. They can also perform the “after–repairs” certification of vehicles directed to Test–Only stations for an initial inspection, as long as the Gold Shield station has performed repairs to the directed vehicle. Gold Shield stations also contract with the Bureau of Automotive Repair to perform state subsidized

9. What is the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) all about and how can I get an application?

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Automotive Repair provides financial assistance to qualified consumers whose vehicle fails a biennial (every other year) Smog Check inspection. Qualified consumers may receive financial assistance to make Smog Check related repairs, or retire their high polluting vehicles. (taken from CAP Application). You may obtain an application from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Automotive Repair or at any one of our three Smog Express locations. For more information visit: Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Automotive Repair

10. Do you smog European cars? I have a Mercedes Benz.

Yes we do. We smog all cars including, Mercedes-Benzes, Porsches, BMWs, Jaguars, and other European cars.