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Ah . . . nice, clean air. That’s what it’s all about.

To help minimize air pollution, California has set emissions limits which your vehicle cannot exceed. If you own a vehicle that is six years old, or older, a smog check (also called a smog test or emissions test) will be required once every two years, and also upon title transfer to another owner, or during initial California registration (if the car comes from another state).

An emissions test is done on the exhaust system of your car to determine how many pollutants, and of which type, the vehicle is emitting. Then, other parts of the vehicle that may also contribute to undesirable emissions are inspected. For example, hoses and pipes, the on-board computer, and the muffler system.

There are three phases to the inspection: emissions, visual, and functional. Your auto must pass all three inspections in that order to be approved.
If emissions exceed the legal limits, or your car otherwise fails the smog test, it must be repaired and tested again. Often, repairs are simple and inexpensive. But in some cases, the repair may involve substantial expense. If you meet requirements, the state of California may provide financial assistance in those cases.

Drivers should get a smog check for their vehicles regularly, not only meet legal requirements, but to help in the national effort to reduce air pollution, and to help ensure the vehicle is safe to drive.

Smog Check Tips

  • If your “check engine” light is ON, state law requires that your car automatically fail the test and be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), so please be aware of this when you come in.
  • Do not attempt to circumvent the check engine light system in an effort to pass the test. That approach rarely works; time is better spent getting the problem fixed.
  • If your automobile is not running smoothly, fix it first. Chances are it will fail the smog inspection if you’re having engine problems.
  • Drive for 15 to 20 minutes to make sure your car is thoroughly warmed-up and running at peak efficiency.
  • Change the oil and oil filter. Dirty not only reduces engine life, it increases the chances of smog check failure by introducing more pollutants into the engine’s internal venting systems.
  • Did you get a smog check notice? Are you concerned about passing the smog test? Call Doctor Of Motors right away – we’ll get your through it and back on the road fast: (530) 879-0700.
  • By the way if your vehicle is in really bad shape, and not worth repairing, California offers a $1,000 – $1,500 Buy Back Program. So if you want to get rid of you old smog-test-failing car, truck, SUV, van, and even an RV, sign up today.
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