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My Registration Renewal Notice says “Smog Certification Required at a STAR Station”.  What does it mean?

STAR stations are smog check stations that meet higher performance standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).  In order to comply with state law, BAR directs a portion of the vehicles registered in Enhanced Smog Check Areas to STAR stations. Enhanced Areas are those parts of the state with "serious", "severe", or "extreme" ozone pollution problems.  Directed Vehicles must have their smog check done at one of these stations.

If my Registration Renewal Notice says "Smog Certification Required” (not Directed Vehicles), can I have smog check done at a STAR Test-Only Station?

Yes, you can. STAR Test-Only facilities are licensed smog check stations that are allowed to perform any type of smog check for hybrid, gas- or diesel-powered vehicles.

What is an "EVAP" Test?

The Low-Pressure Fuel Evaporative Test (LPFET) checks for leaks in the fuel tank or associated evaporative system hoses and devices.  As of December 2007, the state of California requires this test during a smog check for 1976 to 1995 model year vehicles, including all pre-OBDII vehicles.


Frequently Asked Questions 
1638 S. Main Street 
Milpitas, CA 95035 
(408) 262-9885

Is my vehicles subject to a smog check?
  1. Bienniel Smog Check for Registration Renewals
    1. Gas powered-vehicles from model year 1976 and newer are subject to the smog check program with the following exceptions:
      1. Gas-powered vehicles six model years and newer are exempt from the biennial smog check inspection requirement.
      2. Two-cylinder vehicles, electric-powered vehicles, two-cycle-powered vehicles (not including rotary engines), and motorcycles are exempt from the biennial smog check inspection requirement.
    2. Diesel-powered vehicles 1998 and newer, up to 14,000 pounds gross vehicles weight rating are subject to smog check program. However, the gas-powered exemptions (see above) do not apply to diesel-powered vehicles.
  2. Change of Ownership
    A valid smog certificate is required, if you are selling or buying a vehicle. Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.
  3. Initial Registration for Out-of-State Vehicles
    All 1976 to current year vehicles are required to obtain a smog check certificate of compliance prior to initial registration in California. Vehicles being initially registered in California that were previously registered in another state are exempt from the biennial smog check inspection requirements, if the vehicle is a 1975 or older model.
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