The new STAR Smog Check program

Tired of being confused about the California Smog Program? We understand how you feel.  California has gone crazy with complicating everything for consumers, and to be honest, it’s going to get even more confusing in January of 2013 when the new STAR Smog Check Program comes in. The BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) wants there to be 4 types of stations now. Test- Only, Test & Repair, and STAR certified stations for each type.

The major difference between the shops are:

Test-Only Stations can test: Only model year 2000 or newer*

Test & Repair Stations can test: Only model year 2000 or newer*

STAR Test-Only can test: All vehicles

STAR Test & Repair can test: All vehicles

* According to the BAR, model year 2000 and newer vehicles will not be tested on the dyno.


Speaking from a business owners stand point, the smog industry is going to get very tough. It’s already a cut throat industry with people slashing prices down to the price of sunflower seeds. Now with the new STAR program, the 2000 and newer vehicles will most likely cost much less because it’ll be a much faster test, and no wear and tear on the dyno. We think many smog shops will close down because of this, especially the test-only stations.

The BAR has decided not to implement a new machine and to have the new platform online. Shops will have to buy a laptop and a special OBD II cable compatible to read CAN system equipped vehicles. This is good and bad news. The good news is that shops won’t have to spend too much money to stay in the program, but the bad news is with such a low cost many shops might just buy a laptop and start doing smogs for 2000 and newer vehicles. This also leads me to believe that it will be extremely hard for Smog Check Test-Only Stations to stay in business.

Some of the information above is from the BAR website and some are from the workshops held by the BAR. Keep in mind that all decisions made in the smog program aren’t a sure thing until they have been implemented. I believe these changes will be implemented in 2013 but there’s always a possibility that some last minute adjustments might be made. Either way, I wish for those who have done their best to run a legitimate shop the best of luck and hope you succeed in the next phase of this crazy smog program.

Smog Check Coupon in Glendora

Smog Check Coupon in Upland