Any owner of a gasoline-powered vehicle needs to continually check on the status of their smog and emissions. Regular checks are often required by the state, and help to maintain the overall health of your vehicle. Keeping your car in healthy working condition also benefits the environment, as the air is used by people, animals, water, and plants. Not all smog check stations are equal, so you need to know what type of emissions test is being performed.
STAR stations have the highest standards of any emissions test. The results of emissions and smog inspections here are closely watched by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. While STAR stations are optional for some vehicles in California, vehicles that have previously failed emissions testing or have a reputation for being high-emitters of smog must have their smog checked by a STAR station.
Test-only stations are designed only to test smog and emissions for various vehicles. This type of station does not repair or diagnose any other issues with your vehicle. If you test your vehicles smog and emissions at a test-only station and fail, you will need to go to another repair shop or service station to have your situation remedied. The DMV generally required testing at a test-only facility if your vehicle has a high probability of failing the test, allowing the owner to choose their own shop or a repair-only station.
Test-and-Repair stations are designed as an all-in-one service station, allowing the staff to check your vehicle for smog and emissions and, subsequently, fixing any underlying issues. The convenience of having all of your vehicle’s maintenance at one location appeals to many customers. The DMV has no requirements for taking your vehicle to a test-and-repair station, leaving all changes to the vehicle’s engine up to the discernment of the vehicle’s owner.
Taking Your Vehicle to the Right Place
Usually, the type of station you need to take your vehicle to is dependent upon the local Department of Motor Vehicles in your city. The DMV determines which types of cars need to go to a STAR or test-only service station, based on the likelihood of failing the emissions test. Even if your city does not require regular smog inspections on your vehicle, a proactive approach to the health of your car is smart, if you want to have your vehicle for the next ten or twenty years. If you are unsure which type of emissions test you need, speak with your local DMV representative.