Smog Inspection Service

Carlsbad Auto Service is a full-service repair shop that includes smog check, smog failure repairs, and drive-ability problems. We are a Star Certified Test and Repair station.
State law requires that a percentage of vehicles have their Smog Check Inspections performed at a STAR station. If your DMV renewal notice states your vehicle requires a Smog Check at a STAR station, you must take your vehicle to a STAR station for an inspection.

STAR stations must meet specified performance standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Some STAR stations are licensed to perform only tests, while others are licensed to perform both tests and repairs. The station is required to post a sign on the services it performs.

Carlsbad Auto Service provides a Smog Check Service that is an important part of California’s efforts to improve the air we breathe. Our Smog Check inspections are designed to identify vehicles with excess emissions so they can be properly repaired. Our services have greatly reduced air pollution created by millions of cars in California.

Measure / Inspect

Our licensed technicians will attach measuring equipment to your vehicle and perform the following inspections:

Emissions Inspection for 1976 -1999 vehicles – Exhaust emissions are measured which include carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocarbons (HC) and oxygen (O2), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). A visual equipment check and a fuel evaporation system test is also performed.

Emissions inspections for 2000-2006 vehicles do not require an exhaust emissions measurement only a visual equipment inspection and a computer scan.

Visual Inspection and Functional Inspection – Ensure your emissions equipment is in place, functioning, and doing its job of decreasing pollutants from your car’s exhaust.

Our highly trained licensed Smog Check Inspectors can check your vehicles performance in meeting the new standards of STAR Program.

What vehicles require a Smog Check?

Gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are model year 1976 and newer require a Smog Check, with the following exceptions:

  • Six model-years and newer do not need a biennial (every other year) inspection.
  • Four model-years and newer do not need a change-of-ownership inspection.

To determine the first year a vehicle is subject to a biennial or change-of-ownership Smog Check, add six or four, respectively, to the model year of a vehicle. For example, a 2010 model-year vehicle will first be subject to a biennial Smog Check in 2016 (2010 + 6 = 2016) and a change-of-ownership Smog Check in 2014 (2010 + 4 = 2014).
Diesel-powered vehicles 1998 and newer with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds and less require a Smog Check.
Motorcycles and electric-powered vehicles are currently exempt from the Smog Check Program.
Carlsbad Auto Service strives to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art services. We understand our customers’ needs and expectations and try to exceed them. We have the latest testing equipment and our technicians are required to stay up to date on the latest industry technology and repair standards by enrolling in updated training courses.


The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) was established within the California Department of Consumer Affairs in 1972 with the enactment of the Automotive Repair Act. The act mandated a statewide automotive repair consumer protection program, including the requirement that automotive repair dealers (ARDs) be registered and regulated by BAR. The act also gave BAR the authority to license and regulate official stations and mechanics in the areas of lamp, brake, and smog device inspection and repair. The act protects consumers by requiring all ARDs, including lamp, brake, and smog stations, to provide written estimates, to obtain written work authorization from their customers prior to commencing any repair services, and to provide customers with itemized invoices that detail the parts provided and the labor performed. The act requires BAR to mediate complaints, investigate violations, and act against ARDs or brake and lamp stations and technicians that fail to comply with the act or associated regulations. BAR pursues these same consumer protections against licensed or unlicensed individuals.

In 1984, BAR also implemented a biennial Smog Check Program, also known as the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program, pursuant to authority granted by Senate Bill 33 of 1982 (SB 33). SB 33 authorized BAR to implement, maintain, and enforce the Smog Check Program, which licenses Smog Check stations and technicians to reduce air pollution from vehicles through mandatory testing of vehicle emission control components. Smog Check stations must also be registered as ARDs to ensure that consumers receive protection associated with vehicle repairs. In addition, BAR ensures that the equipment used to perform Smog Check inspections and the inspections performed at Smog Check stations by Smog Check Inspectors or Technicians will achieve reductions in vehicle emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen. Recently, BAR’s authority to protect consumers subject to the Smog Check Program was enhanced by Assembly Bill 2289 of 2010 (AB 2289). AB 2289 authorizes BAR to certify high performing Smog Check stations and technicians as STAR certified, which allows them to inspect and repair vehicles that are likely to be high polluters. Shortly after implementation, BAR was recognized for outstanding environmental achievements in government for the STAR Program and was named one of the 2013 Best of California Award winners and received The Green IT Award. AB 2289 further increased the citation amounts for program violations by stations and technicians.

In addition to consumer protection functions, including licensing and enforcement, BAR administers the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP). CAP provides income eligible consumers whose vehicle fails a biennial Smog Check up to $500 in emissions-related repairs. CAP will also compensate consumers up to $1,500 for the voluntary retirement of an eligible vehicle that has failed its Smog Check. In 2010, CAP began administration of the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP), which was created by Assembly Bill 118 of 2007 (AB 118). EFMP offers eligible consumers up to $1,500 in compensation to voluntarily retire an eligible vehicle regardless of Smog Check history. In the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air districts, EFMP also offers consumers who volunteer to retire their vehicle a voucher worth up to $2,500 toward the purchase of a newer, cleaner vehicle in a program administered by the Air Resources Board.

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