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5 Car Parts to Check Before Your Smog Test

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Parts of Your Car That Needs To Be Checked Before Smog Test

California cares a lot about the quality of its air, and this is why the state has some of the strictest standards regarding vehicle emissions and smog tests. Under the law, nearly all new and old cars are required to clear the smog test to successfully register with the DMV, and failure to do so can result in heavy fines.

Contrary to what people tend to believe, smog tests have a lot of benefits and are one of the most important examinations that can be performed on cars. 

In addition to helping you comply with all the state’s laws and regulations, the test also helps protect the environment from many dangerous emissions that your exhaust system might be releasing. 

Unfortunately, our years of experience have shown us that up to 10% of all motor vehicles in the city fail their smog tests. 

While it is true that there are some cars which are quite old or simply have not been driven for quite some time. However, many smog tests fail because of the same common parts that develop faults. And while these issues can be resolved easily by simply maintaining or replacing these parts – many people remain unaware of this. 

Let’s take a look at the car parts that are often the culprits behind a failed smog test. 

  • Air Filters

The air filter of your car has a lot of important duties. It stops almost everything, from gravel to pollen, from entering in your car, its engine, and the interior of your car through the AC vents. As a result, they can often get extremely dirty and contaminated over the years.

If you don’t occasionally clean out your air filters, or if your filter is too old and is not working properly, there are a lot of chances that your exhaust emissions will contain more than normal levels of carbon monoxide, along with other forms of dirt, sand, and pollen which may not be getting filtered properly. 

All of this can cause you to fail your smog check. This is why it is always better to have your air filter cleaned or changed before going for a smog check.

  • Your Gas Cap

Similar to how an air filter stops dirt and pebbles from entering the engine, a gas cap protects your car by preventing dirt and debris from entering the gas tank. 

If you have had your car for quite some time now, there is a high chance that the seal in your gas cap has worn away, and this is causing your car to cause excessive emissions. 

But you do not need to worry, since you can simply purchase a new gas cap on your way down to GreenStar for your smog check and avoid failing without having to spend hundreds of dollars.

  • Spark Plugs

If it takes your car a long time to start, there is a high chance that you might fail your smog check. Because the longer it takes you to start your car, and the more you rev your engine trying to start it, the more emissions you release. 

As a result, it is always recommended that you replace your spark plugs as soon as they exceed the recommended amount of time. The worst-case scenario if you don’t; your car refuses to start and you get stranded somewhere you don’t wanna be.

  • Faulty Check Engine Light

This is one thing that nearly all top Smog Test technicians will look at. The check engine light is a very handy tool for finding out whether or not there is something wrong with your engine. 

However, at GreenStar we have often seen that while the engine of a car is in perfect shape, it is that tiny red light which is problematic. 

Luckily, if that is the case, you can get it fixed extremely easily, cheaply, and quickly as well. 

  • Defective EVAP System

The purpose of the EVAP control system is to make sure that the harmful gasses which are released by 

When your engine burns gasoline, the EVAP control system kicks in to prevent dangerous emissions from being directly released into the environment. 

The EVAP consists of many pipes and valves, and even if one of these gets damaged or broken, there are high chances that your car will be omitting harmful gasses and you will fail your smog test

This, by far, is the most expensive problem which can lead to a failed test, since identifying where the problem lies can be quite difficult and costly.

Fortunately, all of these problems can be easily identified and solved, either on your own or with the help of your mechanic. 

So if your car is due for a smog check, be sure to check all these parts before coming down to GreenStar, and receiving the best service any Smog Test station in San Jose has to offer!


How Getting a Smog Check Can benefit you and save you money!

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The Benefits of Getting Smog Check

California laws regarding motor vehicles are quite simple and easy to understand, and one that affects nearly everyone is the smog check. According to the law, if you have a car with a model older than 2012, you need to get a smog test administered every 2 years to successfully register it with the DMV.

While this may seem like an unnecessary hassle, smog checks actually have a lot of benefits. Not only do they help you keep your car in top shape, but also have a positive impact on saving the environment for you and your children. What’s more, did you know that getting a smog test done can also save you money?

Here’s how…

Smog Check Help You Create a Greener World

Today more than ever, people all over the world are striving to make the world greener and safer. We have all started to learn the hard way how alarming the harmful effects of pollution and global warming can be, and thankfully, today we have the time and means to prevent them.
Studies in the US have shown that smog levels and air quality can be controlled and improved to a great extent by driving upgraded and well-maintained cars. And as more and more electric cars take to the roads, we hope that our future can be bright and pollution-free.

Successful Smog Tests Can Save Your Time and Money.

No one has ever enjoyed being pulled over by a broken taillight or on a speeding charge. Nor do many people enjoy receiving tickets for traffic violations that have already multiplied in value while you had no idea they existed.
While these do require a lot of money and time to resolve, they are peanuts when compared to a failed smog test. This is because a failed smog test means that you will not be able to successfully register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
While technically, you can still drive around in a vehicle whose registration has expired and which hasn’t cleared the smog test, it is against the law to do so because such vehicles can cause a lot of damage to the environment and the quality of the air that we all breath.
Since this is a serious offense, it involves a strict penalty too. If you do get pulled over for driving an unregistered car with a failed smog test, you can expect a hefty fine, as well as getting your car impounded. Getting it out of the impound lot can be even more expensive, depending on the number of days you leave it there.
But all of this can be easily avoided. Simply go down to the top STAR certified smog test station in San Jose, and have the team at GreenStar run a quick, painless smog check on your beloved car

A Smog Check Does More Than Check For Smog

Despite what many people think, a smog test does not only test the emissions that come out of your car.
It is true that the emission is thoroughly inspected, but so is the check engine light, exhaust system, gas cap, ignition, engine temperature, and your tire pressure. This is the reason why many experts will advise you to go for a smog test with a warm, running engine with fresh oil, no pending repairs, and properly inflated tires.
So it is always beneficial to take a trip down to your mechanic before going for a smog test. If you don’t have time to do that, and unfortunately fail the smog test, you do not need to be worried.
The technician at GreenStar who did perform your test will always give you a detailed form which will tell you the reason your car failed the smog test. Then all you need to do is visit your mechanic, and get that problem fixed before it escalates into something worse.

The Best Smog Test Station in San Jose

When it comes to your car, it is important to settle for nothing but the best. It is important to make sure that you are taking it to Star Certified inspectors.
By visiting us at GreenStar in San Jose California, you will find that we are not only Star certified by the State of California, but also have the best customer care options.
While we are a test only facility, we are probably the only company that offers free retests within 30 days in case your car fails the smog test.

Visit our location here:

What Cars Can Exempt the Smog Test

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Smog Test Exemptions

Smog testing is an integral part of the procedure when you buy a new vehicle or use an old one. It is essential to learn about your contribution to smog and air pollution and, to make sure that it is minimal, you must get your vehicle smog-tested. While it is vital to get a smog test and follow specific rules and regulations regarding it, there are also a few scenarios for exemption. In certain cases and situations, you do not need to get a yearly smog test. To find out more about these situations, keep on reading!

Exemptions from Smog Testing:

Whether your vehicle needs a smog test depends on what the model is, how old it is, and how it operates. If you fall in any of the following categories, the chances are that your vehicle does not require a smog test every year and that you are producing minimum pollution.

The 1947 year models or older.

If the car you own is a 1947 model or any older than that, you will most likely be an exemption from giving a smog test. This rule applies to diesel-powered vehicles only. This exemption’s logic is that models over 30 years old become an automatic exemption under the 30-year rolling exemption.

The 1975 and older models.

If your vehicle is gasoline-powered and the model is older than 1975, you don’t have to go through a smog test. According to the old smog laws we talked about earlier, all models made in 1975 and before turned 30-years old and are automatically an exemption under the 30-year old rule.

More than 14,000 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).

A vehicle weighing more than 14000 lbs is automatically an exemption from smog testing. You can determine the gross vehicle weight by looking at the vehicle’s specifications or asking the seller. Even though this detail might seem to be an insignificant one, it will come in handy when you go for smog checking.

Natural Gas-Powered Vehicles over 14,000 lbs.

Vehicles that run on natural gas are commonly an exemption when it comes to smog checks. This rule comes from the fact that natural gas produces low amounts of smog compared to gasoline and diesel motor vehicles. So, these vehicles are often an exemption from smog checks. Plus, if they weigh over 14,000 lbs, the possibility of exemption is even more likely.

Electric vehicles.

Vehicles that run on electricity produce minimal to no direct emissions. Thus, electric cars are not a part of smog-producing transport and help improve air quality, especially in urban areas. As a result, it is natural that they are an exemption from smog tests.

Gasoline-powered models older than 1975 and more.

Even though vehicles that are powered by gasoline do produce smog, models that are older than 1975 are naturally an exemption since they are over 30 years old.

Gasoline-powered motor vehicle models as old as four years and less.

Vehicles that are new and have a manufacturing date of 4 years or less are not a part of the compulsory smog test list. However, if the Air Resources Board claims that the vehicle does not fulfill the exemption criteria, you have to get a regular yearly smog check. This rule does not apply to diesel motor vehicles.


Large trailers can weigh around 12 to 19000 lbs. Since vehicles that are heavier than 14000 pounds are an exemption from smog testing, specific containers automatically become a part of this list. To make sure whether your trailer has to get a yearly smog test, find out how much it weighs. Then, search for “smog check San Jose,” or any area that you live in, and get proper information.


New motorcycles and bicycles have a smog-free design and mechanism. Such models do not need a smog test and are, thus, an exemption. It is still essential to know which model you have, how old it is, and whether it is smog-free.

Transferred vehicles.

Vehicles transferred from a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild are an automatic exemption from smog testing, given that the owner submitted a smog certification within 90 days of the transfer. Before the transaction of transfer complete, the original owner must get a smog test done, obtain a certificate, and submit it within three months. Only if they do this will the vehicle become an exemption from testing.


If you have an old car, a new one, one that someone transferred to you, or a part of any of the other scenarios mentioned above, you might be an exemption from needing a smog test every year. However, different states and areas of the world have different laws regarding it. The best way to make sure would be to search “smog check near me” and contact one of the service providers for more specific and authentic information.

This article was originally posted at Greenstar Smog Check.

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Things That Can Affect Your Smog Check Results

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Tricks That Help You Pass A Smog Test

Our customers are sometimes amazed to discover that a few simple acts may help them pass their smog test. This is especially true if you are driving an older car.

While you shouldn’t expect any of these tricks to give you a miracle cure for a polluting vehicle, they may help a borderline vehicle pass. This way, you may have the gift of time to make costly repairs before having to recertify.

Here are some tricks to consider trying before bringing your car into our smog check facility in San Jose.

Get your motor running.

Drive around at least 20 minutes before showing up for your smog check. A smog check should always be performed on a car with a toasty engine. You may have heard this tip before, but you may not know why this is true. Having a warm engine will help ensure that it will reach the proper fuel mixture and combustion levels.

So let your teenager practice driving before arriving at Green Star Smog Check. After driving around with your teen, you will be ecstatic to arrive at our smog check facility.

Keep your car battery connected.

Your vehicle’s internal test monitors may be erased if your car battery is disconnected. This is true even if you re-connect the terminals to the same battery. Our technicians need access to this monitored information in order to complete your test.

We know that you don’t always get to pick when to replace your car’s battery. If you recently disconnected or replaced your battery, wait five to seven days before getting your smog check completed. Make sure you drive at least 100 to 150 miles before bringing it into our Green Star San Jose location.

Get your oil changed before coming in for your smog check.

Dirty engine oil can negatively affect your emissions test. Dirty fumes that come from dirty oil may become part of the engine’s combustion. This means that your car’s old oil can lead to a bad emissions report. Plus, not changing your oil can harm your engine.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated.

We know you probably think we are crazy to suggest that your car’s tires have anything to do with your smog check. Surprisingly, it does. During a smog test, our techs may drive your car on a dynamometer to obtain the necessary readings. If your vehicle doesn’t have proper tire pressure, it may be unstable during the test.

We know it’s surprising, but a car’s tire pressure can be critical in passing a smog test, especially for borderline cases.

Is your check engine light illuminated? Figure out why.

Cars displaying their check engine lights are less likely to pass an emissions check. In fact, if your check engine light is on, it may result in an automatic failure. Figure out why your check engine light is on before bringing it to us.

Now that you know these tricks that may help you pass your emissions test visit Green Star Smog Check in San Jose. We are a star-certified, test-only facility, and we will make the smog check process as painless as possible.

You Failed a Smog Test: What Happens Next

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What If You Failed a Smog Test?

We don’t want to depress you, but there is a possibility that your vehicle won’t pass your San Jose smog check.

Unfortunately, the staff at Green Star Smog Check sees this happen every once in a while. When you bring your car to Green Star, you will receive friendly, fast service. You will even receive a cheap smog check, but we will not be able to fix your vehicle if it doesn’t pass the emissions check. Green Star is a STAR-certified, check-only station. We don’t fix it. We only check.

On the chance that your vehicle doesn’t pass the smog check, we would like to walk you through the decisions you will face.

You probably already know that California takes smog tests seriously. Our great state wants to reduce the amount of smog in the air, but they also want to make sure that only safe cars are allowed on our busy freeways.

If your car fails the smog test, the state will refuse to register it. This means that as soon as your registration tag expires, you are not legally allowed to drive your car.

This leads you to make one of three choices.

1. You can choose to drive illegally.

It is illegal to drive a vehicle with expired tags, but some people do it anyway. Please know that this is incredibly risky, and we do not recommend this. The California Highway Patrol is trained to watch for expired tags, and officers can and will pull you over for this issue.

If the police catch you, you will not only have to pay a fine, but your car will also be impounded. The longer your vehicle is impounded, the more expensive it will be to get it back. Unfortunately, even if you can afford to get your vehicle from the impound lot, you still will not be able to drive it legally.

If you can’t afford to fix your vehicle after failing a smog test, you surely can’t afford to pay for a ticket and impound fees.

2. Fix your car.

You could fix your car that doesn’t pass the smog test. It is unclear how much this would be, as the repairs could be simple or complex. No matter how much it will cost, it won’t be as nearly as expensive as if you made the earlier choice.

Once the exhaust is fixed, you can return to Green Star Smog Check within 30 days. If your car is from the year 2000 or newer, you can receive a complimentary re-test. When it passes, you can go to the DMV and pay to get the registration current.

3. You could sell the car.

Your final option is to sell the car. While California has specific smog check requirements for transferring the title of a vehicle to a new owner, you may be able to sell your vehicle without a smog check to a California buy center. You may not get a lot of money for the car, but perhaps you will get enough to make a down payment on a new car or pay for ride shares for a while.

Few people love getting a smog check, but Green Star Smog Check tries to make the process as painless as possible. Drop in at our location on Keyes Street and take care of your smog check today.

This article was originally posted at Green Star Smog Check.

Summer Car Care Tips

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Useful Tips For Your Car This Summer

No one likes the idea of being stranded on the shoulder of a hot California freeway. In fact, that is the worst nightmare for some of you. While we would love to say you could altogether avoid breakdowns by getting your smog check completed at Green Star, this is not an accurate statement.

We can promise that when you go to Green Star Smog Check, you can be assured that you will receive a fast and cheap smog check. In fact, we are one of the best smog check facilities in San Jose. As far as the routine maintenance goes . . . that’s up to you. And you might want to take this job seriously, especially during the heat of the summer.

Here are some tips for things you can do to decrease the likelihood of having problems while on the road.

Check your car battery.

While many car batteries go kaput during the winter, the summer’s heat can also put a strain on your battery. One of the most important things you can do to maintain your battery is to pay attention to its age. If your battery is three years old, have it checked at a parts store.

You may also want to give special attention to your battery if you do a lot of nature driving or on rough roads. Your car’s vibrations can cause your battery’s mounting system to loosen, and this may lead to your battery not functioning correctly.

Also, check your battery terminals to make sure they are free of corrosion. While you are doing this, make sure the clamps are tight.

Check your fluid levels.

Consult your driver’s manual or manufacturer’s online source to see how often your cooling system should be flushed. At each oil change, make sure your technician fills the coolant to the proper level. Do-it-your-selfers can easily perform this bit of routine maintenance on their own, but remember to take caution. If you remove the radiator cap when the engine is too hot, you could receive severe burns.

Hopefully, you are already checking your car’s oil level, but there are other checks to be performed. Also, check the levels of your brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.

While you are under the hood, also inspect your car’s hoses and belts. Look for rough edges and cracks.

Make sure you can legally drive your vehicle.

No driver likes to spend time on the side of the road, whether from a breakdown or from being pulled over for driving with expired tags. Remember, to drive legally in the State of California, you may need to have a smog check completed on your vehicle.

That’s how Green Star Smog Check can assists you this summer. They can make sure that your car meets all the exhaust requirements set by the State of California. Once you receive your notice from the state, stop in at our San Jose location. There’s no need for an appointment.

Safe travels this summer!