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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!

How do you know that you need a smog check?

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Get a Smog Check in San Jose

We wish we could give you a cut and dried answer, but since smog checks are based on government regulations, there is a lot of fine print to sort through. We will help you figure out the fine print by writing a clear and concise guide on whether you need to get a smog check. We will also give you a tip on the best place to go for a smog check near San Jose.

Smog Checks Are Required If . . .

We know that getting a smog check is not your favorite way to spend your time, but here are the types of vehicles that require a smog check.

You need to get a smog check when you register a new vehicle in San Jose.

The fine print: The state government regulations say that if your “new” car is less than four model years old, you can either choose to get a smog check or pay a smog abatement fee. It’s not clear which choice is cheaper, as the fee depends upon the type of car that you are registering. You can continue this practice for the first eight years that your car is registered. This means that you may not need to get a smog check if your vehicle is newer than 12 years old.

To find out how much the smog abatement fee is for your particular vehicle, fill in the details on this website.

You need a smog inspection when you renew your vehicle registration in California.

The fine print: Before you search for the closest smog station near you, check the list of counties that require smog checks. We hate to get your hopes up, but if you live in the lovely Santa Clara County, the state requires that you get a smog check.

You need to get a smog check before selling your car to a private owner.

The fine print: Unless your car is four years old or newer, you need to provide the new owner of the car a valid smog certificate when you transfer ownership of the vehicle. If the vehicle is newer than four years old, the new owner will be required to pay the smog transfer fee.

Smog Checks are Not Required If . . .

We tried to make the previous rules as clear as possible, but the fine print gets in the way. Here are some vehicles that do not need a smog check.

You do not need a smog check if you drive an electric vehicle.

You do not need a smog check if your car weighs more than 14,000 pounds and is powered by natural gas.

You do not need a smog check if you drive a diesel-powered vehicle that is older than 1997.

You do not need a smog check if you drive an older vehicle (1975 or older.)

Where do I get a smog check?

If you live in Santa Clara County, go to Green Star Smog Check. Green Star is a STAR-certified facility, which means they are a check-only station that has been certified by the state. They receive excellent customer reviews, are conveniently located, and will have you in and out in minutes.

Green Star Smog Check provides friendly, quality service. We hope to see you soon!

California Smog Check Consumer Assitance Program

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Consumer Assitance Program

Unless you are living under a rock, you are aware that the recent COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the economy. The people of our nation are suffering from rampant unemployment, and the stay at home orders have caused some of our industries to suffer. Now, more than ever before, Californians find themselves turning to government resources to assist them through these difficult times. 

Even though new programs have been enacted, some old assistance programs may be particularly helpful right now. We would like to share some details about the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) as offered by the State of California.

The state realizes that requiring a vehicle to pass a smog test before registering it places a particular burden on low-income families. These families typically drive older cars that need more repairs and requiring that these cars pass an emissions test may be particularly stressful. 

Since many jobs require that the employee has access to a working vehicle, and some individuals can’t afford to have such a car, this leads to an unfortunate and endless cycle.

Fortunately, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, state leadership started the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP).

This program assists low-income people living in California in getting a working vehicle. It does it in one of two ways.


Low-income individuals may qualify to receive $500 to spend on diagnosing and repairing their cars. The repairs must be emissions-related and completed to help the car pass the smog test. Vehicles eight years and older must pass this test to be registered in the state. The testing must be completed at a STAR station, similar to Green Star Smog Check.

While $500 may cover most of the emission repair bills, there may be other problems with the vehicle that cause it to be undrivable. That’s why the state also enacted the Vehicle Retirement program. 

If you can’t afford to make the additional repairs on your car, the state may choose to purchase it from you for $1,000 or $1,500. This would not only get the polluter off the road, but it would help low-income individuals put funds toward a more efficient vehicle that would pass the smog test with ease.


Since this is a government-sponsored program, there is a lot of fine print. As this is an income-based program, you may be required to show proof that you qualify for the assistance. Also, the Vehicle Retirement program may or may not be fully funded, so even if you are eligible based on your income, the funds may or may not be there to pay for your car.

We know you have options when choosing a smog check location in San Jose. We would like you to consider going to Green Start Smog Check. We are a STAR certified station, and we offer a free 30-day retest on cars from the year 2000 or newer. Our facility not only provides a cheap smog check, but we also offer fast and friendly service.  Google us or check us out on your favorite review sites. We are proud of what our customers have to say.

This article was originally posted GreenStar Smog Check.