Getting a vehicle smog checked can be a nerve-racking experience for any car owner.  Unless you are an an expert mechanic, the smog test process will leave you with a great deal of questions about getting your vehicle smog checked.  Our smog shop in Berkeley has a friendly staff that is ready to answer any specific questions you may have.  Feel free to call us at (510) 843-0200 anytime if you have any questions or browse below for frequently asked questions about getting your vehicle smog checked in Berkeley or Oakland:


Q: Are you a STAR certified station?

A: Yes. We were the first station in Berkeley to receive STAR certification.

Q: Is there an extra charge for a STAR certified smog test?

A: No, not at 7 Days a Week Smog!

Q: What IS the STAR program, anyway?

A: The STAR program began January 1, 2013. STAR stations must meet higher performance standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Q: How do I know if I need a STAR certified smog station?

A: Your registration renewal form will tell you at the top.

Q: Why was my car directed to a STAR station?

A: A random sampling, many older vehicles, and vehicles with high-emitter profiles are directed to STAR stations.

Q: Do you only smog STAR cars?

A: No. We smog everything!

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Q: Is my vehicle required to get a Smog Check?

A: It depends on your situation:

Registration Renewals

Your vehicle needs a Smog Check if it is more than eight model years old, but newer than 1976 (i.e., in 2019, model years 1976 – 2011 must be smogged). Diesels are require after being 2 years old.  This does not include motorcycles and two-cylinder engine vehicles.


If you are buying or selling a vehicle, a Smog Check is needed if it is more than four model years old.

Out of State Vehicles

Out of state vehicles being registered in California requires a Smog Check regardless of model year.

Q: What is an “EVAP” Test?

A: The Low-Pressure Evaporation test checks for leaks between your engine and the gas tank. Started in December 2007, it is required by the State of California for vehicles 1995 and prior (some models are exempt). For the official FAQ provided by the State’s Bureau of Automotive Repair, click here.

Q: How about Diesel vehicles?

A:As of January 1, 2010, diesel vehicles 1998 and newer, and weighing under 14,500 GVW will need a smog check. The procedures will be different, but we have been trained to perform diesel smog checks.

Q: What is a fair smog test price?

A:It’s reasonable to expect to get your vehicle smog checked for under $100. 

Q: My car is perfect. Why do I need a FREE retest?

A: While your engine emissions may seem fine, a California smog inspection covers more than what is coming out of your tailpipe. The computer on board of your vehicle, hoses, and wiring under the hood, are all part of a smog inspection as required by the State. If any of these components fail, you will be required to repair them and go through another full smog inspection (State law prohibits partial retests). Here at 7 Days a Week Smog we want to give you the peace of mind that you can always return to us without being double-charged. Check out our other “secrets” to passing a smog test here.

Q: What are the environmental benefits of the Smog Check Program?

A:The Smog Check Program has greatly reduced air pollution created by millions of cars in California. According to the California Air Resources Board, the program removes about 400 tons of smog-forming pollutants from California’s air every day.

Q: What happens if my vehicle fails a Smog Check?

A: In order to complete your registration, you will need to obtain the repairs necessary for it to pass its Smog Check retest. Here at 7 Days A Week Smog , your retest is FREE of charge, for all 2000 and newer vehicles within 30 days

Q: How often does my vehicle have to be tested?

A:In most cases, your vehicle must be tested every other year. A Smog Check is also required if you sell your vehicle and it is more than four model years old.

Q: What changed under the new program?

A:The new program uses newer equipment to test for more pollutants and newer test procedures to help identify vehicles that need repair.

Q: How can I help my vehicle pass a Smog Check?

A:Performing proper and regular vehicle maintenance according to your owner’s manual, and not tampering with the emissions control equipment are keys to passing Smog Check.

Q: What is CAP and how do I qualify?

A:The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) provides financial assistance to repair or retire a vehicle that fails a Smog Check.

Repair Assistance

If your DMV renewal notice requires a Smog Check at a STAR station, you may qualify for up to $500 in repair assistance once you pay the first $100 in repair costs. You may also qualify if your income is within certain levels, regardless of where you got your Smog Check. If you qualify based on income, a $20 co-pay is all that you need.

Vehicle retirement

If you feel your car is not worth repairing, the State may buy the car from you for $1,000 and have it scrapped at a local dismantler.

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