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Guide To Becoming A Smog Check Station - Introduction

This Guide to Becoming a Smog Check station has been prepared for you by the Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair, with assistance from the automotive repair industry. Here you'll find information you need to get established as, or convert your existing business to, a Smog Check station.

This guide provides background information that will answer some commonly asked questions concerning the Smog Check program. You'll also find information about licensing for stations and technicians, and a list of equipment needed to conduct Smog Checks in both Basic and Enhanced Program Areas of the state. We have also provided instructions for getting the necessary state and local permits.

For further information, please call the Bureau of Automotive Repair at 1-800-952-5210, or contact the BAR Field Office in your area.

Smog Check Station Checklist

Business Planning

  • Consult a business advisor or one of several automotive industry trade associations for assistance with the financial decisions involved in purchasing BAR-97 equipment.


  • Determine whether your station will do business as Test-Only or Test-and-Repair, and whether your customers are located in Basic or Enhanced Program Areas of the state (see page 8).*
  • Obtain Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) registration and appropriate Smog Check station license from BAR.*
  • Verify that Smog Check technicians are licensed for your type of station.
  • If they're not yet licensed, be sure they meet all requirements.

*For those not currently licensed as Smog Check stations.


  • Determine whether the majority of your customers are covered under the Basic or Enhanced Program (see page 5 and the zip code list included with this booklet).

  • Your operation will require a BAR-97 Emission Inspection System (EIS) (see pages 10 & 11).

  • For required BAR-97 equipment, contact manufacturers to shop for the equipment that best suits your needs (see "Obtaining a BAR-97 EIS" included with this booklet or contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair at 1-800-952-5210)

    • Check with several suppliers for the best price and services.

    • Verify that quotes include installation, service contracts and warranties.

    • Determine whether a purchase or lease option best suits your needs.

  • Before purchasing, get installation specifications and costs and complete "Permits" step below.


  • Contact your local California Permit Assistance Center to apply for and file permits. Have on hand:

    • Address of current or proposed Smog Check station.
    • Facility information.
    • Equipment installation specifications.

(Last Changed August 07, 2007 )

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