The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), part of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), protects Californians through effective oversight of the automotive repair industry and administration of vehicle emissions reduction and safety programs. In support of this mission, BAR provides a wide range of services:
- Licenses and regulates approximately 35,000 California automotive repair dealers.
- Licenses Smog Check stations, repair technicians, and inspectors.
- Licenses brake and lamp stations and adjusters1.
- Mediates automotive repair complaints, saving consumers millions of dollars each year in the form of direct refunds, rework, and bill adjustments.
- Investigates and takes disciplinary action against licensees who violate the law.
- Performs no-cost inspections of collision-related repairs to help ensure the safety of consumers and their vehicles.
- Administers and enforces the Smog Check Program.
- Helps to keep California’s air clean by reducing air pollution produced by motor vehicles.
1 Vehicle safety systems licenses will replace brake and lamp licenses soon pursuant to AB 471 (Low, Chapter 372, Statutes of 2021).
Who We License
Any business that repairs and/or diagnoses malfunctions of motor vehicles for compensation must be registered as an automotive repair dealer. An automotive repair dealer may additionally hold separate station licenses for the Smog Check, brake, and lamp programs. A licensed Smog Check station also may apply for certification within the STAR program.
Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD)* – a business registered by BAR who, for compensation, repairs and/or diagnoses malfunctions of motor vehicles.
Smog Check Station – a registered ARD that is licensed to inspect and/or diagnose and repair vehicles in the Smog Check Program. There are three Smog Check station license types.
- A test-and-repair station is licensed to inspect, diagnose, and repair vehicles.
- A test-only station is licensed to inspect vehicles.
- A repair-only station is licensed to diagnose and repair vehicles.
Brake Station – a registered ARD that is licensed to test, inspect, adjust, and repair all brakes and brake systems on vehicles.
Lamp Station – a registered ARD that is licensed to test, inspect, adjust, and repair all lamps and related electrical systems on vehicles.
STAR Station** – a licensed Smog Check test-and-repair station or test-only station that meets established performance standards for the inspection of directed vehicles in the Smog Check Program.
BAR licenses individuals who perform inspections and repairs of vehicles for the Smog Check, brake, and lamp programs.
- Smog Check Inspector – an individual licensed by BAR to inspect and certify the emissions control systems on vehicles subject to the Smog Check Program.
- Smog Check Repair Technician – an individual licensed by BAR to diagnose and repair the emissions control systems on vehicles subject to the Smog Check Program.
- Brake Adjuster – an individual licensed by BAR to test, inspect, adjust, and repair the brakes and brake systems on vehicles.
- Lamp Adjuster – an individual licensed by BAR to test, inspect, adjust, and repair the lamps and related electrical systems on vehicles.
Information for license applicants and licensees is available under the Licensees tab. To find a licensed shop near you, try our Auto Shop Locator. For license and enforcement statistical data, see the DCA Data Portal.
- Auto Body Inspection Program – offers no-cost inspections to consumers to verify that collision repairs were performed correctly.
- Cars for Schools Program – provides retired vehicles to public high schools, community colleges, and regional occupation programs throughout the state to provide hands-on training opportunities for students.
- Complaint Program – mediates disputes between consumers and auto shops.
- Consumer Assistance Program – offers eligible consumers repair assistance and retirement options to help improve California's air quality.
- Referee Program – assists consumers with Smog Check inspection disputes, inspections of unusual vehicles, and locating hard-to-find emissions parts.
- Roadside Inspection Program – conducts roadside emissions surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of the California Smog Check Program in reducing motor vehicle emissions.
- Smog Check Program – reduces air pollution by identifying vehicles with excess emissions so they can be properly repaired or retired.
- STAR Program – certifies Smog Check stations meeting performance standards for the inspection of directed vehicles.
Patrick Dorais, Chief
Patrick Dorais was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. effective November 8, 2013. As chief of BAR, he oversees all operational matters, including licensing and enforcement activities and the administration of the Smog Check Program.
Dorais served as BAR deputy chief of Smog Check Operations, Engineering, Research Administration and Consumer Assistance Division from 2007 to 2013. He served as deputy chief at the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board in 2007 and at the California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education from 2004 to 2007. Dorais also served in multiple positions at the California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair from 1995 to 2004, including bureau chief and deputy chief. He was special assistant to the secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency from 1991 to 1995, special assistant to the director of the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research in 1991, and a legislative correspondent in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 1990.
Assistant Chief (Vacant)
Oversees BAR’s Smog Check Engineering and Information Services Division and Audits and Inspections Branch.
Linda Janssen, Deputy Chief
Licensing, Administration, and Consumer Assistance Division
Linda Janssen was appointed on August 2, 2021. As deputy chief, Janssen oversees BAR’s Licensing, Records Management, and Program Support Branch; Administration Branch; and Consumer Assistance Program. She has over 20 years of state service and has held various managerial positions within the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Prior to her appointment, Janssen managed BAR's Administration Branch.
Bill Thomas, Deputy Chief
Field Operations and Enforcement Division
Bill Thomas was appointed on April 18, 2022. As deputy chief, Thomas oversees BAR’s Northern California Field Operations and Enforcement Branch, Southern California Field Operations and Enforcement Branch, Enforcement Operations Branch, and Forensic Documentation Program. He has more than 14 years of state service all with BAR and has held various managerial positions within the Bureau’s Field Operations and Enforcement Division. Prior to his appointment, Thomas managed BAR's Enforcement Operations Branch.
Deputy Chief (Vacant)
Smog Check Engineering and Information Services Division
Oversees BAR’s Engineering and Research Branch and Technology Services Branch.