STAR Program FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the STAR Program

General Information

What is the STAR Program?

The STAR Program was created pursuant to Assembly Bill 2289 (Eng, Chapter 258, Statutes of 2010) to improve the overall quality of Smog Check inspections and help the state meet required emissions reductions. The program offers voluntary certification of Smog Check test-and-repair and test-only stations that must adhere to high inspection-based standards.

When did the STAR Program begin?

The STAR Program began January 1, 2013. It replaced the previous Gold Shield Program, which sunsetted on December 31, 2012.

On July 1, 2022, regulatory changes updated STAR Program eligibility requirements, established a STAR certification suspension—rather than invalidation—process, and deleted outdated Gold Shield Program provisions.

What services do STAR stations provide?

STAR stations provide the following services:

  • Testing and certification of all vehicles subject to Smog Check.
  • Testing and certification of gross-polluting vehicles.
  • Testing and certification of directed vehicles, regardless of the station’s program area location.
  • Testing and certification of vehicles registered in enhanced areas and are intended for sale by a motor vehicle dealer licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles at the dealer’s premises located in a basic or change of ownership area. (Applies to STAR stations located in basic or change of ownership program areas that do not perform ASM inspections pursuant to HSC sections 44003 and 44003.5.)
  • Repair assistance services. (Applies only to STAR test-and-repair stations which are located in basic or enhanced areas and are operating under a Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) agreement.)

Can a station that chooses not to participate in the STAR Program inspect directed and gross-polluting vehicles?

No, only STAR stations may inspect directed and gross-polluting vehicles.

Is STAR certification available to Smog Check inspectors?

No. STAR certification is only available to Smog Check test-and-repair and test-only stations. However, inspector performance is evaluated to determine a station’s eligibility for STAR certification.

Eligibility and Certification

What are the eligibility requirements for STAR certification?

STAR certification eligibility requirements are listed on the STAR Certification page.

How does a station apply for STAR certification?

A station seeking STAR certification must submit to BAR a completed STAR Station Certification Application. As of the date the application is received by BAR, the station must meet all of the STAR certification eligibility requirements.

My station was denied STAR certification for failure to meet eligibility requirements. When can I reapply?

A station that was denied STAR certification for failure to meet eligibility requirements may reapply the next calendar quarter following the denial.

How do I withdraw my station’s STAR Certification?

A STAR station may withdraw its STAR certification by completing a Request for Inactive Status or Program Withdrawal form.

Please note, a station that withdraws its STAR certification must wait six months before submitting a new application for STAR certification. Withdrawal from the STAR Program does not deprive BAR of its authority to continue the suspension of a station’s STAR certification.

Can my station's STAR certification be transferred to a prospective buyer or new owner of the station?

No. A station's STAR certification is not transferable to a prospective buyer or new owner. Upon change of ownership, the new owner must apply for a new automotive repair dealer registration and Smog Check license and may apply for STAR certification when eligibility requirements are met.

Will my station's STAR certification be affected if I change the station's business structure?

Yes. Business structure changes such as changing to a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or vice versa, which result in the issuance of a new license, will require the newly licensed station to meet the STAR performance standards to be eligible for STAR certification using data from the new license and data from the previous license. A business structure change does not include situations where a corporation changes corporate officers.

Will my station’s STAR certification be affected if I change the station type?

It depends. Changing to a test-and-repair or test-only station will not affect a station’s STAR certification. However, the station must submit an initial Smog Check Station License Application, a new STAR Station Certification Application, and all applicable fees to BAR.

Changing to a repair-only station will cause the station to no longer be eligible for STAR certification.

Will my station's STAR certification be affected if I relocate to a new address?

No. Changing a business address will not affect a station's STAR certification. However, your station will experience some downtime until an onsite inspection at the new location is performed by BAR.

Will my station's STAR certification be affected if I fail to renew my automotive repair dealer registration and/or Smog Check station license on time?

Yes. A station with an expired or delinquent automotive repair dealer registration or Smog Check station license is not eligible for STAR certification. Failure to renew a station’s registration and/or license is cause for BAR to suspend a station’s STAR certification.

Will my station's STAR certification be affected if the station or an inspector at my station receives a citation?

It depends on the citation. BAR may suspend a station’s STAR certification if the station or any inspector maintained in the station’s Inspector Information Table receives a citation, other than a citation containing an order of abatement, that becomes final and effective for violation of any of the sections detailed in Section 3392.3(a)(3)(B) of the California Code of Regulations.

Note that a citation with an order of abatement issued would not affect a station's STAR certification. Testing a 2000 and newer model-year gasoline-powered vehicle, or 1998 and newer model-year diesel vehicle on the BAR-97 Emission Inspection System (EIS) instead of the required On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Inspection System (OIS) usually results in a citation with an order of abatement. However, citations for other reasons or multiple citations for failing to test on the OIS is cause for suspension of a station's STAR certification.

Will my station’s STAR certification be affected for one isolated mistake on a Smog Check inspection?

It depends on the nature of the mistake. A mistake that leads to a citation or an administrative action is grounds for suspension of a station's STAR certification. In contrast, it generally takes several repeated inspection errors before a station fails to meet any of the STAR performance measures that are based on Smog Check inspection data.

Note that a single citation with an order of abatement, such as for testing a 2000 and newer model-year gasoline-powered vehicle, or 1998 and newer model-year diesel vehicle on the BAR-97 Emission Inspection System (EIS) instead of the required On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Inspection System (OIS), would not affect a station's STAR certification. However, citations for other reasons or multiple citations for failing to test on the OIS is cause for suspension of a station's STAR certification.

Suspension of STAR Certification

What are the causes for suspension of STAR certification?

BAR may suspend a station’s STAR certification for any of the Causes for Suspension of STAR Certification. If BAR finds cause to suspend a station’s STAR certification, BAR will notify the station via email or U.S. mail. The notice indicates the grounds and term of suspension and includes important appeal information.

Can my station’s STAR certification be suspended if the station did not receive an FPR score, and it adds a Smog Check inspector who did not receive an FPR score?

Yes, BAR has cause to suspend a station’s STAR certification if, in the most recently completed FPR reporting period, the STAR station did not receive an FPR score, and it adds a Smog Check inspector who also did not receive an FPR score to its Inspector Information Table.

If my station’s STAR certification is suspended, will my station need to reapply?

No, a station with a suspended STAR certification does not need to reapply and may resume operating as a STAR station when the term of suspension ends.

STAR Report Card

What is the STAR Report Card?

The STAR Report Card provides station and inspector STAR performance measure scores and related information.

  • Station report cards include pass/fail results and inspector data to assist stations with monitoring performance to maintain STAR certification.
  • Inspector report cards provide performance data to assist inspectors in improving their individual performance. Inspector scores help stations to evaluate both prospective and current employees.

How is STAR Report Card data collected?

Data is collected by the Smog Check inspection equipment during a vehicle inspection.

How often are STAR scores updated?

Scores for short-term performance measures, which include the Test Deviations, Similar Vehicle Failure Rate (SVFR), and Incorrect Gear Selection during the ASM test, are updated every month. However, pass/fail decisions are made only on a calendar quarter basis. The Follow-up Pass Rate (FPR), which is a long-term performance measure, is calculated and updated twice a year, in January and July. Check your STAR Report Card

What can I do if I think an incident reported on my STAR Report Card is incorrect?

If a station or inspector feels that an incident(s) has been incorrectly identified, and the incident(s) is causing the licensee to not meet the STAR performance measures, they may challenge the incident. The challenge must include a specific statement of explanation (see below example) providing reference to an industry-recognized vehicle data source such as ALLDATA, Motor, or Mitchell. The challenge and all appropriate supporting documentation should be submitted to bar.industryhelpdesk@dca.ca.gov.

Please note, BAR will not accept or evaluate an unsubstantiated challenge, or a challenge submitted by a station or inspector that is passing the STAR performance measures.

Example of an Acceptable Incident Challenge
"The STAR Report Card indicates that I should have performed a timing test on a [model-year, make, model, certificate number issued] vehicle. However, as indicated in [provide a detailed reference for your information such as ALLDATA or Motor, including links or page numbers], this vehicle does not have adjustable timing and, for this reason, should not have a timing test."

Are resources available to help me improve my STAR scores?

Yes, watch our help videos to learn how to improve your STAR scores.

Short-Term Performance Measures

What are short-term performance measures?

Short-term performance measures are designed to provide a simple litmus test of recent performance to evaluate stations (and the work done by their inspectors). It can be a great resource in helping a station identify problem areas and improve their overall performance in the Smog Check Program. Short-term performance measures include:

Short-term performance measure results are an aggregate of all inspections performed at a station for the most recent calendar quarter. Check your STAR Report Card

My BAR-97 emissions inspection system often has difficulty picking up a stable engine RPM signal for vehicles with distributorless ignition systems (DIS). Will this affect my STAR score?

The Incorrect Gear Selection measure is the one STAR performance measure that uses the engine RPM reading. For that measure, ASM test results accompanied by abnormally high RPM readings are flagged as having been shifted into the incorrect gear during an ASM test mode.

Normally, antenna-based RPM errors will not result in Incorrect Gear Selection incidents. Antenna-based errors typically drive the RPM low, not high, as the RPM reading often drops out completely. Low readings will not cause Incorrect Gear Selection incidents. Furthermore, results for this measure are corrected for the specific vehicles inspected by each station. In other words, results for specific vehicles for which RPM readings are difficult to measure will be compared to results from similar vehicles, thus the performance standards will be appropriately based upon the vehicles inspected by each station.

Still, BAR recommends that stations pull the RPM readings directly from the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) II system whenever possible.

Many of the vehicles my station inspects are equipped with non-factory sized tires. Will this affect the Incorrect Gear Selection performance measure?

The Incorrect Gear Selection performance measure allows for some variation in tire size without identifying an inspection as being driven in the incorrect gear. The underlying question is whether or not inspectors can alter the Smog Check procedures to accommodate a vehicle that is equipped with tires so large or small that it cannot be tested within the correct RPM range in the specified gear. Inspectors are required to follow the procedures outlined in the Smog Check Manual. If the vehicle is tested "as is" please note that it could affect the station's performance on the Incorrect Gear Selection measure, in which case it should be documented on the Vehicle Inspection Report. The station also has the option of referring the vehicle to the Referee for inspection.

Does the type of transmission entered during an ASM inspection affect the Incorrect Gear Selection performance measure?

Yes. If an inspector enters a manual transmission vehicle into the BAR-97 Emission Inspection System (EIS) as an automatic transmission, the inspection will likely trigger a gear shift incident. This is due to the fact that the measured RPM for a manual transmission vehicle tested in 2nd gear during the "2525" mode of the ASM test will often fall outside the allowable range for automatic transmission vehicles. This type of error will be apparent when looking at the individual incidents under the Incorrect Gear Selection performance measure because the RPM during the "2525" portion of the ASM test will be roughly two-thirds (2/3) higher than the RPM of the "5015" test mode. The way to correct this problem is to be sure to enter into the EIS the correct transmission type for each vehicle receiving an ASM test. As a general practice, BAR also recommends carefully reviewing all vehicle data entered into the EIS prior to beginning the ASM test mode.

During an ASM test, in which gear should vehicles with automatic transmissions be inspected when the "drive" position is not clearly identified on the vehicle?

Some newer automatic transmission vehicles, especially those with more than four forward gears, may not have clearly labeled "drive" settings. When the "drive" setting is not clearly identified on a vehicle, automatic transmission vehicles should be driven in the gear selector's default driving position. This means the position where the vehicle automatically shifts through the forward gears during the course of driving.

During an ASM test, in which performance mode should vehicles with user-selectable automatic transmission shift settings be driven?

Some automatic transmission vehicles have different performance modes or settings that control the automatic transmission shift points. These are typically the "standard/economy" mode or the "sport/performance/tow" mode. In the standard/economy setting, shift points will usually occur at lower engine RPM than they will with the sport/performance/tow settings. During an ASM test, vehicles equipped with user-selectable transmission performance settings should be placed in the economy/standard mode resulting in lower engine RPM shift points.

During an ASM test, how should a vehicle equipped with a transmission that allows either manual or automatic shifting be inspected?

If a vehicle is equipped with a transmission that was designed to shift automatically, the vehicle shall be ASM tested in the mode allowing automatic shifting, even if the vehicle has an option for manual shift operation. Vehicles that do not have a fully automatic setting shall be tested as a manual transmission, even if they do not have a manual clutch.

Will my Similar Vehicle Failure Rate (SVFR) be affected if I replace a failing fuel cap in the middle of an inspection and then pass the vehicle?

Inspectors have the option to replace leaking fuel caps mid-inspection in order to avoid having to fail the vehicle when the sole reason for the Smog Check failure is the fuel cap. When this occurs, and the inspector indicates that the fuel cap was replaced during the test, the SVFR performance measure will treat the inspection as though the fuel cap failed the leak-down portion of the inspection. Thus, while the official result for the inspection was a pass, the inspection result will be counted as a failure for the purposes of the SVFR.

Follow-up Pass Rate (FPR)

What is the Follow-up Pass Rate?

The Follow-up Pass Rate (FPR) is a long-term performance measure which evaluates whether vehicles previously certified by the station or inspector in their previous inspection cycle are passing, in their current cycle, at a higher than expected rate. It is the only performance measure that evaluates the performance of each individual inspector as well as the station to determine a station’s eligibility for STAR certification.

How does the FPR differ from the SVFR?

The Similar Vehicle Failure Rate (SVFR) compares the initial test failure rate for vehicles inspected at each station to the initial test failure rate for similar vehicles statewide. The FPR is similar in concept, however, it measures whether the actual vehicles certified by each station or inspector in the last cycle are passing in the current cycle at a higher or lower rate than expected in comparison to other similar vehicles inspected throughout the state.

What is the range for FPR scores?

FPR scores range from zero to one, with zero representing the lowest possible score and one representing the highest possible score. Stations and inspectors with insufficient inspection histories from which to calculate an FPR score will not receive an FPR score.

Scores should be evaluated by whether or not they are above 0.50. Scores above 0.50 are trending better than average. Above average performance should be the goal for stations that want to participate in the STAR Program. The criteria for STAR certification eligibility and when adding an inspector to a station’s Inspector Information Table is an FPR score greater than or equal to 0.40.

What are the FPR score criteria for STAR certification?

FPR score criteria for stations and inspectors are listed on the Follow-Up Pass Rate Score Criteria page. Different criteria are established for the following:

  • Applying for STAR certification
  • Adding a new inspector to the STAR station’s Inspector Information Table
  • Maintaining an inspector in the STAR station’s Inspector Information Table

When are FPR scores updated?

FPR scores are updated every six months, in January and July. Check your STAR Report Card

What behaviors affect a station or inspector's FPR score?

Specific behaviors that can affect an FPR score include:

  • Clean piping
  • Clean plugging
  • Incorrect gear selection
  • Over-conditioning vehicles
  • Not identifying visual inspection failures
  • Not identifying functional inspection failures (e.g., fuel cap, ignition timing, low-pressure fuel evaporative emissions)
  • Entering incorrect vehicle parameters to generate more lenient emission standards or a lighter vehicle weight loading (in order to create less treadmill resistance) during an ASM test

Are there other factors that cause FPR scores to change?

Yes. Some stations and inspectors may find that their FPR scores change. This will be more evident for stations and inspectors whose Smog Check inspection performance is closer to average. Others, whose behavior diverges more from average, will find their scores to be more stable, either at the high end or the low end of the performance scale. If a station owner or inspector wants consistently high FPR scores, then performing high quality inspections consistently is critical.

Sample size can also affect FPR scores. The more vehicles previously certified by a station or inspector that are inspected in the current cycle, the easier it is to determine whether or not that station or inspector's performance is above or below average. This means that scores can change due to the number of vehicles being inspected in the current cycle. So, if two stations perform similarly and above average, the station with the higher inspection volume will have a higher score. On the other hand, if two stations perform similarly but below average, the station with the higher inspection volume will have a lower score. This feature can also affect individual inspectors. For example, if an inspector maintains a consistent level of above average performance with FPR scores of 0.60, that inspector's FPR scores would move closer to 1.00 with an increase in the number of inspections performed by the inspector.

It is also important to recognize that inspector performance can and does change over time and this can affect both a station and inspector's FPR score. Station owners and inspectors need to reflect on what was happening two to three years ago to understand how these changes may be driving today's FPR scores. Were station owners or managers pushing high throughput at the expense of inspection quality? Were inspectors over-conditioning vehicles or driving them in the incorrect gear? Were inspectors taking the time to thoroughly visually inspect and functionally test all of the emission-related components as required by the Smog Check inspection procedures? When trying to understand FPR scores today, look back in time to see what was driving scores today.

Station FPR scores can also change based upon which inspectors were operating at the station at the time the vehicles were last certified and who was managing the station. Even though a station may take steps to address a problem where an inspector was performing improper inspections, the improper certifications issued by that inspector can affect that station's FPR score for some time.

It's also important to consider that accurate Smog Check inspections may take more time to perform. As a rule of thumb, a comprehensive inspection, including accurate determination of proper inspection procedures and thorough performance of the visual inspection and all applicable functional tests, will often take 20 or more minutes. These times may be reduced some if the inspector is experienced and has a lot of familiarity with the vehicle. Still, as evidenced by results on the STAR short-term performance measures, many inspectors are making more mistakes than they probably realize. When in doubt, slow down and perform the inspection correctly.

How do stations or inspectors improve their FPR score?

FPR scores can be improved by ensuring that accurate Smog Check inspections are performed according to the Smog Check Manual.

How long does it take to improve an FPR score?

Most stations and inspectors can expect to see their scores improving two years after changing a behavior that negatively impacted their score. Note, however, that when calculating the FPR, BAR evaluates follow-up inspections collected during the previous year to determine the performance in the previous inspection cycle. Due to the biennial nature of the Smog Check Program, inspections performed over three years ago may still affect an FPR score. For this reason, it can take considerably longer to achieve a "No Score" than to rehabilitate an FPR score with higher quality inspections.

Is my station eligible for STAR certification if both the station and inspector have no FPR score?

No. A station is not eligible for STAR certification until the station or inspector’s FPR score is at least 0.40, and all other eligibility requirements are met. To meet this requirement, a new station with no FPR score may add a Smog Check inspector with an FPR score of 0.40 or higher to its Inspector Information Table.

What are my options if both my STAR station and inspector have a low FPR score?

To avoid STAR suspension, a STAR station with a low FPR score cannot maintain an inspector with a low FPR score in its Inspector Information Table. The STAR station should remove the inspector with the low FPR score and add a new inspector with an acceptable FPR score. While the individual with the low FPR score may not act as an inspector at a STAR station, they may perform repairs on vehicles at the STAR station.

Will my STAR certification be suspended if my station or an inspector(s) in my station’s Inspector Information Table fails to meet the FPR score criteria?

BAR may suspend a station’s STAR certification if, in the most recently completed FPR reporting period, the stations meets any of the following:

  • The STAR station did not receive an FPR score and it adds a Smog Check inspector who did not receive an FPR score to its Inspector Information Table.
  • The STAR station’s FPR score is less than 0.40 and it adds a Smog Check inspector who did not receive an FPR score to its Inspector Information Table.
  • The STAR station adds a Smog Check inspector who received an FPR score less than 0.40 to its Inspector Information Table.
  • The STAR station maintains a Smog Check inspector who received an FPR score less than 0.10 in its Inspector Information Table.
  • The STAR station’s FPR score is less than 0.10 and it maintains a Smog Check inspector who did not receive an FPR score in its Inspector Information Table.

Learn more about causes for suspension.

How can a station with a high FPR score have two inspectors with entirely different FPR scores?

First, it is important to remember that FPR scores are affected by both the quality of inspections performed and inspection volume for vehicles previously certified by both stations and inspectors.

For example, let's assume that two inspectors have been maintained in the same station's Inspector Information Table for years, and are not in the Inspector Information Tables of any other stations. Let's also assume that the two inspectors previously certified the same number of vehicles now being inspected in the current inspection cycle, but one of the inspectors performed higher quality inspections than the other inspector. In this case, it is fairly simple to understand that the higher performing inspector will have a better FPR score.

Now, let's consider another scenario for two inspectors maintained in the same station's Inspector Information Table for years at the same station. Let's also assume that both inspectors perform the same quality of work, but with one of the inspectors performing twice as many inspections as the other inspector. Which inspector will have the higher FPR score? The answer depends upon the quality of their identical performance. If their performance is above average, then the inspector with the higher inspection volume will have a higher FPR score because the statistical confidence of his or her higher performance will be greater with the larger sample size. Similarly, if their performance is below average, then the higher volume inspector will have the lower score because, again, the statistical confidence of his or her higher performance will be greater with the larger sample size.

For these reasons, one can't automatically assume that an inspector with a score of 0.90 performs higher quality inspections than an inspector with a score of 0.75. Instead, scores should be evaluated by whether or not they are above 0.50. Scores above 0.50 are trending better than average. Above average performance should be the goal for stations that want to participate in the STAR Program. Note that the FPR performance standard for inspectors added to a station’s Inspector Information Table is 0.40, which is below the 0.50 level mentioned above. This lower limit was selected to allow inspectors near the standard the benefit of the doubt.

In order to maintain a high FPR score, should I refuse to inspect older, higher mileage vehicles?

No. Smog Check stations have the right to refuse to inspect vehicles they are uncomfortable testing. However, all of the performance measures used in the STAR Program, including FPR, compare the vehicles inspected by each station and inspector to similar vehicles inspected throughout the state. Therefore, if your station only inspects older, higher mileage vehicles, then the results for your station are only going to be compared to the statewide results for similar older, higher mileage vehicles. Because of this important factor, there is no more reason to be concerned about certifying an older vehicle with a carburetor than there is certifying a newer vehicle with fuel injection. What matters is that inspectors perform accurate inspections and properly fail vehicles that should fail, regardless of the vehicle age or mileage.

Why is my FPR so low, even though my results for the STAR short-term measures look good?

The first reason why short-term results can be different from the FPR results has to do with the time frame over which the inspection results generated by the station or inspector are being evaluated. The short-term performance measures evaluate inspection performance based upon the most recent calendar quarter of data. The FPR, however, evaluates the inspection performance for each station or inspector in the previous inspection cycle. As a result, the short-term performance measures are evaluating performance over a different time frame than the FPR. Consequently, differences between short-term results and FPR scores could result from things such as station personnel changes or station policy changes.

Other reasons why the short-term results can differ from the FPR scores are based upon the nature of the measures themselves, as is detailed below.

The short-term performance measures are designed to provide a simple litmus test of recent performance to evaluate stations (and the work done by their inspectors). It can be a great resource in helping a station identify problem areas and improve their overall performance in the Smog Check Program. For instance, if a station is failing to perform the fuel evaporative test on vehicles that should be tested, there is a short-term measure that can help a station identify that as an area needing improvement.

The short-term measures are not, however, comprehensive. For example, a station's inspectors can indicate in the analyzer that the ignition timing is adjustable for all vehicles tested at the station, and give that station a passing result on this performance measure. However, that does not mean that the station's inspectors actually performed the timing test, or that the timing test was performed accurately. Similarly, a station may have a low ASM restart rate, which would indicate that its inspectors don't appear to be trying to find ways to get vehicles that should otherwise fail to instead pass the test. At the same time, however, that station's inspectors may be routinely over-conditioning vehicles prior to starting the inspection. Neither the improper timing inspections, nor the habitual over-conditioning of vehicles, as well as other more serious violations, such as clean-piping, would be identified by the short-term measures.

For this reason, BAR felt it necessary to develop a more robust, long-term measure of station and inspector performance in the Smog Check Program. The result is FPR, a performance measure that evaluates both station and inspector behavior from inspection cycle to inspection cycle. Anything inspectors do to get a vehicle that should fail its Smog Check inspection to pass while still in a failing condition will start to affect their FPR score. Stations that want to score well on both the short-term measures and FPR will want to strive to always perform accurate Smog Check inspections.

Will an inspector's FPR score be affected if they go on an extended leave of absence?

The FPR measures whether vehicles certified previously by each station or inspector are passing in the current inspection cycle at a higher rate than average. Vehicles previously certified by higher performing stations and inspectors will tend to fail at a lower rate in the current inspection cycle.

Because the FPR reflects station and inspector performance on vehicles they previously certified, stations and inspectors do not have to be currently performing inspections in order to generate an FPR score. In addition, vehicles previously certified by a station or inspector do not have to be re-inspected by the same station and inspector in order for the vehicle to be evaluated under the FPR.

An inspector who takes a leave of absence for a period of time could still have an FPR score and that score could change based on the results in the current inspection cycle of vehicles the inspector previously certified. If, however, the inspector is on leave for a period of years, there will eventually be a point at which there are no longer any vehicles certified by the inspector to generate an FPR score. At that point, the inspector will cease to have an FPR score under the STAR Program. However, an inspector without an FPR score can still perform Smog Check inspections at a STAR station, provided that station has an FPR score of 0.40 or higher, or does not have an FPR score and the inspector with no score has been maintained in the station’s Inspector Information Table.

Is my station required to inspect poorly maintained vehicles?

No, stations are allowed to specialize in the type of vehicles that they inspect and repair, but must post the types of vehicles for which they offer services. Keep in mind that the FPR is based on comparing similar vehicles and conditions to all the other stations statewide. Vehicles with known maintenance problems can be directed to the Referee for inspection.

I can't control what happens to a vehicle after it leaves my shop. Won't this affect my FPR score?

Stations and inspectors have little control over what consumers do to their vehicles once the vehicle leaves their station. For this reason, it would be incorrect to evaluate a particular station's performance based upon how one, or even a few, vehicles performed during the next Smog Check inspection. For example, some properly inspected vehicles with passing emissions levels will fall into disrepair before their next Smog Check inspection. Conversely, other improperly certified high emitting vehicles may get fixed to run properly in their next inspection cycle. For this reason, the FPR measure is calculated using large amounts of data. This way, similar events like those just mentioned will tend to average out for all the stations and inspectors. Instead of the "one-of-a-kind" events, the trends associated with proper inspections versus improper inspections will determine the FPR scores.

My customer refused additional necessary repairs after their vehicle's emissions marginally passed Smog Check. Will this affect my FPR score and STAR certification?

The STAR Program does not consider after repair emissions levels in the evaluation any performance measures. In fact, repair data doesn't factor into the STAR Program evaluation at all. Still, the FPR measure under the STAR Program does consider whether or not vehicles certified by each station and inspector pass at a higher or lower rate than average in the next inspection cycle when compared to similar vehicles. Stations that make a habit of certifying vehicles with incomplete repairs (e.g., masking a fuel system problem with a new catalytic converter) may notice a lower FPR score in the long-term, but it is unlikely that this behavior alone would push the station or inspector's FPR score to an unacceptable level. Stations who want to improve their FPR score and become STAR certified should primarily focus on performing accurate Smog Check inspections according to the Smog Check Manual. If this is done, the marginal vehicles needing additional repairs will be less of a factor in the overall FPR calculations.

If the FPR evaluates how vehicles previously certified by stations and inspectors are performing in the current inspection cycle, how are new stations and inspectors evaluated under this performance measure?

Smog Check stations and inspectors with low inspection volumes, including newly licensed stations and inspectors, will not receive an FPR score. An FPR score will only be generated once there is a sufficient volume of follow-up inspections performed on vehicles previously certified by that station or inspector.

A new station is eligible for STAR certification when the station or inspector’s FPR score is at least 0.40, and all other eligibility requirements are met.

My Smog Check station offers a "free retest" to consumers who fail their initial Smog Check at my station. Will this policy affect my STAR certification, and if so, how?

Stations offering "free retests" provide two inspections for the price of one whenever a vehicle fails its initial inspection. This can cut into station profits, especially at busy stations where shop owners must forgo additional work to perform the retests. A station's eligibility for the STAR Program could be jeopardized in situations where stations and inspectors perform incomplete or inaccurate Smog Check inspections to avoid having to provide "free retests."

Can't find the answer to your question? Contact the BAR Industry Help Desk at bar.industryhelpdesk@dca.ca.gov.