If you’re new to California, you’ll quickly become aware of the term smog. No, we don’t mean the air you find in the Bay Area, but this refers to a law that requires your vehicle to be smog checked. This is essentially a test of your vehicle and its engine emissions performed at a licensed smog testing facility.
Because of the population of California and so many pollutants in the air, the state requires more than a standard emissions check that you’ll find in most other states. Governed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this test is enforced the most in California. This is why it’s common to see auto repair shops offer smog checks.
In Sacramento alone you’ll likely find a smog inspection shop on every corner, so how do you know which ones are reliable?
Look for State Accreditation
To become an official state-approved smogging station requires a shop owner to maintain certain standards and fill out paperwork for the state on a routine basis. Not every shop can claim they are an official smogging station. Any shop that doesn’t proudly show they are approved by the State of California likely hasn’t maintained their license. What this means for you as a customer is that your vehicle might not be compliant. Be sure to look for shops showing their state credentials.
Look for Reviews Online
People in Sacramento are quick to leave reviews of businesses they like. They are also quick to leave reviews of businesses they don’t like. You can easily find several reviews online of different shops in town with positive or negative ratings. Be sure to check on sites like Google, Facebook and Yelp to find reviews from real customers. These reviews will indicate whether or not a shop is trustworthy and give you the confidence to take your vehicle there.
Get Information from the DMV
Given that the DMV requires smog inspections to be compliant with state laws, you are also welcome to ask the DMV for a list of preferred shops. While they might favor a few depending on which DMV you go to (i.e., the DMV in Folsom will recommend shops in the Folsom, Granite Bay and El Dorado Hills area), you can rest assured these shops are approved by the DMV.
Take Your Car to the Dealership
Depending on the age of your car and where you purchased it (if you bought from a dealership), most dealerships are smog certified. Additionally, the dealership will be more familiar with your vehicle’s specifics and may get you on your way quicker. And if the car happens to fail its smog inspection, the dealership will be able to provide the best recommendations to get things fixed.
Speaking of, what should you do if your vehicle fails a smog?
Failing a Smog Inspection – What You Can Do
It’s inevitable that a vehicle will fail this type of emissions check. However, the shop providing the inspection will provide a list of what needs to be fixed and how long you have to fix it before the suggestions expire. Remember, a shop is responsible for your vehicle just as much as you are when it comes to smogging, so they’ll only recommend what really needs to be fixed. Imagine a smog check station failing vehicles over and over again – it wouldn’t look good for their accreditation to the state.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to find where to smog your car in Sacramento. Depending on you choose service providers, you’ll have plenty of options to validate a shop and make the best decision for your car.