Costopedia / Automotive / How Much Does a Smog Check Cost?

How Much Does a Smog Check Cost?

$ Smog Check: $20 to $90 $ $ $ Repairs: $100 to $3,500+

As the number of people increased overtime in the last 20 years, the number of vehicles multiplied even more through those years, negatively impacting the environment.

Vehicles that have a combustion engine consume gasoline or diesel as fuel to work; these fossil fuels release chemicals like CO2, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and others in the air, contributing to air pollution and contamination.

Although engines have evolved, harmful emissions are still being released into the atmosphere, negatively impacting air quality, impacting people’s health.

Why Do I Have To Performed A Smog Check?

Smog Checks are mandatory in 33 of the 50 states, each of them having an emission limit that vehicles shouldn’t exceed (YourMechanic lists them all in this article)

They are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose goal is to protect public health and the environment from the dangerous effects of air pollution, and are performed at emissions-testing stations.

The goal of EPA has by doing this check is to protect public health and the environment caused by air pollution, which is produced by vehicles engines and released into the air; all the parts of the car related to the emissions production and control are checked.

The maximum amount of emissions a car should produce vary depending on each state; California is the state that takes the quality of its air the most seriously; that’s why they have the most rigorous Smog Check controls.

California has set the standard of Smog Check by having the toughest among all the 50 states of the United States; other states have either adopted California’s emission standard or Federal’s emission standards.

So, When Does My Car Need A Smog Check?

Most states require a Smog Check or emission test every two years, but not all vehicles need it.

A smog check is required depending on the type of vehicle you have (electric cars don’t need it), the model (if it’s older than the sixth model), and where’s the car registered (you can look at to know about your state regulations).

The smog check price can go from $20 to $90, including the emissions check, the safety inspection, and the vehicle registration renewal process.

As said before, prices will vary depending on the type and model of the vehicle and, especially, depending on the region within the state the car is registered.

Estate Emissions Check Average Costs
Pennsylvania $35 – $90
New Jersey $20 – $60
Texas $24 – $40
California $30 – $90

Things to Consider

Before Buying:

  1. First, check with your local transportation authority or DMV to know about your state’s emissions regulation.
  2. Some states can offer some assistance with emission-related repairs for low-income owners, so check your state’s regulations.
  3. Some tips can help you before taking the test so you can pass it without problems. This article made by USA Today explains some of them.

When Buying: 

  1. The type of car you have and how old it is determined the type of emissions test it requires. They vary depending on the requirements of your state. Usually, older vehicles have a tailpipe (ASM or TSI) test, and newer vehicles undergo a computerized On-Board Diagnostics procedure (OBD).
  2. This procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes to perform.
  3. The professional performing the smog test on your car will check your vehicle in three parts: a visual inspection of emissions control components and systems, a functional inspection of the vehicle’s check engine light, ignition timing, exhaust gas recirculation system, fuel evaporative system, and visible smoke, and a functional examination of the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system (unless they don’t have it).

After Buying:

  1. After the inspection, you will receive a copy of the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) with your test results, and if your vehicle passes, you will receive a certificate of compliance.
  2. Check the recommended time to perform a smog test in your state to schedule your next one.
  3. If, in any case, your vehicle happens to fail the test, here’s an article of some possible reasons why that happened. Then you’ll have to solve the cause of your failed test, and repairs can cost $100 to $3,500 or more, depending on what’s needed.
Giovanna Soto