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Smog Check Cost


How Much Does a Smog Check Cost?

 
average costEmissions Test: Free-$90+high costEmissions-Related Repairs: $100-$3,500+
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All states have emission limits which vehicles cannot exceed, and most states now require some sort of periodic smog check (also called an emissions test). Typically, a vehicle's exhaust system is tested for the number and type of pollutants emitted by the vehicle, as well as checking that all parts related to emissions control are connected and functioning correctly.

Typical costs:

  • Requirements and costs vary by state, and often from county to county within a state; if a smog check or emissions test is required, it might be provided free in some states or can cost $30-$90 or more at a certified private facility.
  • For example, Pennsylvania[1] requires an annual emissions check, generally done at the same time as the mandatory annual safety inspection; exact testing varies by regions within the state, but the combined tests typically cost $35-$90.
  • New Jersey[2] requires an emissions check every other year for vehicles at least five years old or older, as part of the vehicle registration renewal process; the emissions check is offered free of charge at state-operated inspection station or can cost $20-$60 or more at a private facility.
  • Out of 254 Texas[3] counties, 17 require an annual emissions test, done at the same time as the mandatory annual safety inspection; this typically costs $24-$40.
  • A smog check in California[4] typically costs $30-$90; this may include all fees, or there can be additional charges such as about $8 for a state certificate fee once the vehicle passes the test, or an electronic transmission fee (about $1-$3) for transmitting the vehicle's information via a dedicated phone line. About 18 out of 58 California counties do not require a smog check; six require a smog check only in certain zip codes and the remaining 34 counties require a smog check every two or when a vehicle more than four years old is sold.
  • If the vehicle doesn't pass the emissions test, repairs can cost $100-$3,500 or more, depending on what is needed. For example, a complete tune-up with new spark plugs, wires, fuel filter, air filter and more can cost $200-$800 or more. Replacing a failed catalytic converter can cost $300-$3,000, depending on the year, make and model of vehicle, but averages about $1,000.
Related articles: Tune-up, Catalytic Converter

What should be included:
  • The type of emissions testing required varies by state, and often by the age, make and model of vehicle. For example, in some Texas[5] counties, older vehicles must have a tailpipe (ASM or TSI) test and new vehicles undergo a computerized On Board Diagnostics procedure.
Discounts:
  • States may offer assistance with emission-related repairs for low-income owners, put a maximum on the amount an owner has to pay for repairs or pay a set amount to "retire" a failed vehicle. For example, California[6] will pay up to $500 for emissions-related repairs for qualified motorists or $1,000-$1,500 to take a vehicle that failed the smog check off the streets. Illinois[7] will waive the emissions check requirement if a vehicle has failed at least two tests, the owner has spent a minimum of $450 on emission-related repairs from a recognized repair technician, all the vehicle's emission control devices are properly connected and operating, and proper paperwork is presented.
Shopping for a smog check:
  • DMV.org (a privately owned website not associated with any state government) lists smog and emission rules by state[8] .
  • Most states maintain a searchable database of smog or emissions-testing stations, such as those provided by California[9] , Illinois[10] , Texas[11] or Wisconsin[12] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.dmv.state.pa.us/inspections/emissions.shtml
  2.  www.nj.gov/mvc/Inspections/Understanding.htm
  3.  www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/vi/inspection/inspectionCriteria.aspx
  4.  www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/smog.htm
  5.  www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/vi/consumerinfo/emissionTesting.htm
  6.  www.bar.ca.gov/80_BARResources/01_CAP&GoldShield/Factsheets/Website%20CAP%20FAQs.pdf
  7.  www.epa.state.il.us/air/vim/faq/failure.html#11
  8.  www.dmv.org/smog-check.php
  9.  www.bar.ca.gov/pubwebquery/Station/StationList.aspx
  10.  www.epa.state.il.us/air/vim/locations.html
  11.  www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/vi/misc/rerf/emissionRepairLocator.aspx
  12.  www.wisconsinvip.org/WivipPublic/
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