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February 18, 2020
Vehicle with smog problems that needs to be tested and fixed at auto smog check shop.

How to Find the Best Smog Testing in San Rafael CA

With California's car emission laws, every car must have a smog check periodically. Older cars may have more difficulty passing a smog test, but good smog test centers can give you recommendations on how to meet California emissions guidelines. There are many smog test stations in Marin County and good smog test technicians can perform your smog emissions test quickly and efficiently. The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best smog testing in Marin County and issues related to smog checks.

The TOP 10 Smog Check Centers in Marin County CA

Strawberry Smog Test Only

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570 Redwood Hwy Frontage Rd
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Areas Served: San Rafael CA, Mill Valley CA, Ross CA, Sausalito CA,…
Services: car emission testing, smog repair

Northbay Smog

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700 Tamalpais Dr
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Areas Served: Marin County incl. San Rafael CA, Novato CA, Mill Valley…
Services: smog station for smog testing & smog repairs, emission repairs

Smog Check Stations

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2001 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Fairfax, CA 94930

Areas Served: San Rafael CA, Larkpur, Woodacre, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Novato, Tiburon,…
Services: certified smog station, smog checks & smog repairs

How to Find the Best Smog Testing in San Rafael CA

Smog check stations in Marin County CA must be licensed by the state of California as protection for consumers. They are not required by law to have liability insurance; however, all emission testing services bearing The Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten symbol do have liability insurance coverage to reimburse you in the event of any damage to your vehicle, in addition to passing all other requirements for Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten status, such as survey phone calls to previous customers verifying high satisfaction, hiring only documented workers, verified license, clean complaint record, and more.

Getting Vehicle Smog Tests in Marin County CA
Passing the smog test is important because the California DMV requires owners to present a smog certificate, a document detailing emissions test results, within 90 days of renewing vehicle registration.

Another important aspect of emissions testing in Marin County is whether or not the smog check station can, if your vehicle fails to pass a smog test, fix your vehicle so it can pass the smog test. Smog Test Only stations are prohibited by law from performing diagnosis or repairs of any kind. Others known as Test-and-Repair stations are licensed to perform official smog inspections and smog repairs.

As of January 1 2013, the Gold Shield Smog Check Station program has been replaced by STAR stations. Some STAR smog stations are licensed as test-only and others are licensed to do both smog tests and repairs. Your DMV registration renewal notice might state your vehicle requires a smog check at a STAR station, which makes yours a directed vehicle because it has been proactively directed to a STAR certified station. Additionally, vehicles that fail an emissions test at very high emission levels are considered gross polluters and must receive certification specifically from a STAR-certified station.

Check Out the Choices of Smog Check Stations in San Rafael CA
There are many auto smog check centers to choose from, ranging from the cheap smog inspection stations to those smog test shops that can perform repairs to guarantee a smog check pass. The Prime Buyer's Report lists contact information for the following smog check stations in Marin County: Strawberry Smog Test Only Mill Valley CA, Northbay Smog Corte Madera CA, Smog Check Stations Fairfax CA, Marin Sports & Imports, Inc. San Rafael CA, Japan Auto Repair Inc San Rafael CA. Other smog test stations that might still serve Marin County include: .

Some Smog Check Services in Marin County Are A Better Value Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these smog check stations in Marin County CA: Strawberry Smog Test Only Mill Valley CA, Northbay Smog Corte Madera CA, Smog Check Stations Fairfax CA, Marin Sports & Imports, Inc. San Rafael CA, Japan Auto Repair Inc San Rafael CA. Other shops for smog testing in San Rafael CA that might still be in business include: .

A Guide To Finding Good Smog Test Centers in Marin County CA

Step 1: Understand the Rules of Smog Testing in Marin County CA
You may think your car drives exactly the same as it did when you last passed a smog check, but drivability doesn't mean your car will pass a required smog test.

If your vehicle is fairly new, you don't necessarily need to provide a California smog certificate, but if your vehicle is older, it may not pass smog even though it passed last year. If you are aware of any problems or symptoms that could affect your car's ability to pass a smog check, describe those symptoms clearly and accurately to the smog test technician at local smog testing centers.

Step 2: Ask & Answer Questions of the Smog Test Stations in Marin County
The Marin County smog center you visit should ask about any emissions system symptoms and your history with the vehicle, any previous problems, and even driving habits.

Choose questions from the list below to ask your local smog testing garage so you can make a smart decision on the best smog center for you and your vehicle. Take notes on the answers you receive.

  • How long has your local smog check centers been providing smog tests in Marin County?
  • Does this smog testing locations often do smog tests and/or repairs on my particular model/year of car?
  • If there is a problem passing the smog test, can your smog testing location fix the problem once you've found it? Or is this a test-only smog center?
  • Will you contact the DMV to report my vehicle's smog test results? Or do I need to send in the smog certificate?
  • If you provide repairs, does your smog testing shop use original equipment (OEM) parts, other new parts, or used parts?
  • Will work performed by your smog shop affect my manufacturer's warranty?
  • Will you provide a written, itemized estimate for the smog test and any needed smog repairs?
  • Will your Marin County smog test station provide a written contract for the smog test and smog repairs?
  • What process do you go through to price the smog test and any emissions system repair work?
  • What type of warranty on smog testing and for smog work will you provide?
  • How long should it take to complete the smog test and any needed emissions repairs?
  • Do you provide loaner cars while my vehicle is being smogged if it's going to take longer than the standard test?
  • If the smog repair work involves a damaged component, what was the failure? Will you show me the old part?

Step 3: The Preliminary Decision Among Good Smog Testing Stations in Marin County CA
After you've interviewed good smog check stations in Marin County, narrow the field. Remember that a good smog technician should be working with you to help get your vehicle smogged and registered.

Step 4: Final Research on Local Smog Test Centers in San Rafael CA
Make sure you've got all the information you need before deciding on the best local smog testing center for you. What credentials do the local smog centers have? What about the smog check employees? Does the smogging company have a good reputation? Verify licensing, insurance, and other certifications.

Step 5: The Final Decision on the Best Smog Testing Centers in Marin County For Your Vehicle
Call with any final questions. If your vehicle will be repaired by the smog station, ask the mechanic to provide a written and signed pricing, timing, quality, and warranty agreement.

Resources About Smog Checks in Marin County

Regulatory Bodies & Trade Associations Related to Smog Testing in Marin County CA
AAA American Automobile Association (
AASP Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (
ADS American Driving Society (
AIAG Automotive Industry Action Group (
ALA American Lung Association of California (
APAA Automotive Parts & Accessories Association (
ARB California Air Resources Board (
ASA Automotive Service Association (
ASE Automotive Service Excellence (
BAR Bureau of Automotive Repair: Smog Check Menu (
BBB Better Business Bureau (
CARB California Air Resources Board (
CSAA California State Automobile Association (
Diamond Certified (
STS Service Technicians Society (

Media Regarding Vehicle Smog Checks in Marin County

4wd Magazine
Automotive News
Automotive News
Automotive Rebuilder
Brake & Front End
Car and Driver
Car Mechanics Magazine
Detroit News
Import Car
Motor Age
Motor Trend
Popular Hot Rodding
Rebuilder Direct
Recyclers World
Road And Track
Super Chevy
Street Rodder
Today's SUV
Turbo And High Performance Magazine
Underhood Service
US Auto News
VW Trends

The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the Top Ten Smog Test Centers in Marin County CA within the following zip codes:

94976, 94915, 94913, 94942, 94912, 94977, 94964, 94938, 94963, 94914, 94979, 94933, 94957, 94973, 94978, 94950, 94971, 94929, 94948, 94966, 94941, 94925, 94970, 94924, 94940, 94901, 94945, 94903, 94974, 94920, 94965, 94960, 94949, 94939, 94956, 94937, 94947, 94904, 94946 and 94930


The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the Top Ten Smog Check Shops in Marin County CA within the following cities:

94976, 94915, 94913, 94942, 94912, 94977, 94964, 94938, 94963, 94914, 94979, 94933, 94957, 94973, 94978, 94950, 94971, 94929, 94948, 94966, 94941, 94925, 94970, 94924, 94940, 94901, 94945, 94903, 94974, 94920, 94965, 94960, 94949, 94939, 94956, 94937, 94947, 94904, 94946 and 94930

Tips About Smog Check Stations in San Rafael CA

Don't Smog Test Your Vehicle in Poor Condition.
If your vehicle sputters, stalls, or is otherwise running poorly, don't expect to pass an emissions test. Your smog inspection fee will be money wasted when the vehicle fails inspection. Repairing any obvious problems with your vehicle before going in for a smog test will greatly improve your chances of passing your smog test and receiving your smog certification.

Warm Up the Engine Before Your Smog Test.
A warmed-up engine will usually produce better emissions testing results. Internal-combustion engines need time to warm up in order to ensure efficient burning of the fuel in the cylinders. An warmed-up engine running at optimum levels will improve your chances of passing a smog test in Marin County and beyond.

Try Over-the-Counter Products Before Taking Your Car to a Local Smog Center.
Fuel additives can be an ally in improving engine efficiency and lowering smog levels. Additives can clear carbon deposits and intake and exhaust systems helping fuel and air flow more freely and increasing your chances of passing a smog test. Talk to your local Marin County smog testing center about what you can proactively do before coming for emissions testing that may help your vehicle perform better during the test and during daily driving.

Perform Routine Maintenance Prior to Having a Smog Check.
In certain California counties, enhanced inspections require local smog stations to run vehicles on a dynamometer. Make sure your tires are inflated evenly to recommended pressures to ensure top performance. Also, have an oil change before your test so your engine is running at top efficiency. This can help your vehicle perform better during the required smog test and can keep it running smoother between smog checks.

Find Out if Your Vehicle Actually Needs a Smog Check.
Every time a vehicle is initially registered, and every two years after that, a smog check is required under California law. This applies to vehicles produced after 1976 that are powered by gasoline, propane, natural gas, and ethanol. Vehicles produced in 1975 or before are exempt from California's emissions laws. Vehicles four or six model-years old or newer are not required to perform a smog check until the vehicle is five or seven years old (unless the vehicle is sold or registered for the first time in California). Other exemptions include: Vehicles with diesel engines, vehicles with two-cycle engines, vehicles with engines smaller than 50 cubic inches of displacement, electric vehicles, and motorcycles, as well as hybrids.

Check Up On Local Smog Test Centers.
For all smog checks in San Rafael CA, be sure to check licensing, liability insurances, and any other relevant credentials before you sign. Understand that Test Only smog checks are performed at special facilities that are prohibited from performing repairs. This can help you get unbiased smog testing results, as the smog test only facilities have nothing to gain from failing a vehicle.

Keep In Touch With Your Smog Test Center.
When you have the slightest doubt about how a job is going, ask questions. As the vehicle's owner, you have the right to know about all aspects of the emissions testing process and smog testing equipment. Marin County CA smog testing technicians can answer many questions about whether a vehicle will pass its smog check and may be able to offer valuable advice on how to improve your vehicle's performance during future smog checks.

Research on Smog Testing in San Rafael CA

Common Smog Check Terms

  • Emission Control System - A vehicle exhaust system and the components that reduce smog. The exhaust system control components include: evaporative emissions and tailpipe emissions.
  • Exhaust / Exhaust Emissions - Pollutants comprising smog that are harmful to people and the environment, including lead, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides.
  • Exhaust Analyzer - The smog check service device that uses infrared energy to determine the composition of engine exhaust gases during a smog test. Exhaust analyzers found in smog check centers include a two-gas type that measures hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide and a four-gas type, which measures oxygen and carbon dioxide.
  • Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) - An emissions-control system that reduces smog by suppressing the production of nitrogen oxides and diluting the air / fuel mixture with exhaust gas so that cylinder combustion temperatures are lowered.
  • Exhaust Manifold - A component, usually made of cast iron, with passages that carry exhaust gases from exhaust ports to the exhaust system header.
  • Exhaust System - An auto exhaust system including tubing, mufflers, and catalytic converters that directs exhaust gases.