What is an Emissions Test?

Smog test or Emissions test

Emissions testing is otherwise referred to as a smog check. Your vehicle features an onboard computer that monitors engine performance in relation to fuel, spark, and air. Emissions tests ensure that this computer is operating properly, as well as to measure the levels of pollutants like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, oxygen, and oxides of nitrogen. These pollutants are found in vehicle exhausts, and emissions tests gauge whether your car is exceeding the legal levels of these pollutants. Below, the service experts at Elk Grove Hyundai will answer the following questions: 

  • Do I need an emissions test?
  • How long does an emissions test take? 
  • How much is an emissions test? 


Do I Need an Emissions Test? 

The state of California requires that motorists complete an emissions test every two years. If you’ve recently moved to the state, you must get a California smog inspection before you register your vehicle. Unless your vehicle is exempt from a California emissions test, if you fail to get an emissions test, it is not legally drivable in the state.

What Vehicles Are Except From a California Emissions Test? 

As mentioned above, California requires most gas and diesel vehicles to get an emissions test. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Your vehicle does not require an emissions test if it is any of the following:

  • A gasoline-powered vehicle that is a 1975-year model or older (This includes motorcycles and trailers).
  • A diesel-powered vehicle that is a 1997 and older year model OR with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 14,000 pounds.
  • A vehicle powered by natural gas that weighs more than 14,000 pounds. 
  • An electric vehicle.
  • A gasoline-powered vehicle and less than eight model-years old. 

What California Counties Require a Smog Check Certification?

There are some California counties that require vehicles to participate in a smog inspection certification program and submit evidence of smog certification every other year. The certificate is a printout that details the vehicle’s results from the emissions test. In order to renew your vehicle’s registration, the following counties require this California smog inspection certification:

  • Alameda
  • Butte
  • Colusa
  • Contra Cost
  • Fresno 
  • Glenn
  • Kern
  • Kings
  • Los Angeles 
  • Madera 
  • Marin
  • Merced
  • Monterey
  • Napa 
  • Nevada 
  • Orange 
  • Sacramento
  • San Benito 
  • San Francisco 
  • San Joaquin
  • San Luis Obispo
  • San Mateo 
  • Santa Barbara 
  • Santa Clara 
  • Santa Cruz 
  • Shasta 
  • Solano
  • Stanislaus
  • Sutter 
  • Tahama
  • Tulare 
  • Ventura 
  • Yolo
  • Yuba 

There are certain California counties that that only require residents within specific zip codes to get California smog inspections. These counties are:

  • Sonoma
  • San Bernardino
  • El Dorado 
  • San Diego 
  • Placer
  • Riverside 

How Much is an Emissions Test? 

Whether you need a Sacramento smog check or an Elk Grove smog check, your location and the kind of vehicle you drive will determine the price of your emissions test. However, you can expect to pay anywhere between $29.95 to $69.95 for your emissions test, and this price may not include the price of the smog certificate, which is $8.25. 

Newer vehicles (six or fewer years old), have a $20 abatement fee is due each year to avoid the smog check. For classic vehicles (1975 and older), drivers will have to pay a $200 abatement fee. It’s recommended that owners of older vehicles try to pass the emissions test first, since passing it will be cheaper than paying the abatement fee. This fee does not apply to diesel vehicles from 1998 or newer, specially constructed vehicles from 1976, or newer or nonresident vehicles.

How Long Does an Emissions Test Take? 

Emissions tests usually take 15 to 30 minutes. However, because there are no federal requirements for emissions tests, each state and municipality establishes its own standards for emission testing and these times can vary. The more requirements set by the state, the longer the test will take. 

What Happens if You Fail a California Emissions Test?

If you fail your California smog inspection, your vehicle cannot be driven, and you must get the repairs needed to pass the test. Once you get these repairs done, another test will be conducted to determine if your car is up to the proper standards. 

Schedule an Elk Grove Smog Check at Elk Grove Hyundai

If your vehicle is due for an emissions test, or you’re looking for a location where you can get an Elk Grove vehicle inspection, visit the service center at Elk Grove Hyundai. We’re located just a short drive from Sacramento and Natomas, so you don’t have to travel far when you need your next California emissions test. Our technicians will ensure that your vehicle meets the necessary requirements. 

While you’re here, explore our service specials to save on everything from an oil changes to brake repair. We’re proud to serve as your number one Elk Grove Hyundai service center near Roseville! 

How Long Does an Emissions Test Take?

Usually, emissions tests take 15 to 30 minutes. However, there are no federal requirements for emissions tests. So, each state and municipality can set set its own standards for emissions testing; testing times can vary. Naturally, the more requirements set by the state, the longer the test will take. 

How Much is an Emissions Test? 

The price of emissions testing varies from state to state, but typically costs between $15 and $30. Usually, the cost is on the lower side if emissions testing is required yearly. 

Schedule an Emissions Test at Elk Grove Hyundai 

If your vehicle is due for emissions testing, or you’re concerned about your car’s emissions, contact our service center at Elk Grove Hyundai or schedule a service visit online. We can answer any questions you may have about emissions testing requirements in Elk Grove. While you’re here, browse our service specials for offers on Hyundai OEM parts and services your vehicle needs. 


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