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Why Are Smog Checks Mandatory?

In 1982, the California state government implemented their emissions program in order to come into compliance with Federal law, a program often referred to as the “smog check.” Vehicles are required to undergo a mandatory smog check at certified smog check stations in order to determine if their emissions currently meet the standard. If they do not, a technician can diagnose and solve any problems that a car may have.

Many drivers wonder why they must undergo a check each year. It is, in large part, required to ensure that their vehicle's emissions have not changed over the course of the last 12 months. Roadway debris and weather can significantly affect a car, and so the state government mandates testing.

Smog check stations must be certified in order to operate. Once certified, these stations can grant a California Emissions Certificate, which permits a car to be on the road. Stations are equipped with the technology to analyze exhaust from vehicles, the main component of smog; and then determine how a vehicle can be fixed in order to correct the problem. Mandatory smog checks not only help vehicles, but also assist in keeping the roads safe and clean.

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