Joe's Smog Check & Test Only Station

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 Joe's Smog Check & Test Only Star Station

10909 Burbank North Hollywood Ca 91601

(818) 760 - 0703

We Perform ALL Types of Smog Checks Required By the Ca DMV for 2000 to 2017 Cars Trucks and SUVs

5 Min Smog Checks - PASS or Don't Pay

First come - First served basis 

We Do NOT Accept Appointments - Walk In Waiting List Only

M-F: 9:00am to 6:00pm Sat: 9:00am to 2:00pm

Joe's Smog Check & Test Only Station
10909 Burbank BLvd
North Hollywood, Ca 91601
Phone (818) 760-0703


What to do if the "check engine" light goes on

The Number 1 REASON for SMOG CHECK Failure is due To:

Don't go for a state emissions test. In a late-model car, an illuminated "check engine" light is a sure sign your car will fail the test.In California, it's an automatic failure, even if the problem was nothing more than a loose gas cap. By the way, don't bother trying to fool the inspection station by disconnecting the battery or using any other method to erase the trouble code and turn off the "check engine" light.Your vehicle's computer will let the inspection station know that its codes have been erased, and the vehicle will fail the states emission inspection test. You must perform a drive cycle after the repairs are performed before going back to the inspection station.
A Drive Cycle is a special test drive that duplicates a person starting their car and making a short freeway trip, as if they were driving to work (Example: 150 Freeway Miles at the Speed Limit). While this special test drive or 'Drive Cycle' is occurring, the Engine Computer runs little tests or Readiness Monitors that check to see if the Emissions System is working properly.

You're driving along in your car or truck and suddenly a yellow light illuminates on your dash telling you to check or service your engine. If you're like most car owners, you have little idea about what that light is trying to tell you or exactly how you should react.

Call it the most misunderstood indicator on your dashboard, the "check engine" light can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine.

"It doesn't mean you have to pull the car over to the side of the road and call a tow truck. It does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible," says Dave Cappert of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a Virginia-based organization that tests and certifies auto technicians.

Ignore the warning, and you could end up damaging expensive components. It also can be a sign that your car is getting poor fuel economy and emitting higher levels of pollutants.

What the Light Means

The "check engine" light is part of your car's so-called onboard diagnostics (OBD) system. Since the 1980s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed (RPM), fuel mixture, and ignition timing. In some cars, the computer also tells the automatic transmission when to shift.

When it finds a problem in the electronic-control system that it can't correct, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator that's labeled "check engine," "service engine soon" or "check powertrain." Or the light may be nothing more than a picture of an engine, known as the International Check Engine Symbol, perhaps with the word "Check." In addition to turning on the light, the computer stores a "trouble code" in its memory that identifies the source of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine. The code can be read with an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer, standard equipment in auto repair shops. There are also a number of relatively inexpensive code readers that are designed for do-it-yourselfers.

Manufacturers originally used the OBD system to help technicians pinpoint and troubleshoot malfunctions. But the systems now are required under federal laws governing automotive emissions. Although larger trucks have been exempt from the requirement, that quickly is changing.

"The 'check engine' light is reserved only for powertrain problems that could have an impact on the emissions systems," says John Van Gilder, General Motors' lead OBD development engineer.

Exactly what the OBD system looks for depends on the make, model and year. The original systems varied widely in their capabilities. Some did little more than check whether the various electronic sensors and actuators were hooked up and working.

That changed by 1996, when, under OBD II regulations, carmakers were required to install a much more sophisticated system that essentially acts like a built-in state emissions testing station. The computer monitors and adjusts dozens of components and processes. For example, it continually samples exhaust emissions as they come out of the engine and again when they leave the catalytic converter, a device that removes carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon pollutants from the exhaust. The system also monitors your car's fuel system to ensure that gasoline vapors are not escaping into the atmosphere through a leak or even a loose or missing gas cap. In most cases, if a problem occurs, the computer will wait to see if it corrects itself before turning on the light. Modern OBD II systems are so thorough that state testing centers increasingly are checking for any stored trouble codes and foregoing the traditional tailpipe emissions test.

Some states are considering an advanced OBD system that would allow them to do away with emissions testing. If the "check engine" light comes on, the system automatically would send a remote signal to state officials, who would contact motorists who don't have the problem corrected within a reasonable amount of time. Privacy advocates are criticizing the idea as being too intrusive. Depending on the system, officials might be able to trace where the vehicle had been. Proponents say the system would free motorists from the time and expense of having to undergo annual or biennial emission testing, and it would help ensure that emission-related problems are detected and fixed more quickly.

Remote diagnostics already can be found on GM vehicles equipped with the OnStar communications system. When the "check engine" light goes on, GM car owners can notify an OnStar representative, who can read the trouble code and provide advice.

What to do

If your "check engine" light illuminates don't react like one Connecticut motorist, who simply poured an extra quart of engine oil into her 2002 Toyota Corolla. Although extreme situations, such as low oil pressure or an overheating engine, might trigger a "check engine" light, your dashboard has other lights and gauges to warn you about those problems and probably a lot sooner. The best advice is to read your owner's manual beforehand and learn the purpose of the "check engine" light and every other gauge and warning indicator on your dashboard. Periodically, you also should test the "check engine" light and other dashboard warning lights. Usually, you can do this by turning the key to the key-on/engine-off position. Consult the owner's manual for more information. Replace any bulbs that aren't working.

If the "check engine" light illuminates, it will either blink or remain constant, depending on the problem. Either way, you should have the vehicle checked by a mechanic, although a blinking light or, on some cars, a red light instead of a yellow/orange light indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. In late-model cars, a blinking light usually indicates an engine misfire so severe that unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust system, where it can quickly damage the catalytic converter, requiring an expensive repair. If that happens, you should reduce power and have the car or truck looked at as soon as possible. If the light is steady, the problem is not an emergency, but you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Today's automotive computers often try to compensate when there's a problem; so you may not notice deterioration in performance, even though your fuel mileage is suffering and your vehicle is emitting unacceptable levels of hydrocarbons and other pollutants.

"The customer is really, in the long run, potentially hurting their pocket book by leaving that light on and ignoring it," says Jim Collins, a national training team leader for Ford Motor Company. In some extreme cases, the car's computer may reduce power for you, as it tries to limit the risk of damage.

If the check-engine light comes on, here are some tips on what you should do:

  • Look for a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Check your dashboard gauges and lights for indications of low oil pressure or overheating. These conditions mean you should pull over and shut off the engine as soon as you can find a safe place to do so. On some cars, a yellow "check engine" means investigate the problem, while a red "check engine" means stop right now.

  • Try tightening your gas cap. This often solves the problem. Keep in mind that it may take several trips before the light resets. Some vehicles have a separate indicator that warns of a loose gas cap before the condition sets off the "check engine" light.

  • Reduce speed and load. If the "check engine" light is blinking or you notice any serious performance problems, such as a loss of power, reduce your speed and try to reduce the load on the engine. For example, it would be a good idea to stop towing a trailer. Have the car checked as soon as possible to prevent expensive damage.

  • Contact OnStar, if available. If you have a 1997 or later General Motors vehicle equipped with OnStar and an active OnStar subscription, contact an advisor who can read the trouble code remotely and advise you about what to do.

  • Have the code read and the problem fixed. If you want to diagnose the malfunction yourself, you can buy a scan tool at most auto parts stores. Prices range from about $40 to several hundred, depending on the model and the features. The tools come with instructions on how to hook them up and decipher the codes. But unless you have a good knowledge of automotive diagnostics, you're probably better off taking the vehicle to a professional. Some automotive parts stores will read and interpret the code for you without charge. Unless there is an easy fix, they may simply refer you to a mechanic.

Do I Really Need A Smog Check?"


Not all vehicles must get a Smog Check. Additionally, some vehicles only need a Smog Check when they are being sold or being registered in California after previously being registered in another state. Whether or not a vehicle needs a Smog Check depends on the type of vehicle, the model-year, and the area in which the vehicle is registered.

Some vehicles are exempt from the Smog Check program

Legislation enacted during 2004 made several changes in motor vehicle Smog Check exemptions that will become effective next year. Following is a summary of the revised exemptions and the effective date of each change:

Beginning January 1, 2005, vehicles 6 or less model-years old are exempt from the biennial Smog Check inspection requirement.

Beginning January 1, 2005, vehicles 4 or less model-years old are exempt from the Smog Check inspection requirement upon change of ownership and transfer of title transactions with DMV.

Beginning April 1, 2005, the 30-year rolling exemption has been repealed. Instead, vehicles 1975 model-year and older will be exempt. Therefore, 1976 model-year and newer vehicles will continue to be subject to biennial inspection indefinitely.

Beginning April 1, 2005, vehicles being initially registered in California that were previously registered in another state are exempt if the vehicle is a 1975 and older model-year vehicle. Newer vehicles, the first 6 model years, are not exempted upon initial registration in California. These vehicles are required to undergo a Smog Check Inspection.

Yes, I need a Smog Check

Change of Ownership Areas vs. Basic and Enhanced Areas

Most areas of the state require vehicles to have a Smog Check performed every two years, when being sold, and when being initially registered in California. These areas are referred to as the state's Basic and Enhanced Areas. However, Change of Ownership Areas only require a Smog Check when the vehicle is being sold or initially registered in California. You can determine the Smog Check area you are in by calling the Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair toll-free at 1-800-952-5210

Yes, I need a Smog Check

How do I know if my vehicle needs a Smog Check?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will note on your DMV Renewal Notice whether a Smog Check is required to reregister your vehicle. In addition, an information insert explaining the Smog Check Program requirements should be included in that mailing.

No Smog Check required on sales within immediate family

Section 4000.1 (d)(2) of the California Vehicle Code exempts from the change of ownership Smog Check requirement vehicles being sold or transferred between certain family members, such as parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, or spouses.

Current law exempts vehicles 30-model-years old and older from the Smog Check program.

The Consumer Assistance Program is available at participating Gold Shield stations for motorists who need assistance (up to $500) in repairing a vehicle when it fails a biennial (every other year) Smog Check. Click here to learn more about the Consumer Assistance Program and to obtain an application, or visit us a

Why do I have to go to a Licensed Test-Only center?

The High-Emitter Profile

What is a Licensed Test Only?

Test-Only Directed Vehicles

In order to comply with state law, the California Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair (DCA/BAR) directs a portion of the vehicles registered in Enhanced Smog Check Areas to Test-Only stations. Enhanced Areas are those parts of the state with "serious," "severe," or "extreme" ozone pollution problems.

What is a Test-Only? Test-Only facilities are licensed Smog Check stations that, by law, are only allowed to test cars; they cannot repair them. Any needed repairs must be performed elsewhere at either a Smog Check station designated as a Test-Repair or Gold Shield station. To learn more about the various station types, and what station best fits your Smog Check needs, click here.

High Emitter Profile - The majority of vehicles directed to Test-Only stations are selected by application of the High Emitter Profile (HEP), which identifies the vehicles most likely to fail their Smog Checks. The High Emitter Profile (HEP) uses data from several different sources. Some of it comes from the state Vehicle Identification Database (VID), which collects data from each Smog Check performed in California. The VID is used by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), BAR, and other government agencies. In addition, general vehicle data such as make, model-year, vehicle miles traveled, and engine size help define the HEP.

This information is used to determine which vehicles are most likely to fail their Smog Checks, especially at Gross Polluter levels--at least two times the emissions level allowed for a particular vehicle. No single factor identifies a vehicle for a Smog Check to be done at a Test-Only station. The data is weighted and vehicles selected using this computer profiling of vehicles most likely to fail their Smog Check. DCA/BAR has gradually increased the number of vehicles directed to Test-Only stations to meet the air quality improvement goals of the State Implementation Plan (SIP). The SIP is a blueprint outlining the methods California will use to meet federal air quality standards.

Two Percent Randomly Selected - As required by State law, two percent of the vehicles in the Enhanced Areas are also directed to Test-Only stations for their Smog Checks. These vehicles are selected randomly to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the Smog Check Program.

How Motorists are Notified - The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) notifies owners of vehicles that have been selected to have their Smog Checks performed at Test-Only stations. The registration Renewal Notice sent for these vehicles will say "Smog Certification Required at Test-Only Center".

Consumer Assistance Program - You may qualify for up to $500 in financial assistance to repair your car if it requires a Smog Check at a Test-Only station and failed that test. Click here for more information on the Consumer Assistance Program or visit our Web site at


How can I get ready for my Smog Check?

Car Care Tips

Clean Air Car Care Tips Fact Sheet

The California Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair (DCA/BAR) recommends that you refer to your vehicles owner’s manual for information on how often to service your car. We hope you'll consider the following tips that will help save gas, keep California's air clean and help your car pass its Smog Check:

#1. Change engine oil and air, oil and fuel filters at manufacturer's suggested intervals.

#2. Perform all other service and maintenance at manufacturer's suggested intervals.

#3. Check tire pressure frequently.

#4. Check tire condition for abnormal wear patterns.

#5. Inspect hoses, wiring and belts regularly.

#6. Service engine promptly when warning lights appear.

#7. Do not modify your vehicle's emission control system.

Consider a Pre-Inspection Test

If you're not sure whether your vehicle will pass its Smog Check, you can ask a licensed Smog Check technician for information about a pre-inspection test. A pre-inspection helps diagnose any potential emissions-related problems, giving you a chance to make necessary repairs before your vehicle undergoes an official Smog Check inspection.

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) is available at participating Gold Shield stations for motorists who need financial assistance making repairs (up to $500) to their vehicle when it fails its biennial Smog Check. Click here to learn more about the Consumer Assistance Program and obtain an application, or visit our Web site at

Help, I Failed My Smog Check!

If your vehicle failed its Smog Check, in many cases you will need to get it repaired, retested, and certified in order to complete your registration.

You do not need to have the repairs or retest done at the same station that failed the vehicle originally.

However, if you were sent to a Test-Only station for your vehicle’s initial inspection, it must be retested and certified at a Test-Only station, or a Gold Shield station. Test-Only stations are prohibited by law from selling diagnosis or repairs.  If you are directed to a Test-Only station on your DMV Registration Renewal Notice, you may qualify for repair assistance.

In addition to performing regular Smog Check inspections and repairs, Gold Shield stations:

  • Are authorized to issue certificates to Gross Polluters
  • May perform state-subsidized repairs
  • May perform the "after repairs" certification test on vehicles that were directed to have their Smog Check at a Test-Only station, and failed that test, provided that the vehicles were repaired at the Gold Shield station.

The Consumer Assistance Program offered at Gold Shield stations is available to motorists who need assistance (up to $500) in repairing a vehicle when it fails a biennial (every other year) Smog Check. Click here to learn more about the Consumer Assistance Program and to obtain an application.






We ARE California's leading smog check station in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Ca near: Los Angeles, Burbank, Studio City, Valley Village, Sun Valley, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Universal City, Glendale, Pasadena, Sunland, Panorama City, Reseda, Northridge, Tarzana, Mission Hills, Granada Hills, San Fernando, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Hollywood, and San Fernando Valley.


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