12124 Woodside Ave. • Lakeside, CA 92040


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Learn About Our Reliable Auto Services Through FAQs

Our experienced technicians at Alpine Smog & Auto Repair can answer all your questions about our smog and other auto repair services. We provide quick turnaround on all work done at our independently owned and operated shop. Contact us today for your DMV automotive solutions.

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Star Certified FAQs

Q: What is the difference with a regular smog station and a STAR smog station?

A: You received your DMV renewal notice and discovered it's asking for a smog inspection at a STAR station. No need to panic. What this means is that the DMV has chosen your car to be inspected at a smog station, which is monitored closely by the BAR and must conform to high standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs.


Some STAR stations are only authorized to perform smog inspections. These stations are known as STAR test-only stations. Other STAR-certified smog centers can perform smog inspections as well as smog check repairs. These smog stations are known as STAR Test and Repair stations. Both STAR stations are allowed to perform regular and STAR smog checks.


STAR test-only centers are only authorized to perform smog inspections and are not allowed to perform smog check repairs.


STAR Test and Repair Stations are authorized to perform STAR smog inspections, as well as repair and certify all vehicles.


If the DMV is asking for "Smog certificate required at a STAR station" you can visit either of these smog test center types.


Q: Are you a STAR-certified station?

A: Yes. We are STAR-certified in Lakeside.


Q: Is there an extra charge for a STAR-certified smog test?

A: No, not at Alpine Smog and Auto Repair!


Q: What is the STAR program, anyway?

A: The STAR program began January 1, 2013. STAR stations must meet higher performance standards established by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.


Q: How do I know if I need a STAR-certified smog station?

A: Your registration renewal form will tell you at the top.


Q: Why was my car directed to a STAR station?

A: A random sampling, many older vehicles, and vehicles with high-emitter profiles are directed to STAR stations.


Q: Do you only smog STAR cars?

A: No. We smog everything like diesel, motorhomes, and RV’s!


Q: What are STAR-certified smog station duties and responsibilities?

A: STAR test-only center - Smog test-only centers are authorized by the State of California to perform both Regular and Test-Only smog inspections. They are not allowed to perform any smog repairs. A Test-Only center's main obligation is to perform a non-bias and an accurate smog inspection. They are certified to inspect all DMV required vehicles.


STAR Test and Repair (CAP) - STAR Test & Repair stations are authorized by the Bureau of Automotive Repairs to perform, along with smog check repairs, regular smog inspections, and test-only smog checks. A STAR Test & Repair station is the only type of smog check center, which can inspect, repair, and certify any and all vehicles. These stations are participants of the State's Consumer Assistance Program and are inspected by the State of California monthly.


STAR Test and Repair stations may also perform smog repairs on vehicles participating in the Consumer Assistance Program.


Q: How are vehicles selected for STAR smog check?

A: The state of California uses the following three strategies to determine whether a vehicle is STAR station-designated or not:


• Gross polluters (vehicles which have failed a previous smog inspection with very high-emission readings)


• High-emitter profile vehicles. These are vehicle types designated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair as having high chances of failing the smog inspection.


• A random sample of all vehicles registered in California and being driven on public roadways.

If your vehicle has been selected to undergo a STAR smog check, don't be alarmed. Simply locate a convenient STAR-certified smog station and proceed with the inspection. The smog technician conducting the test can inform you of any serious issues. There are several hundred STAR smog stations throughout California.


Q: How much does a STAR smog check cost?

A: STAR smog stations, as with all smog stations, are independently owned and operated businesses. The owners of these smog test centers or test and repair stations have the right to choose the amount they will charge consumers for their services. Except for an $8.25 State Certificate fee, STAR Test-Only centers and STAR Test and Repair stations will have different prices, typically between $29.95 and $59.95, plus state fee.

Star Advantage FAQs

STAR Stations stand for excellence.


Any car requiring a smog check may voluntarily have their car tested at a STAR Smog Check Station. These stations have been identified by the State of California as the highest performing in the market and provide a high standard of consumer care. It is in the interest of California’s Clean Air goals that the best performers in the Smog Check Program be supported, so that they can continue to provide excellent service in the market.


Q: How do I find a STAR-certified Station?

A: The easiest way to find a STAR-certified station is to use our zip code station locator. Only Bureau of Automotive Repair-certified STAR stations may be listed in our directory. The certification process will not conclude before the program implementation on January 1, 2013.


Q: Why did the DMV direct me to a STAR-certified Station?

A: Advancements in automotive technology has changed the testing requirements of vehicles. Not all vehicles require the same test. As part of California’s continuing efforts to meet its air quality goal, the smog check market in 2013 will be changed to include different types of tests for different vehicle makes, models, and years.


If this sounds confusing, you are correct! Not every station will have every type of testing equipment to meet your vehicle’s needs. A STAR station is certified for high performance and must meet the requirements of all vehicles in market. STAR is the only one-stop-shop in the market for your testing needs. Look for the red sign with the bold STAR and know for certain you are in a station that can meet your testing needs.

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