A test only smog center is a smog testing location which only performs smog tests, and does not execute repairs. It tends to be much more rapid, because it specializes in smog testing. If your vehicle is likely to pass the smog test it is an excellent choice because these centers are also usually less expensive. In states such as California with high air pollution and a large number of vehicles on the road, there are numerous test only smog locations.
A test only smog center is differentiated from a test and repair smog center because the test only center is not authorized to perform vehicle repairs. As a result, if your vehicle fails the smog test at such a center, you will have to find a test and repair facility. Often the test and repair center will charge for another smog test as part of the diagnostic process. For this reason, if you are in doubt about the ability of your vehicle to pass a smog test, you should choose a test and repair station, not a test only smog station.
Some states have areas known as Enhanced Smog Check Areas, where drivers will be expected to smog check their vehicles more regularly, especially if they drive vehicles classified as gross polluters. Gross polluters are vehicles which have been known to exceed state smog limits by more than 200%, and some models of vehicle are more likely to be gross polluters. Gross polluters are also known as High Emission Profile vehicles. The state randomly selects High Emission Profile vehicles for smog testing, directing them to a test only smog center.
Vehicles registered in Enhanced Smog Check Areas will also be subject to random smog checks even if they don't have a High Emission Profile. The Department of Motor Vehicles randomly selects vehicles for smog testing and notifies the owners by mail. Partly this is designed to keep drivers in regulatory compliance, and also to test the effectiveness of the smog check system.
Many states offer abatement programs, where drivers who demonstrate that a vehicle needs costly repairs may be exempt from smog requirements or able to receive assistance from the state. If your vehicle happens to fail a smog test and costly repairs are estimated, ask the staff at the smog testing center about your options.
Regular smogging of your vehicle not only ensures that it is in regulatory compliance. It will also identify potential safety hazards, assuring that you will drive a clean, safe, and healthy vehicle. World wide, emissions from a wide variety of sources are an issue of major concern, and drivers should do their part to help reduce personal emissions.