January, 1998

The Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair (DCA/BAR) has created a pilot program designed to give owners of vehicles that fail their initial Smog Checks at Gross Polluter levels added convenience by allowing them to have their vehicles repaired and certified at the same location.

The program, which began Dec. 1, 1997, uses Gold Shield Guaranteed Repair Stations--test and repair stations which meet certain performance standards and which guarantee their repairs on Gross Polluters. DCA/BAR has chosen approximately 450 of these Gold Shield Guaranteed Repair Stations to participate in the Gross Polluter Certification Pilot Program. These Gross Polluter Certification Pilot stations, which were randomly selected after meeting certain performance standards, will be allowed to both repair and certify vehicles which fail at Gross Polluter levels.

Background. Owners of gross-polluting vehicles are required under current law to have their vehicles repaired at one facility and certified at a separate Test-Only station. While this separation is designed to ensure that complete repairs are being made on these highest-polluting vehicles, it also creates an extra step in the certification process for owners of these vehicles. It often can result in "ping-ponging" consumers, a term used to describe the process that occurs when a vehicle isn't repaired properly at the repair facility and fails its re-test at a Test-Only station. The owner must then bring the vehicle back to the repair facility for additional repairs and have it re-tested again at a Test-Only station. This process can occur again and again, causing a great amount of frustration for the owner.

Purpose. The pilot is designed to compare Gold Shield stations with Test-Only stations in their ability to identify and certify gross-polluting vehicles, while also giving consumers the ability to have their gross-polluting vehicles tested, repaired and certified at a single site.

How It Works. Under the pilot, the owner of a Gross Polluter can have his or her vehicle repaired and re-tested at a Gold Shield station that is participating in the Gross Polluter Certification Pilot Program. If the vehicle passes, a smog certificate is sent electronically to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), allowing the consumer to complete the registration renewal process.

Where To Find One. Most of these stations will advertise that they can repair and certify Gross Polluters. Also, a sign indicating their Gross Polluter Certification Pilot station status will be posted in a window or inside the waiting room of each station, so that it can be easily seen by the public.


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Last Updated: 09/09/2010