Smog Check

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Smogging an out of state car

March 2006

Has anyone ever had an out of state car smogged in California? Is it horrendously expensive? We are hoping to bring in a 99 Camry from the East Coast, but won't if it will cost more than it is worth. Thank you! Anne

I might be misunderstanding your question about ''smogging'', but we brought two older cars, one Toyota and one VW (early 90's) into the state when we moved here a few years ago and both continue to pass emissions inspections. Do you have some reason for thinking it would fail? If you had emissions in your state you can look at your records and see what your car is emitting. You can also pay garages here to test your car for you to see how it would perform on the official test. If the car doesn't pass, different test results would indicate different problems, each of which may mean different mechanical solutions. I understand your hesitation because you need to pay to get it here, as we did. anon

Test only SMOG stations

March 2004

I have an older (87) Honda, and need to bring my car to a Test Only SMOG station to renew my registration. I have always taken my car to the garage where I get my repairs done, but now I must take it elsewhere. I looked on the DMV website and found a list of stations in Berkeley and Oakland that fit the bill, but was wondering if anyone has had any experience with them? The stations I was looking at are: Berkeley Smog at 1010 Carleton St., Berkeley Quik Smog at 2234 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley Auto Row Smog Test at 3060 Broadway, Oakland TK Auto Smog at 9868 Macarthur, Oakland There are others in Oakland, too, that I haven't listed. Any recs on where to go and how much they cost? Thanks very much

I got a test-only (for my now thankfully gotten-rid-of @#(!)#* VW Passat wagon) at a place called Dan's on Redwood Drive. I made a same-day appointment, the people were really nice, and the test cost something like $40 (not the $100 or so several other test-only places quoted.) Alysson

I recommend Berkeley Smog on Carleton. I recently took my 1980 Volvo there. Cost was $79 with re-testing free for 30 days. The man who dealt with me was extremely considerate and polite. Even gave me bottled water while I was waiting--it was a hot day. And he worked hard to get my car through fast at my request. Carolyn

I used Berkeley Test Only Center last month and was pleased with their service. They made an appointment for me on a Saturday with short notice and were efficient and courteous. Bare bones place and not in the best area in town (Carleton near San Pablo), but there are places on San Pablo to walk to during the 45 minutes or so it takes to do the test. It cost me $80.00. You could always eat at Juan's Place while you're waiting--it is kitty-corner to the shop (or go look at the pets up for adoption at the animal shelter across the street!). sarah

Smog Checks -- Oakland

July 2003

I've checked the website, and all the recommended reliable places to get a smog check seem to be in Berkeley/Albany. I need recommendations for Oakland near BART/AC Transit. Even downtown San Francisco would do.

I had a good experience last time I got a smog check with Stauder Automotive at 5930 College in Oakland. Leslie

I have been getting my cars' smog checks and oil changes at Yen's Automotive on the corner of San Pablo and Gilman for quit a while. They were recommended by our mechanics at Art's Automotive. They are fast, organized and have done a good job. There are plenty of places to go in the neighborhood while you wait too. Martha

Smog check in Berkeley or Richmond?

October 2002

My regular mechanic is unable to do a smog check in time for me and I hate to just go anywhere without knowing if they are honest and accurate, and also don't charge more than the the usual rate. Any recommendations for Richmond or Berkeley, especially near BART or campus? Thanks! Padma

Two places on Gilman in Berkeley that seem cheaper than most at about $28. One at Gilman and San Pablo (NE corner), the other at Gilman near the BART tracks, Lalime's & Natural Food store (cross street would be Curtis or Nielson, not sure, but it's about 4 blocks west of where Gilman & Hopkins meet). I used the first one and had no problems with them. mary

arco smog pros in San Pablo on 2550 mission bell drive 235-5723. I have been going to that same place for many years because their price is as low as it gets, they know what they are doing, they don't rip you off or tell you you need something if you don't and they have been consistant. usually just drive up and I've never had to wait for more than one or 2 customers before me. paul

I recommend Nippon European Motors, at 730 San Pablo in Albany. Tom is a nice guy and a real professional. Another plus is that, when you pass the smog check, his computer automatically sends the information to the DMV for you. Bay

I've gone to Dan Chinn's automotive for years. They are on Shattuck about two blocks south of Barnes and Noble. I don't know what the ''standard'' rate is for smog checks but I trust them. I took my Honda to Jim Doten once for a smog check and had a hard time. Turns out that my model year was the only one where some component of the test is done one way and everyone except a Honda dealer does it the other way. My mechanic had set the timing according to the usual way of testing, so the car failed the smog check--twice--until my mechanic and I understood what the issue was. The moral: if you find a place you like, stay with it! Fran

Smog check in Emeryville/Cerrito/Berkeley?

July 2002

We live in Berkeley. Can anyone recommend a gas station or other service for doing a smog test, preferably one located in Emeryville near the freeway or El Cerrito/Berkeley?

There is a reasonable place on the NW corner of San Pablo and Gilman. Sorry, I can't remember the name of the place. They were who we used last year when we needed to get a check done in a hurry. Kreber-Mapp

I have used Yen's garage at San Pablo and Gilman for many years for many cars and have been pleased enough with his work. (I think the whole system stinks as much as smog does.) Ruth

Yen's Auto at the corner of Gilman and San Pablo in Berkeley does quick, cheap smog checks and is easy to get to from the freeway. Becky