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STAR rating means a higher standard for smog testers

Q. A prerequisite for renewal of my car’s registration was to get and pass the smog test, and this is the second time that the Department of Motor Vehicles has required me to use a STAR testing station. Can you tell me what is the difference between a STAR testing station and a regular one? And why does the DMV require this? The car is a 2006 Chrysler minivan. Maybe its age played into having to go to a STAR test center?

– Hildegard Graeber, Torrance

A. There’s a good chance of that, Hildegard.

“The STAR Program was created to improve the overall quality of smog-check inspections and help the state meet required emissions reductions,” Matt Woodcheke, a spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, told Honk in an email.

“Accordingly, STAR stations are licensed smog-check stations that meet higher performance standards,” he said. “Vehicles with a higher likelihood of failure require a smog check at a STAR station.”

In other words, the stations themselves must meet higher standards to ensure the tests are accurate.

There is a placebo effect in place, as a small amount of the vehicles that must pass a STAR test to stay on the road are selected randomly.

Q. My 2002 truck needs to pass a smog test for my December registration renewal. Do you know if the state is going to waive that requirement because of COVID-19?

– Nick Berger, Westminster

A. Some of you reading the first question and answer might have been scratching your noggin and wondering the same thing as Nick: The DMV has made a lot of changes to help people through the pandemic, so are there modifications for smog checks?

No.

“There are no COVID-19-related extensions or waivers for required smog checks for vehicle registrations,” Ivette Burch, a DMV spokeswoman in Sacramento, told Honk in an email.

Besides clarity, she passed along a tip: If you do lag past the deadline because of the smog check, at least pay the fee on time so your bill won’t grow with a penalty for being late.

You wouldn’t receive your registration tag until everything is done, including the smog check, though, so you could still get pulled over.

By the way, smog-check stations are considered essential by state officials during the pandemic, so they are allowed to operate.

Honkin’ fact: To get all of their work done, Santa Claus and the reindeers had to travel more than 41 million miles to visit the homes of children celebrating Christmas. Santa and his pals had 31 hours – with the time zones, the International Date Line and the like providing the extra cover of darkness. (Source: The Mirror in the United Kingdom.)

To ask Honk questions, reach him at honk@ocregister.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk


Source: Orange County Register

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