I called Mike McCarthy again at 626-771-3614 who said the OBD test machines are currently in beta testing.
He hopes they will pass their tests soon, in which case they can be sold to the test stations.
He hopes that will happen before the end of this year.
He also confirmed that cars can pass California smog with either one or two incomplete registers, depending on their year (as described in the quote above).
He did say that soon, the older (1996 to 2000) cars will be limited to one unset monitor (which can be any monitor other than the fuel evap test); and that the newer cars will be limited to zero unset monitors.
Mike also explained that many people go to the BAR refereee when a smog test station refuses to run the test due to unset monitors.
They just call the BAR referee
, who, for free (except the $8.75 for the certificate), will smog check the vehicle at a local community college via a scheduled appointment.
With your license plate, name, and address, you can schedule a free smog-check referee appointment
by calling 800-622-7733x1(English)2(agent) and telling them that you have unfilled registers, and nobody will smog you. The local college here where they do that free smog check is Evergreen Community College, and an appointment takes about a week (in my experience). Total cost is $8.25 for the certificate (the smog check, which normally costs around $60) is free.
Since I lost my registration, I called BAR at 800-952-5210x1(English)x0(representative)x1(smog) who simply asked for my license plate and told me that I had to go to the STAR & TEST ONLY stations.
It bothers me that California is so screwed up that they make US pay for their silly system
; but it is what it is, and I, as a single person, can't do anything about it.
The only good news out of all this is that the OBD tests are coming soon.
I don't know of any DMV price list for smog stations, but, there is this BAR web site
which will list them out by zip code, e.g.,
Here, for the record, is the DMV site explaining a couple components the lousy system (but, in reality, it's a system put together by bureaucrats who don't know how to put systems together without the public paying through the nose for their inefficient system):
I called some local STAR-certified smog check stations to find hours & prices (sorted by price, out the door, including the $8.25 certificate):
- $48 408-371-6430
- $50 408-356-4188
- $50 408-374-0140
- $50 408-227-1575
- $60 408-871-9484
- $85 408-399-3927
- How to identify all BMW computer-specific OBDII DTC diagnostic fault codes (1
) & how to better understand the key EPA federal test procedure (FTP) concept of the BMW SES "drive cycle" (1)
& how to diagnose a typical BMW E39 engine misfire (1
) or a sporadic-temperature-change cold-engine intermittent misfire (1
) & what you can expect for E39 smog emissions test results (1
) & obtaining the pending or diagnostic trouble code (DTC) using free or freeware scans (1
) [except in California or Hawaii (1
)] or where to get the cheapest reasonable OBDII scanner in the world (1
) or a better overall scanner (1
) or the best BMW diagnostic tools (1
) & a template of what to tell people from the Republik of Kalifornia who need to do an OBC diagnostic scan (1
EDIT: The bimmer passed smog tests at the referee station (total cost, $8.25), and, they didn't even check the registers!