Only about 11 states in the U.S. do not require any kind of smog inspection requirements for vehicle owners. However, those that do can require different things in the inspection—from a comprehensive inspection of the working condition of the components of your vehicle to a more simplified emissions test to detect how much pollutants your car is contributing to the atmosphere. Regardless of what type of test is done in your state, it does take cash to care and passing a smog inspection will require some amount of spending.

So, to make sure that you are compliant with the requirements of your state and put you in a good position for passing the inspection while keeping the cost at a minimum, here are a few things you can do. 

Plan ahead

Taking care of your car should be a year-long event and not just something that you do when something goes wrong or you have a big inspection due. Average car care maintenance can run from about $10 or $20 to $200, depending on what you need to do to the car. This is easier to find at your leisure through the year, rather than the thousands of dollars it might take to get the vehicle ready for inspection or to repair something like the engine or transmission after consistently ignoring the check engine light for months. If you are able to perform DIY jobs on your vehicle, while following manufacturer recommendations, you could save even more and keep your car running well.

Focusing on maintaining your vehicle throughout the year can also allow you to take advantage of special offers being given by shops or dealers. Taking the car in for smaller jobs at a time can also net you some free inspections, which can save you a lot of money.

Inspection time!

It is recommended that you schedule your smog check at least two months before you need to renew your vehicle. Since results in some shops are good for up to 90 days, you can allow yourself the chance to get the exam done with plenty of time to get repairs done if you fail it, without putting undue pressure on your pockets. Giving yourself the gift of time will also help you to choose where to get your smog check done and therefore influence just how much you may have to pay.

While the DMV generally recommends about $40 to $47 for a smog check, depending on the type of vehicle, you can get it done much cheaper. Authorized places that do not do repairs tend to be much cheaper and if you can get a place that offers and delivers on coupons, so much the better.