Auto Repair Huntington Beach with Val Schepens of Mike’s Auto Repair

Val & Mike Schepens - Mike's Auto Repair, serving Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach & Irvine

Val & Mike Schepens – Mike’s Auto Repair, serving Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach & Irvine

First I need to clarify that the DMV determines how vehicles are directed and so when you get your renewals notice for your registration on your car, it will tell you whether you can go to test only or to a Star Program. These are called “directed vehicles” the ones that have to go the Star Program. And these vehicles are actually DMV flagged cars, with high emissions profiles.

So yes, if you have an older car your car is being profiled, or cars that have pattern of failure. So if you look at your paperwork and you see your renewal notice and it says “Smog test required”, you can actually, out of the five designations, you can go to any four of them. So the first option would be a “Test & Repair”, and that would be just simple. You get your car smogged, they test it, it’s certified, and you’re on you way.

The second one is the “Test & Repair” facility. If your car did, by chance, fail smog, they’re able to repair it for you, re- test it, certify it, and get you on your way. But if you are renewal notice states that you are a “Star Station Test Only”, then you’re car is marked. It has the possibility of high emissions. They have a history of it. You probably have failed smog before so you can only go to a Star only test facility and with that they can take care of your test for directed vehicles, or a Star test facility that also can repair it and they are the ones that can handle it if you’re a gross polluter.

With the Star “Test & Repair” facility, they also assist with the CAP Program which is the Consumer Assistance Program. So if you know of someone who is low income that needs assistance in getting their car passed smog, the state will contribute up to $500 towards that.
Now where Mike and I get involved in this huge thing is that we are actually a “Repair Only” station. And our facility is licensed and authorized, through the BAR, to repair all failed smogs and that’s including anything in regards to the “check engine light” , gross polluters.
We do not perform the smog test and certifications, but where we work is with the “Test Only”, or we can work with the Star “Test Only”. So it works nice. We can send our customer to a smog place that we use, and if they fail smog they bring them back to us.

The reason why the BAR developed this repair only facility is that they were getting a lot of complaints, because, you build relationships with your auto mechanic. It’s kinds a like your doctor. You have a history, they have a history of your vehicle. They know your vehicle, so that was an opportunity for the shops to take care of their consumer.
So with that, what Mike and I had to do is send our ASE Master Certified Technician, we actually sent him to get his Smog Technician License renewal. And after that the Bureau of Automotive Repair had to come into our shop and make sure we had all the equipment, the manuals and everything to be able to provide this service to our consumers.
So that’s a little bit about the smog program. I thought what I’d do is share some other smog related auto recommendations and hopefully it will save you some time and some worry. So this first rule is that if your “Check Engine” light is on, do not go and try and get it smogged. You will automatically fail. And it just depends, sometimes it can be very severe, the “Check Engine” light, sometimes it’s very simple.

For example, it could be something like an O2 sensor. You want to get it checked out as soon as possible because you can actually do more damage to your car. If you can fix the O2 sensor first, it won’t do other damage, like, to the catalytic converter, because it’s destroying other parts of your car. It can be something as simple as your gas cap isn’t tight enough. So let me make a recommendation if you’ve just recently got gas and you check the gas cap and make sure it’s tight. Inspect it. Possibly the rubber around the gas cap is worn, so you might want to replace it. I would recommend using, most of the time, a factory gas cap from the dealer. It seems that the aftermarket ones do not keep it sealed as tightly. So it’s good to do that.

I thought I would talk about when it’s required for you to get a smog and that’s, of course, when the DMV tells you it’s time to get your smog, depending on the make and model of your car, that’s every two years. It’s also when you’re selling a vehicle. If you’re selling a vehicle, it’s the seller’s responsibility, and you have 90 days for that smog test, before it won’t be good. The only exception is if you sell your car to a relative.

If the seller does not do the smog, please have it in writing and make sure that it’s understood that the person purchasing the vehicle knows that the seller did not smog test the vehicle, and they will take responsibility for the smog, because that can actually backfire on the seller. Okay. Hopefully I haven’t bored you too much with all this talk about smog and everything. Mike and I are very pleased that we are a repair station and we’re licensed and we’d like to continue to serve our customers for all their repair and maintenance needs.

Just a little bit about Mike and I. We’re going on our 19th year of business. We have three auto technicians. We have one ASE Master Technician, of course with his Smog License. We’re open five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 to 5:30. We’re AAA approved. We’re ASE certified. We’re licensed for brake and lamp inspection. So that’s just a little bit about us. We’re located on Metzler, our cross streets are Gothard and Talbert. Well, I’m just about done. I just want to thank those who have used our services and know that you are the heart of our business.

If I have a classic car, are those exempt from smog? Is there a certain year cut-off?

I’m just going to refer you to the BAR website. In my research, there is a whole section on classic cars and, like I said, I didn’t want to spend 10 days on this thing.

I think it’s 1974.

Is there still a maximum dollar amount that you have to spend trying to repair it so that you can pass the smog test?

I’m not aware of that.

I thought there was.

I’m not aware of it.

I thought you only had to attempt to do it for, like, $500 worth of repairs, and if it’s still not passing . . .

No. I tell you, it’s over $500.

I know the answer. 714-375-3145, and talk to Ralph.

Talk to Ralph. Actually, yes. Ralph is our Smog Technician. I’m telling you what we’re seeing a lot of are failed catalytic converters. Okay. I’m going to take one more question from Sally, because I don’t want her to think that I’m . . .

I had my car smogged with a, quote, unquote, “deal”, and the guy said. “Well, it didn’t pass your smog exam.” And I said, “Okay. So how much is it going to cost me?” He said, “It’s going to cost you $200.” I said, “Okay. I’ll have to talk to my husband about that.” So I immediately called Val and I said, “They said that my car doesn’t pass smog. Can you check it for me?” So they checked it. My car did pass smog. But it cost me what Val had to charge me to do that, and then I had to get it resmogged, so it cost me, like, $300, because the person the person that I went to was not reputable.

Exactly. You’ve got to be real careful with those deals. Especially the test and repair. Especially if they’re advertising that $29.95 smog test. You’re usually going to have some kind of repair, and what was sad with Sally, as an example, there was nothing wrong with her car. What they said, there was nothing wrong with it. We were able to get it smogged, but it took so much inspection that we had to pay our technician to come to that conclusion. And it was baffling. What are they talking about? So, yeah.

Fax: 714-375-3160
17662 Metzler Lane #A
Huntington Beach, CA 92647