California has two smog categories, as previously mentioned -- the
regular smog test, or "test only". Test only is for people who have failed a smog test, OR, "high emitter profile vehicles" that they think will fail, OR, supposedly a random population sample. I have a problem with this (see below). "test only" places can NOT work on your car.
Make sure the car is very warmed up before testing. And remember to put
the catalytic converter back on :O if you took it off (incidently, that did happen to me once... I'm blonde... the car smogged OK but did not pass the visual... had to go home and put the #^&*^[email protected]
# thing on)...
I have had to go to a "test only" center for the past 3 smogs for the same car, which has always passed smog ('85 Graduate). It really gripes me to be put into this category year after year. Always wonder if other Alfa owners get the "test only" runaround, or if I'm just <cough> lucky...
However, the 1995 164 usually is not "test only" -- so I can tell you the differences in the tests.
The cars are tested with the tailpipe probe at idle and 2500rpm. The
"test only" requires the dyno (and I see on the http://www.smogtips.com/emission_inspection.cfm
some areas may require the dyno test for regular smog!)...
Shop around for prices -- the price is not regulated by the state and varies a LOT -- a regular smog here in San Diego can run as low as $12 (plus $11.25
certificate/filing fee) -- the cheapest "test only" place here that I have
found is $22 (plus the $11.25 cert/filing fee).... have had friends that have paid $50 for a regular smog test not knowing the price is not regulated....