The Smog Stop
6414 University Ave, San Diego, Ca 92115
Mon-Sat: 07:00 - 17:00

We fee that each and every customer deserves to know what the brake and lamp inspection entails. Remember there is no magic when it come to a brake and lamp inspection! Our facility is licensed by the State of California and is required to follow strict procedures to determine if a vehicle passes or fails the brake and lamp inspection. We will demonstrate the procedures so you can do a majority of the checks to ensure you pass the inspection the first time and obtain your car registration without delay.



Brake Inspection Procedures

Brake Inspection
Disc Brake Inspection
  1. The first step in any procedure is to determine the type of braking system the vehicle has. Most passenger vehicles have two types of brake systems installed. Disc brakes and drum brakes are the two types of braking systems installed on passenger vehicles.
  2. Once you have determined what type of braking system you have, you need to pull the wheels off the vehicle so that you can gain access in order to properly measure the components that are required to be inspected.
  3. Once you have removed the wheels, inspect the thickness of the brake pad linings. Most vehicles have a minimum specification of 2mm, so if you have more than 2mm on each pad, you should be in good shape.
  4. Next we will check the thickness of the brake disc. The disc should have the minimum spec stamped on it. If you have a dial caliper measure the thickness and make sure it is above the minimum specification.
  5. The run out of the brake disc needs to be checked. You will need a dial indicator perform this test. This test ensures that the brake disc is not warped. A common indicator of this problem is when the brakes are applied shaking from the front end can be felt.
  6. A visual inspection of all brake components will be conducted to check if there is missing, broken, or damaged brake hardware. Additionally, we will check to ensure that all components installed meet manufacture specification and are DOT compliant.
  7. The emergency brake will be checked to ensure that it is adjusted properly.
  8. If the vehicle is equipped with ABS, check to ensure that the ABS light is not illuminated and that there are no active codes inhibiting the ABS brake system.
  9. The vehicle will driven and the brakes will be applied to check the stopping distance of the vehicle.
  10. The emergency brake light on the dash will be inspected to ensure it illuminates when the brake is applied.
  11. The brake lamps must operate when the brake is applied and the 3rd brake light is required to be there if it was originally equipped with a 3rd brake lamp.


Drum Brake Inspection
Drum Brake Inspection







If the braking system on the car is the drum brake type, you will need to follow this procedure to ensure your car will pass the brake and lamp inspection the first time.

  1. De-adjust the brakes so you can remove the drum.
  2. Once you have the drum removed use a dial caliper to measure the inner diameter of the drum. The limit is stamped on the drum and your measurement should not exceed the minimum.
  3. Measure your brake shoe linings to ensure that you have at lease 2 mm of lining renaming on the shoe.
  4. Ensure there is no evidence of brake fluid seeping from the wheel cylinder.
  5. Ensure that all the hardware in intact and no springs are missing or broke.
  6. Check to see of the drum is cracked or grooved. If there is any cracking or grooves more than likely it will need to be replaced.
  7. If everything is ok, install the drum and adjust the brakes as required.


Lamp Inspection Procedures

Lamp Adjustment
Lamp Adjustment

Checking the lamps is not difficult and there is no reason to worry about the adjustment because we perform the lamp adjustment during the brake and lamp inspection. Outlined below are the items that you can check to ensure you pass the lamp inspection the first time through.

  1. Check to make sure the headlamps work
  2. Ensure the high beams work (The indicator on the dash needs to work, as well)
  3. Check the turn signals
  4. Check the brake lamps
  5. Check the license plate lamp
  6. Check the reverse lamps
  7. Check the emergency flashers
  8. Check to make sure all the lamps on the vehicle are correctly mounted. Ensuring they are not loose, cracked, or broken
  9. Make sure someone did not install any of the lamps with sheet metal screws. (This usually happens when a vehicle has been in an accident.)
  10. Do not worry about the adjustment! Just make sure the adjusters are there and not broken or stripped out.