Q: My renewal notice says my car needs a Smog Check. But the car is out of state, and will not be back for many months. It's too far to bring it back to California for a smog inspection. Can I get the car smog checked in another state and send the results here?
Do not obtain a smog inspection in another state; it will not be valid here. Unless your vehicle is in Nevada or Mexico, you need not bring it back to California in order to complete your registration. Simply fill out and sign DMV's " Statement of Facts " form (you need the free Adobe Acrobat reader to download and print this form). The registration tags will be mailed to wherever the car is currently located.
Q: For how long is a Smog Check certificate valid?
Section 44015 (e) of the California Health and Safety Code states that a Smog Check certificate of compliance or non-compliance is valid for 90 days.
Q: Who is responsible for obtaining a Smog Check when a vehicle is sold?
Section 24007 (b)(2) of the Vehicle Code states it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle. There is no provision in the law to sell a vehicle "as is."
Q: I just purchased a vehicle and the seller did not provide a Smog Check. The vehicle needs expensive repairs in order to pass. What should I do?
Go back to the seller, inform them about Vehicle Code section 24007 (b)(2), and try to work things out amicably. If that fails, you have the option to pay for the repairs and the Smog Check yourself, and then take the seller to Small Claims Court to recover your costs. Although the law clearly supports the buyer, collecting on a small claims judgment can be difficult, so the amicable solution is usually best. If the seller is a state-licensed auto dealer, buyers have the additional option of filing a complaint with the DMV, which regulates new- and used-car dealers.
Q: I recently smogged my vehicle; now I'm selling it. Do I need to smog it again?
According to Section 4000.1 (d)(1) of the California Vehicle Code, a car which has had a Smog Check and received a certificate of compliance does not need to be smogged again if the initial application for transfer is submitted within the 90-day validity period of the recently issued smog certificate.
Q: Why am I being sent to a Test-Only station? My car has never failed Smog Check.
Your car was most likely picked up in the High Emitter Profile. Even though it may never have failed before, it has been identified through a computer-based selection process as a vehicle which is likely to be emitting unhealthy levels of harmful pollutants. Or, it could be part of the 2 Percent Random Selection Program.
Q: I have a motor home. Is it safe to smog it on the dynamometer? What should I do?
Any vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR; fully loaded weight) of 10,000 pounds or more is excused from dynamometer testing. Your Smog Check technician will be able to give any such vehicle the two-speed idle test. Some motor homes with a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds still may not be safe for dynamometer testing. If your Smog Check technician decides he or she cannot safely test your motor home on the dynamometer, they should write that on your invoice. Then, call the Referee Scheduling Center at 800-622-7733 and make an appointment at the nearest Consumer Assistance and Referee Center. Bring your invoice. The referee will be able to give you the two-speed idle test.
Q: My 1976 model year vehicle was built in 1975. Why isn't it exempt from Smog Check?
Many 1976 model vehicles were built in 1975; however, the Smog Check exemption is based on model year, not date of manufacture, so these vehicles are not exempt.
Q: I have a vehicle that is six model years old or newer. My DMV registration renewal notice says it must have Smog Check, but I thought it was exempt from the biennial Smog Check requirement.
It is excused from its biennial Smog Check until it is seven model years old. DMV computers will recognize the exemption and process your renewal accordingly. These cars must be smogged upon initial registration in California, however.
Q: Why isn't my vehicle exempt? It's less than seven years old.
Vehicles six model years old and newer (model years 2000-2005, for registrations due after 1/1/2005) are not required to have a biennial Smog Check performed until their seventh year. However, these vehicles must have a Smog Check performed if the vehicle is being registered in California for the first time during that time.
Q: I'm planning to register my vehicle as non-operational this time around. Do I still need a Smog Check?
No, the Smog Check is only for operational vehicles. However, if you miss your biennial Smog Check while the vehicle is non-operational, you will be required to get a smog inspection prior to bringing the vehicle back to operational status.
Q: Why can't BAR lower the price of a Smog Check?
The Bureau of Automotive Repair does not set the price of Smog Checks. Smog Check stations are privately owned and operated businesses, and as such, determine the fees for their time and expertise based on free-market forces. As with many other things, it pays to shop around for your Smog Check. You can search our list of Active Smog Check stations by city, ZIP code and station type to find a station near you.
Q: What is an Enhanced Area?
An Enhanced Area is one which has been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an area which does not meet federal health standards for ozone.
Q: Why are Smog Check stations using the new equipment to conduct the old two-speed idle test?
Not all vehicles are compatible with the new dynamometer. Vehicles with full-time four wheel drive, with non-disengageable traction control, or with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 10,000 pounds or greater, do not get tested on the dynamometer.
Smog Check Consumer Assistance Porgram
For more information on Consumer Assistance Program, please click here.
To fill out a Consumer Assistance Prograpm Application please click here.