Smog - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who needs a smog check?
A. There are three reasons to get a smog check.
Q. When a car is sold, who is responsible for the inspection?
Registration Renewal: Every two years on most vehicles you are required to get a smog check to renew your registration with D.M.V.
* Gasoline vehicles newer than 6 years old, hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement.
Change of Ownership: Most vehicles need a smog check when they are bought or sold. It is the seller's responsibility to have the vehicle inspected within 90 days of the transaction. If the vehicle is not registered within 90 days of being smogged it will need to be inspected again.
* Gasoline vehicles newer than 4 years old, hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement. Also, transfer of title between certain family members does not require a smog check.
Click here for more information on smog check inspections.
Click here for more information on transfers between family members.
Bringing in a car from out of state: Most cars coming from out of state seeking registration in California need to be smogged.
* Hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement.
A. The seller is required to provide the buyer with a valid smog inspection certification at the time of the sale or transfer. Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.
The inspection is not required on a transfer if a biennial smog certification was submitted to DMV within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date (a vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification).
NOTE: Smog certifications are not required for transfers that occur for a gasoline powered motor vehicle that is four or less model years old. (Determine the oldest-qualifying year model by subtracting three from the current year) the four or less model years old rule does not apply to diesel powered vehicles. A smog transfer fee will be collected from the new owner. Click here for the smog transfer fee calculator
Q. Do I need to smog my diesel vehicle?
A. Maybe. Diesel vehicles 1997 and older are smog exempt. Diesel vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight over 14,500 lbs are also exempt from the smog inspection.
Q. Can you smog my all-wheel drive vehicle?
A. Yes. All-wheel drive vehicles are smogged doing a two-speed idle test rather than being tested on a dynamometer.
Q. Can you smog my full-sized motorhome?
Q. My renewal notice doesn't specify that I need to go to a test-only center. Can you still smog it?
A. Yes. We can perform a smog test on your car whether or not it has been directed to a test-only center.
Q. Can you send my smog results to the DMV if I don't have my renewal form with me?
A. Yes. We use the Vehicle Identification Number that is imprinted on the vehicle itself to identify the vehicle with the DMV.
Q. Will my car pass with the check engine light on?
A. No. However, you may still want to have your car smogged anyway so you can take advantage of the Consumer Assistance Program to help pay for repairs.
Q. Will my car pass with an aftermarket air intake or other modification?
A. Aftermarket parts such as air intakes need a sticker with an eo# affixed to the vehicle to prove that those parts are legal for street use in California. If you have specific questions about specific parts on your car, ask us before we start the smog check, not after we start