We're a certified smog test station.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will mail you a registration renewal notice letting you know whether you need to have a smog test performed on your vehicle. This notice will also tell you if your vehicle requires a smog check at a test only station. The below FAQ section will answer your frequently asked questions. All of the information you find posted below is referenced from the DMV.
Smog Testing and General FAQs
1. Do I need a Smog Check?
Not all vehicles must get a smog check. Additionally, some vehicles only need a passing smog check when they are being sold or being registered in California after previously being registered in another state. Whether or not a vehicle needs a smog check depends on the type of vehicle, the model-year, and the area in which the vehicle is registered.
2. My Registration Renewal Notice says, "Smog Certification Required"
Most vehicles registered in California are required to pass a smog check every two years. Your annual registration renewal notice lets you know when you need to get a smog check.
3. I am selling a vehicle, do I need a smog check?
When you sell a vehicle in California, the seller is responsible for getting a smog certificate prior to completing the sale.
Most used vehicles need a smog check before they can be sold. If you are selling a used vehicle, you are responsible for getting a smog check ( if required ) before you can sell it.
You DO NOT need to get a smog check to sell a used vehicle:
- IF you are selling the vehicle to your parent(s), grandparent(s), child(ren), grandchild(ren), sibling(s) or spouse. For details regarding sole proprietorships, as well as lessors & lessees of vehicles, see Section 4000.1 of the California Vehicle Code.
For gas-powered vehicles:
- IF the vehicle is less than 4 model years old.
- IF the vehicle was manufactured prior to the 1976 model year.
For diesel-powered vehicles:
- IF the vehicle is over 14,000 lbs. GVWR.
- IF the vehicle was manufactured prior to the 1998 model year.
Warning: "model year" means the year the vehicle manufacturer assigned to the vehicle and is the year indicated on the vehicle's registration documents. It may differ from the date the vehicle was manufactured.
4. I am bringing a car into California to be registered, what should I know?
When you bring a vehicle into California to be registered, you are required to get a smog certificate prior to registration.
Some vehicles are not required to obtain a smog check inspection for registration purposes.
As of April 1, 2005, the 30-year rolling exemption was repealed. 1976 and newer vehicles are now required to have smog check inspections for biennial registration renewals, change of ownership transactions and initial registration in California.
Vehicles being initially registered in California that were previously registered in another state are exempt from the biennial smog check inspection requirements if the vehicle is a 1975 or older model. All 1976 to current year vehicles are required to obtain a smog check certificate of compliance prior to initial registration in California. 1997 model year and older diesel vehicle are exempt. Full electric vehicles are also exempt.
5. I have a hybrid vehicle, and my DMV renewal notice indicates that a smog inspection is required.
Hybrid vehicles with registration renewals in 2015 or later are required to get a smog check.
6. 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?
Do not obtain a smog inspection in another state; it will not be valid here. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. I just purchased a vehicle, and the seller did not provide a Smog Check certificate. The vehicle needs 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 court to recover your costs. Although the law clearly supports the buyer, collecting on a court judgment can be difficult. 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.
10. I recently obtained a Smog Check certificate for my vehicle; now I'm selling it. Do I need have it Smog Check inspected again?
The California Vehicle Code Section 4000.1 (d)(1), specifies that a Smog Check certificate does not apply if "the initial application for transfer is submitted within the 90-day validity period of a smog certificate..." Therefore, if your vehicle received a Smog Check certificate within the last 90 days, another Smog Check inspection/certificate is NOT required for the transfer of ownership.
11. Why am I being sent to a Test-Only or Star Certified station? My car has never failed Smog Check.
Your car was most likely selected by the High Emitter Profile. This means that even though it may never have failed before, it has been identified through a computer-based selection process as a vehicle which is more likely than others to be emitting unhealthy levels of harmful pollutants. Another possibility is that it was selected via a 2% random selection for program evaluation purposes. In either case, your vehicle has been designated as a Directed Vehicle.
12. I have a motor home that is very heavy. Is it safe to use the dynamometer for the Smog Check inspection? What should I do?
Motor homes with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 8,501 pounds or more are 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 8,501 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. A State Referee facility can provide relief in these circumstances. Call the Referee Scheduling Center at 800-622-7733 and make an appointment at a Referee Facility. Take your invoice to the Referee. If the Referee inspector agrees, he or she will test the vehicle using a two speed idle test.
13. What vehicle model years are required to get a biennial smog check?
Gas-powered vehicles 1976 model year and newer are subject to the biennial Smog Check Progtram. There is a five year exemption.
Diesel-powered vehicles 1998 model year and newer, 14,000 lbs. and less are subject to the biennial Smog Check Program. The six year exemption does not apply to diesel vehicles.
Hybrid vehicles with registration renewals of July 1, 2015 or later are subject to the biennial Smog Check Program.
14. 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.
15. I have a vehicle that is five model years old or newer. My DMV registration renewal notice says it must have a Smog Check, but I thought it was exempt from the biennial Smog Check requirement?
A gas-powered vehicle is excused from Smog Check until it is six model years old. DMV computers are designed to recognize the exemption and process your renewal accordingly. Go back the DMV to resolve this problem. If you are unable to resolve the problem with DMV, the State Referee can help. Call the Referee Scheduling Center at 800-622-7733 and make an appointment at the nearest Referee facility. Note: A Smog Check certificate of compliance is required upon transfer of ownership for gas-powered vehicles that are older than four model years.
16. 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.
17. Why can't BAR lower the price of a Smog Check?
The Bureau of Automotive Repair does not set the price of smog inspections. 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.
18. What is an Enhanced Area?
An Enhanced Area is one which has been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as not in attainment with federal health standards for ozone and are designated as an urbanized area. With some exceptions, vehicles registered in enhanced areas are subject to a loaded mode dynamometer emission test.
19. Why do Smog Check stations use the dynamometer based equipment to conduct the two-speed idle test?
Not all vehicles are compatible with the 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 (motor homes 8501 GVWR or greater), 2000 model year or newer, and diesel vehicles, are not tested on the dynamometer.
20. The technician says he cannot perform an ASM (dynamometer) smog test on my vehicle because the tires are worn out. Can he do that?
Yes, any time the technician feels that the vehicle is not in good enough condition to safely complete a smog inspection, the technician should refuse to test the vehicle.
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We are a state licensed smog testing station.