Q: Do I need a smog check?
A: Your vehicle needs a smog check if it is more than six model years old and the model year is 1976 or newer. (This does not include motorcycles, electric and hybrid vehicles, and two-cylinder engine vehicles.)
Q: What about DIESEL vehicles?
A: Assembly Bill 1488 subjects certain diesel powered vehicles to the provisions of the Smog Check Program. The bill specifies that testing of 1998 and newer model year vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of up to 14,000 lbs. begins January 2010.
Q: How often does my vehicle have to be tested?
A: Your vehicle must be tested every other year. A smog check is also required if you sell your vehicle and it is more than four model years old. Some vehicles may require a smog check at a Test-Only station.
Q: What is a Test-Only station?
A: Test-Only stations are licensed smog check stations that are only allowed to test cars. State law prohibits them from making repairs. We will never try to sell you repairs.
Q: What should I take to my smog check?
If you are renewing your registration, you only need to take your vehicle, your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Registration Renewal Notice, and a method of payment for the smog check. If you are transferring a vehicle, or registering it in California for the first time, take the vehicle, a form of payment, and all of your registration documents to the station.
Q: What happens during a smog check?
While performing a smog check, the certified technician will connect measuring equipment to your vehicle. This equipment is connected to computers at the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Measurements taken during the smog check are recorded and available immediately to BAR. Certifications are immediately transmitted to the DMV. The staff at the Smog Check Station will tell you the results of the test. They will give you a receipt and a copy of the test results, known as a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). What to do next If your vehicle passes, you may complete your vehicle registration. Be sure to follow the the exact instructions provided by DMV. In some cases, such as paying your fees at a DMV field office, you will have to notify DMV that you received a smog certification before they will process your registration and send you the renewed registration and sticker.
Q: How will I know if I need to take my car to a Test-Only station?
A: You will be notified on the registration renewal notice sent by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if your vehicle must be inspected at a Test-Only station.
Q: When am I required to get my car smogged?
Under California vehicle emissions control laws and regulations, you must get a smog check for your car in the following cases:
1) My DMV Registration Renewal Notice says “Smog Certification Required” OR “Smog Certification Required at a Test-Only Center”
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.
2) I am selling my car.
When you sell a vehicle in California, the seller is responsible for getting a smog certifcate prior to completing the sale.
3) I am bringing a car into California to be registered.
When you bring a vehicle into California to be registered, you are required to get a smog certifcate prior to registration.