Monday, December 4, 2023

What Year Car Does Not Need Smog In California

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Does A 30 Year Old Car Need Smog In California

How to Avoid Smog Check in California! 100% Legal!

Under the current law, cars 30 years or older are exempt from smog testing. That means that this year a model 1974 car is exempt and next year a model 1975 will become exempt. Whats more, cars newer than 1976 are already passing their smog tests and the emission rules for these vehicles will be frozen in time.

When I Buy A Car Can I Drive It Home

Some auto insurance policies will only extend coverage for the drive from the dealership to your home. Most times, policies permit this drive directly home from the dealership with full insurance coverage. In some cases, your auto insurance will cover you for up to 4 days after purchasing your new vehicle.

Illegal Customizations In California

In California, you must have a minimum amount of car insurance or face serious consequences. Due to the large amount of creative car alterations, California has created a standard guide to what is allowed:

  • Sound Systems Speakers should not be loud enough that you can hear them from 50 feet away.
  • Exhaust systems Exhaust systems cannot be altered to amplify sound
  • Size Height should not top 14 feet.
  • Engine All engines must be certified and modifications must use certified parts.
  • Lights Cars can only have two fog lamps and spotlights only white lamps are approved. Only four lamps can be lit at the same time.
  • Windows Front windows are required to be at least 70% see-through while rare windows can be any tint. Windows can not be more reflective than your average or standard window.

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Where To Get A Smog Check In California

Smog checks can be performed by licensed stations under approval from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair . You can take your vehicle to any one of the following smog check station types:

  • Test-only station These stations can perform the inspection but cannot make any repairs to the vehicle
  • Test-and-repair station These stations can perform the inspection and carry out repairs if the vehicle fails the check
  • Repair-only station These stations can carry out repairs to help a vehicle pass smog checks, but cannot perform the inspection
  • STAR station These stations meet BAR’s higher performance standards. They can be test-only stations or test-and-repair.

Registration cannot be renewed, and you cannot sell your used vehicle unless smog certification is acquired. You will be required to carry out all necessary repairs if you fail a smog check which is almost as bad as living in a city with a mayor as bad as de Blasio or Wheeler. You can have your vehicle retested after the repairs are done.

Sometimes, the cost of repairing a car is more than its value. This is generally when the catalytic converter is faulty. These devices can easily cost up to $1,000. California State offers to buy such vehicles and scrap them under the California’s Consumer Assistance Program . The program is under the administration of Bureau of Automotive Repair.

The only problem is that you wont get a great value for your vehicle since the State only offers scrap car prices.

Completing A Smog Check In California


Depending on your situation , you’ll bring your vehicle to one of the following California Bureau of Automotive Repair station locations:

  • STAR stations: Meet BAR-established performance standards. Some perform only tests others perform both tests and repairs.
  • Often, âgross polluters” are instructed to visit STAR stations, but STAR stations aren’t limited just to vehicles with high emissions levels.
  • Test-Only stations: Only test vehicles they don’t make repairs.
  • Test-and-Repair stations: Can both test and repair vehicles.
  • Repair-Only stations: Only repair vehicles they don’t perform tests.
  • You must present your:

    • Title .
    • Registration.

    Fees vary by location. Call ahead for fee and schedule information.

    Once your vehicle passes inspection, you’ll receive a smog inspection certificate to present to the CA DMV when you register or renew your vehicle registration. Generally, most smog check stations also report inspections to the DMV electronically. This helps in case you want to renew your registration via mail or online.

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    However Selling A Car Which Hasnt Passed Emissions Can Be More Hassle Than Expected

    Repair costs to make a car pass an emissions test can cost anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars, because it may be something small as changing out smaller parts like spark plugs and filters or it may be something big like replacing a catalytic converter.

    Here is a list of the things which may need repair in order to pass the smog test:

    Oxygen Sensors

    Spark Plugs


    Not only can these parts for certain models come with a heavy price tag, but the bill just crawls up when labor to repair or change the part must be taken into consideration.

    If it is too expensive to repair, then there are options which can be taken to make it easier. There is the California Vehicle Retirement program also known as Cash for Clunkers which is operated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

    My Vehicle Requires A Smog Check But Its Catalytic Converter Was Stolen And/or Needs To Be Replaced What Do I Do

    A catalytic converter is an essential emissions control part and is a key component inspected during a Smog Check. A licensed Smog Check station will help ensure the correct replacement converter is installed before your vehicle can be inspected. The replacement converter must be from the Original Equipment Manufacturer or a California Air Resources Board approved aftermarket converter with an assigned Executive Order number that meets the exact requirements for your vehicle.

    Use BARs Auto Shop Locator to find a Smog Check station to complete the installation. For assistance with locating a hard-to-find replacement converter, contact the vehicle manufacturer or Smog Check Referee.

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    What Resources Are Available If My Vehicle Fails The Smog Check

    If your vehicle fails, the station will provide you a vehicle inspection report that shows your vehicles results and the reason your vehicle did not pass. If you have questions, ask the station to explain the information on the report.

    To address the reason for the failure, you may:

    • Complete the emissions-related repairs Any needed repairs should be performed by a station licensed to perform Smog Check repairs. After completing the repairs, have your vehicle reinspected. The station will provide you a final vehicle inspection report once your vehicle passes Smog Check and will electronically send the certificate to DMV.
    • Visit a Smog Check Referee Referees offer a second opinion on Smog Check results and can assist you with inspections of unusual vehicles and locating hard-to-find emissions parts. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit
    • Apply to the Consumer Assistance Program The Consumer Assistance Program offers income-eligible consumers assistance toward emissions-related repairs at a STAR test-and-repair station if their vehicle fails its biennial Smog Check inspection. The program also offers eligible consumers an incentive to retire their operational vehicle at a BAR-contracted dismantler site. To review eligibility requirements and apply, visit the Consumer Assistance Program page.

    Smog Check Stations In Orange County

    What is Done to Your Car During Yearly Smog Check?

    Orange County is the third largest county in California and is home to more than 3 million residents. The cities in Orange County with the highest populations are Anaheim and Santa Ana. Visit our Orange County Smog Check Stations page to find a list of all the STAR certified stations in Orange County.

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    What Is A Smog Check And How Do You Complete A Smog Inspection

    A smog check measures the type and amount of pollutants that your car is releasing into the environment. It is required the first time you register your vehicle, every 2 years after your initial registration, and if you are selling the vehicle.

    There are certain vehicle that are EXEMPT from having to complete smog certification:

    • Gas vehicles made in 1975 or earlier

    • Diesel vehicle made in 1995 or earlier OR has a Gross Vehicle Weight greater than 14,000 lbs

    • Electric vehicles

    • Vehicles made less than 6 years ago

    • You reside in a county that a Smog inspection is not required

    To schedule an appointment, give your nearest SMOG location a call. To find your nearest location, use smog locator tool on and give The only items you will need are your car, a valid payment method, and, if you are renewing your registration, your renewal notice.

    Once your vehicle passes the Smog inspection, the information will be sent to the DMV electronically.

    If you fail a Smog check, it means that there is something in your cars emission system that is faulty and will need to be repaired. It is your responsibility to find a certified Smog Test Repair center and have a licensed Smog Test technician locate and fix the issue. The best resource at your disposal for this step is the Bureau of Automotive Repair, who can refer you to a repair location and go over next steps.

    Did You Just Purchase A Vehicle From A Private Party

    The purchase of a vehicle from a private party can make the registration party a little more tricky because it requires action by both the seller and the private party. The seller of the vehicle must report to the DMV that they have sold the vehicle within 5 days and then the buyer must register the vehicle within 10 days.

    This process can be done in person or all completed forms can be mailed to the DMV. To prevent any registration delay, give your local DMV a call to ensure that you have all required documents prior to mailing out your forms.

    The items you will need for registration and transfer of title are:

    A helpful tip for purchasing a vehicle from a private seller would be to have them sign a Power of Attorney to allow for you, the buyer, to sign on the sellers behalf if any of the other vehicle documents requires their signature. The POA can make the process of transferring of ownership if any complications arise.

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    Get An Instant Online Offer For Your Car

    Enter your zip code below to get your FREE estimate and see how much your car is worth. Get paid the real cash value of your car in 24-48 hours!

    Your car emissions system specifically the catalytic converter was developed to reduce the impact on the environment. These pollutants are treated before they leave your vehicles exhaust, turning most of them into harmless elements like carbon dioxide and water.

    Typical components in your car emissions system are:

    • Exhaust Gas Recirculation system

    • Powertrain Control Module

    • Fuel filler cap

    If theres a problem with any of these parts, your car emission test is all but guaranteed to fail.

    Avoid The Hassles And Headaches By Selling Your Car To Driveo

    California Smog Checks  What is Required?

    If youve decided you want to sell your car but dont like the idea of all the work it takes to sell it privately on your own and would also like to get more money for it than a dealership will offer on a trade-in, you owe it to yourself to check out Driveo. We offer you all the convenience and speed youd get from a dealership and none of the hassles and headaches you go through with a private sale. Heres how it works:

    Fill out our easy online form to tell us about your ride. If we need to verify any of the information or have questions, well contact you.

    Well appraise your vehicle and come up with a quote for you. This is not an instant or automatic quote real people do actual market research to come up with a competitive offer.

    When you see the quote, you can decide whether or not you like it. In fact, a Driveo quote is good for a full 30 days, so youve got time to shop around for a better deal. When you realize its a great offer, then you come to Driveo in El Cajon so we can do a final inspection of your car to make sure its good to go. This could result in your quote being adjusted up or down depending on what we find. If everything is good, we cut you a check based on our final offer and give you a ride to wherever you need to go in San Diego County. Easy!

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    California Vehicle Title Transfer Smog Check Needed

    Are you buying a vehicle in California that already passed a smog check in the past two years? If so, the smog certificate can be transferred to you from the seller for an $8 fee. When registering your vehicle, prepare to pay $56 for the registration and $24 for the California Highway Patrol fee. Other costs include title fees and taxes.

    Remember, you must register the vehicle within 10 days of the purchase date or you will face a penalty. If you wait up to a year the registration fee penalty is $30, one to two years is $50 and more than two years is a $100 fee. These fees double once the penalty for the CHP fee gets added. If you buy from a dealership, they typically process the transfer on your behalf and prevent you from needing to visit the DMV at all.

    For private transactions, make sure the seller provides a smog certificate if their vehicle is four or more years old. Also get the vehicle title signed by the both of you, the purchase price stated and a statement of the odometer reading for any vehicle thats less than 10 years old.

    Things are a bit more complicated if you buy a vehicle from a different state. For this situation, you need the registration from the other state, active license plates, Verification of Vehicle and Statement of Facts .

    My Car Failed Smog Now What What Are Emission Repair Costs

    Once you fail a car emissions test and you decide to pursue repairs, the cost might come as a surprise. Many of the problems that can cause your smog check to fail are pricey to repair. A catalytic converter replacement is routinely between $1,000 and $2,000 for part and labor. An EGR failure on a Ford 6.0-liter engine, though, could very well run several thousand dollars, requiring a new EGR valve, oil cooler cleaning or replacement, and the labor to change them.

    Maybe youll get lucky sometimes the only repair necessary is a replacement fuel filler cap or a minor repair like an EVAP purge control solenoid. Theres a chance youll get away with a bill under $200, but thats not the norm.

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    The Nightmare Smog Scenarios You Want To Avoid

    You sell your car to someone and everything seems fine, except when the new owner goes to register the vehicle, the cant. Why? Because there is no smog check on record, and it was you as the seller who was supposed to have done that before selling the car.

    Now the person who bought your car is really not happy. They might want to return the car to you and get their money back. Or they might have the smog inspection done and find out repairs are needed to bring it up to standards and you are liable for those repairs! Or worse they slap you with a lawsuit because of all the mess. Either way, youve got a major hassle on your hands. This is why its important to understand the ins and outs of smog check requirements in California.

    California Smog Check / Emissions Test

    2020 CALIFORNIA SMOG TEST “Do an easy pre-test on your car before bringing it in”

    California motorists must complete an emissions test every two years. For new residents, the smog check is required before you can register your vehicle. This test looks at your vehicles emission productions and gives an overview of its functional state. Without it, unless your vehicle is exempt, your vehicle will not be legally drivable here.

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    Smog Certificates Are Valid For Only 90 Days

    Cars that are not older than four years dont require a smog certification. You dont have to get this inspection done even if you are transferring the car to an immediate family member, including grandchildren and grandparents. You dont need to worry about smog certification if your car is not powered by gas. However, for all other sales you need a smog certification that is acquired within 90 days of the car sale.

    This makes selling used cars quite complicated almost as complicated as the ACA which took people from their doctors when it was told it would not do that but thats another topic. You need a smog certificate to attract buyers, but each certification is valid for just 90 days. It is possible that you may not be able to sell your car within that period. The smog check will expire and you will have to re-do the entire process all over again.

    The smart way to go about selling your car is to find an interested buyer and get the certification when you are about to close a deal. You can always let them know that you will give the car with a valid smog certificate.

    Acquiring a smog certificate right before transferring the vehicle gives the new owner a little breather. They will need to register the vehicle after buying it from you. If the smog certificate expires before they can get the vehicle registered, they will need to apply for a new one.

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