Smogging Your Vehicle
Whether you are renewing your registration, selling or purchasing a vehicle, every 2 years or so, all California vehicle owners get their car smogged in accordance with state law.
The California DMV institutes a smog and emissions test for drivers in the State of California. In California, most vehicles are required to be smog checked every 2 years to ensure they’re not harming the air quality. For counties requiring a smog inspection, the CA Department of Motor Vehicles employs a biennial smog certification program. This means that your qualifying vehicle must undergo a smog check every two years. Your registration renewal reminder should indicate whether it’s time for your smog inspection.
Smogging for New residents
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also requires new residents to bring their vehicles to a smog inspection station for a smog check before registering their vehicles, which must be completed within 20 days of establishing residency. You must then present the smog inspection certificate when registering your vehicle. Even if they’re current, out-of-state smog inspection stickers or certificates do NT satisfy this requirement. Once you’ve completed your initial smog check, you will then be subject to the standard schedule of re-certification every 2 years.
Smog concerns for Car shoppers
If you’re shopping for a used car in California, something you might be wondering about — and if you’re not wondering about it, you should for the reasons I’ll describe — is whether or not a smog check needs to be done. If you’re looking on a website like Craigslist where anyone can post a vehicle for sale, for example, you might see a lot of ads where the seller says:
The smog test is the buyer’s responsibility,
The vehicle passed smog “6 months ago”, or
The vehicle is “smog ready”
Generally “smog ready” means the vehicle can pass a smog test which, if you think about it, could have two possible meanings: (1) the vehicle will pass smog and the seller agrees to do that as a condition of the sale, or (2) the vehicle will allegedly pass smog, but the buyer has to buy the car first and bear the risk of it not actually passing smog.
What is the normal process for smog testing when you’re buying a new car in California? The dealer normally takes care of all the smog regs for a new car, and it is negotiable if you pay for the smog (as is the norm) or if you negotitate to have the dealer pay your fees as an incentive to purchase