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.
Under California vehicle emissions control laws and regulations, you must get a smog check for your car in the following cases. Click the link that fits your case to move to the next step.
1) 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.
2) I am selling my car
When you sell a vehicle in California, the seller is responsible for getting a smog certificate 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 certificate prior to registration.
Some vehicles are not required to obtain a smog check inspection for registration purposes.
Vehicles that are six or less model-years old are abated from the biennial smog check inspection requirement. For vehicles with registration renewals due in the 2008 calendar year, the abated years include 2003 through 2008.
Vehicles that are four or less model-years old are abated from the smog check inspection requirement upon change of ownership and transfer of title transactions with the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2008, the abated years are 2005 through 2008.
As of April 1, 2005, the 30 year rolling exemption was repealed. 1976 and newer vehicles are now required to have smog check inspections for biennial registration renewals, change of ownership transactions and initial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.
Print Smog Test Coupon
What is California Smog Check?
The Smog Check Program has greatly reduced air pollution created by millions of cars in California. According to the California Air Resources Board, the program removes about 400 tons of smog-forming pollutants from California’s air every day. With no surprise, the California Smog Check Test is known to be among the toughest smog tests in the U.S. Although greatly reducing pollution created from cars, the California Smog Check Program did not meet its expectations. Studies have shown that the program managed to only reduce the two main polluting emissions by only 12.3% and 9.8%. (hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide )This is a great letdown since it was predicted to have lowered the polluting rate by 25%. The program is inevitably quite unsuccessful, but is still actively running in the state of California. In addition, inefficiency in this program is how the people in California only have to have their car smog checked every 2 years, so they only prepare their car before the day of inspection. Since people don’t find the need to be aware of their high use of fuel emissions, they are subconsciously polluting far more than they really have to.
California’s automobile emission standards are among the highest in the world. In 1996, California’s government sought to enforce stricter Smog Check tests because the more populated areas of the state were heavily polluting. The state [by whom?] figured that if they zeroed in on the very populated areas of the state, there would be a significant reduction in car emissions air polluting. The government also decided that since some areas needed more attention than others in relation to smog checks, those areas were to have stricter test/ smog laws then others. While inspecting cars for smog, the state recognized the fact that 10-15% of the states smog was coming from the emissions of large cars with large engines. SUV’s put out 43% more global-warming pollutants. This led to truck owners being closely zeroed in on for their car being checked. What was interesting to the government though was how such a heavily populated region like the Bay Area had a fairly low rate on air pollution.
The terms smog check, smog test, and emission check all refer to the same thing. There are two different ways a smog check is implemented: ASM & TSI. TSI (Two Speed Idle) test is used to inspect all wheel drive (AWD) vehicles. The vehicle is inspected at 2500rpm and idle. This is how all vehicles were inspected prior to 1997. ASM (Acceleration Simulation Mode) test procedures involve operating the vehicle on a dyno at 15 mph and 25 mph under load. Operating an ASM test allows for the measurement of a third emission gas (smog) nitrogen oxide (NOx).
A portion of the smog check fee funds air pollution programs. $6 from the fee goes to the Air Pollution Control Fund which funds air pollution reduction programs such as the Carl Moyer Program.