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As of April 1, 2005, the 30 year rolling exemption was repealed. 1976 and newer vehicles are now required to have smog check inspections for biennial registration renewals, change of ownership transactions and initial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.