California Vehicle Code section 24007(b)(2) states that it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle to the buyer.

California Vehicle Code section 4000.1(d)(1) specifies that a Smog Check certificate is not needed upon changing ownership if the application for transfer is submitted to DMV within 90 days of the vehicle receiving a Smog Check certificate. Therefore, if your vehicle received certification of a passing Smog Check within 90 days of the sale, another Smog Check certificate is not required to transfer ownership.

No. There is no need to get a smog inspection in another state, as it will not be valid in California. In order to complete your registration, simply fill out and sign DMV’s Statement of Facts form stating the reason why the vehicle cannot be tested. DMV will mail the registration and license plate sticker to wherever the car is currently located.

DMV sends motorists this notice when it cannot locate a Smog Check certificate for a vehicle. If you receive one of these notices, you may do one of two things: (1) If you have not yet completed a Smog Check, do so. Once DMV receives an electronic certificate of compliance, the DMV database will be updated and your registration and license plate sticker will be issued. No further action is required on your part. (2) If you have already successfully completed a Smog Check, please allow 30 days to receive your registration and sticker. If, after 30 days, you still have not received your registration and license plate sticker, contact DMV for further assistance.

No. A Smog Check is only required every other year upon registration renewal for a vehicle that the owner intends to operate in California. However, if you register a vehicle as non-operational, but then at a later time wish to bring the vehicle back to operational status, a smog inspection may be required.

If you are going to register your vehicle in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) field office, be sure to bring your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) and any notices sent by DMV with you. The VIR indicates whether your car passed or failed the Smog Check and includes an identification number to help DMV track your electronic certificate, if necessary.

In general, state and federal law prohibit modifications to your vehicle’s emission control system. When repairing your vehicle, the emission-related parts used must be original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or be replacements for the OEM parts, as specified by the part manufacturer.

Modifications to your emissions controls are not acceptable unless the parts used are approved by ARB. ARB grants approvals in cases where the changes or aftermarket parts do not modify the performance of the emission controls in a way that increases emissions. ARB assigns the approved parts an “executive order” (EO) number that may be used to verify acceptability. ARB provides a listing of EO exempted parts on their Web site at

Minor changes that do not affect the connectivity with or operation of other emission controls are acceptable. For example, the installation of an universal replacement hose in place of a preformed hose would be allowed.

Performing regular and proper maintenance according to your owner’s manual and not tampering with the emissions-control equipment will help improve your vehicle’s chances of passing a Smog Check. If the “Check Engine” light comes on, take your vehicle to a licensed repair station as soon as you can to have the problem diagnosed-do not wait for the vehicle’s next scheduled Smog Check. A blinking or flashing light indicates a malfunction that should be addressed immediately to avoid serious damage to the engine or emission-control systems. Check your owner’s manual for repairs that may be covered under your vehicle manufacturer’s emissions warranty.

An electronic certificate of compliance is issued and stored at DMV when a vehicle passes a Smog Check. The certificate is valid for 90 days.

Some vehicles require a Smog Check at a STAR station. STAR stations must meet specified performance standards established by BAR. Some STAR stations are licensed to perform only tests, while others are licensed to perform both tests and repairs. The station is required to post a sign on the services it performs. The STAR sign is bright red and can usually be found hanging directly under or near the station’s Smog Check sign.

State law requires the state to establish a program for testing a percentage of the vehicle fleet at STAR-certified stations. The requirement is limited to urban areas of the state where ozone pollution levels pose a significant threat to public health.

A directed vehicle is required by the state to have its Smog Check performed at a station meeting certain performance standards. These standards are established under the STAR Program. Stations meeting these standards are certified by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).

Test Only Stations do not perform repairs, adjustments or refer motorists to a specific repair location. The test is the same at all licensed smog test stations. Test only is not a “stricter” test.

Vehicles four or six model years old and newer are not required to have a biennial Smog Check performed until their fifth/seventh year. However, these vehicles must have a Smog Check performed if the vehicle is sold or being registered in California for the first time during that time.

The DMV requires smog inspection for 90% of vehicles, biennially. Some vehicles registered in rural areas are only required to complete a smog inspection during Change-of-Ownership and initial registration in California.

Effective 04/01/05: Under the old law, 1975 and subsequent model year vehicles became exempt from Smog Check when they turned 30 years old. A 1976 model year vehicle was exempt in 2005, a 1977 in 2006, etc.
Under the new law… commenced April 1, 2005, exempt from smog check requirements are any motor vehicle manufactured prior to the 1976 model-year. All vehicles 1976 and newer vehicles will be tested according to state emission law. This law repeals the 30-year rolling exemption.
Vehicles with two-cycle engines, vehicles with engines smaller than 50 cubic inches of displacement, electric vehicles, and motorcycles are exempt from the Smog Check program.
To determine your vehicles actual model year, you can check on the front driver side door jam for a decal indicating your vehicle’s production date and weight specifications.

Not unless you definitely know that your car is not running properly due to the oil being dirty or because of the tune up. I have seen many people spend a lot of money on vehicle repairs prior to the smog check only to find that their vehicle failed the smog check and the repairs performed were not at all related to the reason the vehicle failed the test. Since the retest is discounted for thirty days, bring it in first and let’s hope it passes the first time. This way you won’t throw your money away.

As for the oil, in my opinion, if it is bad enough to make a difference in the results of the test, you will notice it in the way your vehicle is running. If it is bad enough to make a difference in the way it is running, you will have other problems which will prompt you to take it into the shop for repairs long before your smog check is required.

Having said that, your oil should be changed every three thousand miles unless you don’t keep a car for very long. In this case you can follow the minimum factory warranty recommendation which is much higher. Remember, they are higher for warranty reasons only, not for longevity.

There are three reasons to get a smog check.
• Registration Renewal: Every two years on most vehicles you are required to get a smog check to renew your registration with D.M.V. Gasoline vehicles newer than 6 years old, hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement.
• Change of Ownership Most vehicles need a smog check when they are bought or sold. Gasoline vehicles newer than 4 years old, hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement. Also, transfer of title between certain family members does not require a smog check.
• Bringing in a car from out of state most cars coming from out of state seeking registration in California need to be smogged. Motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement.