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Does Your Vehicle Need A Smog Check?

Oct 18, 2007
According the California DMV, the answer is yes. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Some vehicles are only required to receive one when they are sold or are registered in the state of California after previously being registered in another state. These exceptions are based on the type, model, and year of the vehicle.

Are there any other exceptions to the rule? According to the California DMV website, the following exceptions are applicable: According to legislation that was enacted in 2004, vehicles that are six or less model years old are exempt from the biennial (twice a year) an inspection.

Vehicles that are four or less model years old are exempt from the inspection when a change of ownership and transfer of the transaction with the DMV occurs.

Vehicles that are registered in California after previously registered in another state are exempt from the smog check requirement if the vehicle in question is a 1975 or older model. Newer vehicles are not exempt, and must undergo a inspection. Visit the California DMV website for further information.

Why is a check required in the first place?
Studies have shown that smog caused primarily by vehicle emissions, directly affects the health of more than one to five Californians, and contributes to heart and lung disease deaths.

Since 1984, California has required smog checks, and the harmful vehicle emissions in the state have been reduced by more than 20 percent.

What if my car fails the check? If this happens to you, make sure that you do the following. Obtain the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) from the technician. Check your vehicle warranty to see if the repairs required to bring your vehicle up to emission standards are covered.

Obtain a written estimate of the diagnosis and repair work before any repairs are done. Once your vehicle has been repaired, have it retested at a licensed smog check station.

Where can I get a smog check? Since smog checks are not regulated, it is important to obtain a smog test from a licensed Gold Shield mechanic or smog check specialist. Some vehicles may be required to undergo a smog test from a Test only station, a station that is prohibited by law from making car repair.

Other vehicles can obtain a smog test at an automotive repair center, from a mechanic, or from another officially licensed location. The cost of a smog test varies by location, so it is best to shop around.
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