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Everything you need to know about smog certification in California

doYou’re new to the Golden State? doYou recently bought a car in California and want to register it? It’s time to get acquainted with the smog certification, a vital document you need to drive in the state of California. This post breaks down everything you need to know about smog certification in California.

A smog certificate is an essential document for all drivers in California. California’s smog check program is part of the state’s environmentally conscious initiative to curb pollution.

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Certification is to make sure your vehicle meets emission standards. ¡And driving without a smog certificate is considered illegal in California.! We’ve answered everything from what a smog test is to how much a smog test costs. Keep reading to know more.

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What is a smog check?

A smog check inspects your car’s exhaust and emissions control system. Measure the amount of pollutants your car emits and the type of pollutants. The test result is then compared to the standard set by the state. Depending on the type of car and model year, the following inspection may be performed on your vehicle:

  • A visual inspection of emission control equipment and systems.
  • Inspect your vehicles, check engine light, fuel evaporation system and exhaust gas recirculation system.
  • OBD system inspection.
  • Tailpipe Emissions Inspection

After these inspections, you will receive your smog certification. The smog check manager will provide you with a state-issued sticker and you can put it on your car.

When should I get a smog check in California?

When you first buy a new vehicle, you should get a smog check. After initial registration, a smog check should be done every two years. The next scenario is that if you are moving to California, you must obtain a smog certification before registering your vehicle. Also, to sell your vehicle with a model year older than four, you must complete a smog certification.

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What happens if I drive without a smog certification in California?

Driving without a smog certificate in California is a crime. And if you get caught by the police, you have to pay a huge fine. What’s worse, you may lose the ability to register the vehicle in the state.

How much does a smog check cost?

A smog check could cost you between €30 and €60. Rates may change depending on the type of vehicle you drive.

Where can I get a smog check in California?

Here are some options for getting a smog check for your car:

Test and Repair Stations – As the name suggests, a test and repair station is certified to check your vehicle and repair it to meet emissions standards.

STAR Certified Stations: There are stations certified by star repair-only, test-only, and test-and-repair. If your vehicle requires a smog check at a station staryour registration renewal notice from the DMV will indicate it.

Test Only: These smog check stations can only check your vehicle’s emissions and are not authorized to perform emissions-related repairs on your vehicle.

For repair only: To bring your vehicle into compliance with California emissions laws, you may visit repair-only stations. These stations will make the necessary repairs to your broadcast system. However, you still need to test your vehicle because these stations are not authorized to test your vehicle.

How long does a smog check take?

A smog check should only take between 25 and 30 minutes. Remember, smog repairs can take much longer depending on the emission problem.

Do all cars need to have a smog certificate in California?

Not all cars need to have a smog certificate in California. These are some of the vehicles that are exempt from smog control in California:

Additionally, there are a few other instances when you do not need to take your vehicle in for a smog check in California, including:

  • model vehicles 1975 or earlier models are exempt from getting a smog check
  • A natural gas vehicle with a gross weight of more than 14,000 pounds.
  • Diesel-powered vehicles manufactured before 1998 or having a gross weight of more than 14,000 pounds.
  • Electric vehicles
  • motorcycles
  • Gasoline, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles eight model years and newer are exempt from biennial smog checks.
  • The change of ownership smog check is not required for gasoline, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles that are four model years or newer.

Can I sell my car in California without a smog certificate?

Under California law, the seller must perform a smog check and provide the buyer with a letter of compliance. If your car is more than four model years old, you will need a smog certificate to sell it. However, you do not need a smog certificate if you are trying to sell your electric car.

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