FAQ  

Here are some of the most asked questions with some answers.

What is a Test-Only Station?
What is the Test-Only Stations' role?
Why is my car being tested on new smog equipment?
For how long is a Smog Check certificate valid?
Who is responsible for obtaining a Smog Check when a vehicle is sold?
My renewal notice says my car needs a Smog Check. But the car is out of state, and will not be back for many months. It's too far to bring it back to California for a smog inspection. Can I get the car smogged in another state and send the results here?

 

What is an "enhanced area"?
Why are Smog Check stations using the new equipment to conduct the old two-speed idle test?

 

I bought a car but did not get a smog certificate. Now I need expensive repairs in order to register the vehicle. What should I do?
Why am I being sent to a Test-Only station? My car has never failed Smog Check.
I have a motor home. Is it safe to smog it on the dynamometer? What should I do?
When will my post-1974 model year vehicle become exempt from Smog Check?

What is a Test-Only Station?
Test-Only Stations are privately-owned smog check stations licensed by
the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to inspect and certify most
vehicles, including Gross Polluters. They are prohibited from providing
any repair services.      
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What is the Test-Only Stations' role?
The addition of test-only stations to the smog check program augments a service previously provided on a temporary basis by state-contracted
Referee Centers. Now, owners of gross-polluting vehicles must have their vehicles tested and certified at either a test-only station or a Gold
Shield Gross Polluter Certification Pilot station. 
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Why is my car being tested on new smog equipment?
The new equipment and the new test, which is performed under simulated driving conditions, is required by state law in the state's smoggiest regions (enhanced areas) in order to meet federal clean air standards. The new equipment tests for oxides of nitrogen NOx, an important smog-causing compound. The old equipment did not test for NOx.       Back to the top 

For how long is a Smog Check certificate valid?
A smog check certificate of compliance or non-compliance is valid for
90 days.
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Who is responsible for obtaining a Smog Check when a vehicle is sold?    It is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog
certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle. There is no provision
in the law to sell a vehicle "as is."      
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My renewal notice says my car needs a Smog Check. But the car is out of state, and will not be back for many months. It's too far to bring it back to California for a smog inspection. Can I get the car smogged in another state and send the results here?
Unless your vehicle is in Nevada or Mexico, you need not bring it back
to California in order to complete your registration. Do not obtain a smog
inspection in another state; it will not be valid in California. Simply
fill out and sign DMV's "Statement of Facts" form (you need the free Adobe
Acrobat reader to download and print this form). The registration tags
will be mailed to wherever the car is currently located.       
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What is an "enhanced area"?
An "enhanced area" is one which has been designated by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency as an area which does not meet the federal
ozone health standards. Areas affected are San Diego County, San Joaquin
Valley, South Coast, Southeast Desert, Ventura County, andSacramento.        
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Why are Smog Check stations using the new equipment to conduct the old two-speed idle test?
Not all vehicles are compatible with the new dynamometer. Vehicles with
full-time four wheel drive, with non-disengage able traction control, or
with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of greater than 8,500 pounds do not go
on the dynamometer.     
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I bought a car but did not get a smog certificate. Now I need expensive
repairs in order to register the vehicle. What should I do?

Contact the seller to see whether that person will work with you on
repairs. If they are not willing to help you resolve the problem, your
option is to pay for the repairs yourself and then attempt to recover
those costs in court.     
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Why am I being sent to a Test-Only station? My car has never failed
Smog Check?

Your car was most likely picked up in the High Emitter Profile. Even
though it may never have failed before, it has been identified through a
computer-based selection process as a vehicle which is likely to be
emitting unhealthy levels of harmful pollutants. Or, it could be part of
the 2 Percent Random Selection Program, which is required by state law.    
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I have a motorhome. Is it safe to smog it on the dynamometer? What
should I do?

Any vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR; fully loaded
weight) of 10,000 pounds or more is excused from dynamometer testing. Your
Smog Check technician will be able to give any such vehicle the two-speed
idle test. Some motorhomes with a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds still may not be safe for dynamometer testing. If your Smog Check technician decides he or she cannot safely test your motorhome on the dynamometer, they should write that on your invoice. Then, call the Referee Scheduling
Center at 800-622-7733 and make an appointment at the nearest Consumer
Assistance and Referee Center. Bring your invoice. The referee will be
able to give you the two-speed idle test.     
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When will my post-1974 model year vehicle become exempt from Smog
Check?

1974 and subsequent model year vehicles will be exempt from Smog Check
when they turn 30 years old, starting in 2003. Many 1974 model vehicles
were built in 1973; however, the Smog Check exemption is based on model
year, not date of manufacture, so these vehicles are not currently exempt.
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