If your car was built after 1976 or it has been in operation for at least six years, the state of California requires a smog check. That may seem like a broad statement and, simply put, it is. But there are a few exceptions to this rule:
- Some Hybrid Vehicles
- Vehicles with two or less cylinders
- A vehicle with an engine under 819cc
- Diesel vehicles made before 1997.
The above vehicles are not required to get a smog test in the state of California. Now, let’s say that your car was built after 1976 and it doesn’t fit into the above list. That means you need a biennial smog check. Let’s go one step further and say that you have gotten the smog test and you failed it. Now your only choice is to get your car fixed and re-test. What if you can’t afford the repairs right now, then what? The State of California and the Department of Motor Vehicles has you covered.
If you are eligible, you might be able to register your car without the smog certificate. How, you say? You might be able to get a one-time, two year extension which will allow you to get the necessary repairs done on your vehicle. There are some qualifications that you have to meet in able to get the extension.
These requirements are:
- You have to have failed your biennial inspection.
- Your car must have been registered in California for at least the last two years.
- A repair facility should not have found any evidence of tampering with the emissions system or any of its components. That includes removal of parts too.
- Your vehicle can’t be a first time registrant in the State Of California and it cannot be in the process of a sale.
- The vehicle repairs done must be smog fail, emissions related.
- Finally, the vehicle repairs must be at least $650 for it to be able to pass the smog test. You will need the invoice of the smog repairs done and a written estimate of additional repairs from an authorized STAR certified smog station.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Any repairs done at a standard smog station (not STAR certified) will not count toward the $650 cost waiver.
For more information or to make an appointment with a Smog Referee Center agent, call (800) 622-7733.
Once the inspection is complete, and you are in fact eligible you will receive a one time smog check waiver for the next two years. After that, you will need to perform necessary smog repairs or retire the vehicle.