Frequently Asked Questions
Does my vehicle qualify for a smog exemption?
Smog inspections are required unless your vehicle is:
Gasoline powered 1975 year model or older
Diesel powered 1997 year model and older or with a Gross Vehicle Weight rating (GVWR) of more than 14,000 lbs
Natural gas powered with a GVWR rating of more than 14,000 lbs
What is a STAR station?
The new STAR Program began January 1, 2013, and replaced the Gold Shield and Test Only program. If your DMV registration renewal notice states your vehicle requires a smog check at a STAR station, you must take your vehicle to a STAR Certified station.
When a car is sold, who is responsible for the inspection?
The seller is required to provide the buyer with a valid smog inspection certification at the time of the sale or transfer. Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance. The inspection is not required on a transfer if a biennial smog certification was submitted to DMV within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date (a vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification).
NOTE: Smog certifications are not required for transfers that occur for a gasoline powered motor vehicle that is four or less model years old. (Determine the oldest-qualifying year model by subtracting three from the current year) the four or less model years old rule does not apply to diesel powered vehicles. A smog transfer fee will be collected from the new owner.
What if my car fails the inspection?
Consumers meeting low income eligibility requirements may be eligible for repair assistance or vehicle retirement through BAR's Consumer Assistance Program. Visit their website for more information.
My car is new. Am I still required to get the biennial smog inspection?
Vehicles registered in areas subject to the biennial smog certification program are required to submit evidence of a smog certification every other renewal period. Starting January 1, 2005, owners of vehicles six or less model years old will pay an annual smog abatement fee for the first six registration years instead of being required to provide a biennial smog certification. The registration renewal notice mailed to you by DMV will indicate if a smog certification is required. If a smog certification is required and you have not had a smog inspection, you may still pay your registration fees to avoid any late fees. However, you will not receive your new registration or year sticker until the smog information has been received by DMV.
For more information about smog requirements, visit https://www.dmv.ca.gov