How Do I Get Smog Exempt In California?

If you received notification from the DMV that your vehicle needs a smog check but you assume you are excluded, contact the center to obtain a verification of exemption.

Smog exempt vehicles may include:

  • Vehicles built in 1975 or earlier: Classic vehicles
  • Newer cars: vehicles produced over the last six years
  • Diesel powered: 1997 or older, or 14,000lbs or greater GVWR ranking
  • Natural gas vehicles: GVWR value of 14,000lbs or larger
  • Vehicles that are electric/hybrid
  • Motorbikes
  • The Trailers

If your car does not fall into any of the above categories, it will be allowed to pass the California smog review. Plan ahead for this as your vehicle without a valid in-state smog certificate will not be road-legal. The smog certificate will remain current for validation purposes for 90 days after receiving it. The smog check must then be conducted leading up to it, whether inspecting and registering or selling a car, and the certificate must be 90 days old or newer.

Many vehicles are expected to be checked every other year in counties that need smog tests. Instead of getting a smog inspection for the first six years, you can pay an annual smog abatement fee if your car is less than six years old.

Smog Check Fees

In California, the cost of a smog check varies depending on your car and exactly where you live. To have yours done, you can expect to pay anywhere from $29.95 to $69.95. The $8.25 cost of your smog certificate might not be included in this charge. Bear in mind, even if your car is excluded, you have to pay.

A $20 reduction fee is due per year to escape the smog audit for newer vehicles (six or fewer years old). A $200 reduction charge will apply for classic vehicles (1975 and older). Owners of older cars are urged to try and pass the exam first and use the reduction fee as the last resort because it would be much easier to pass.

California Smog Inspection Certificate Validity

For 90 days, all California smog certifications are valid. When reinstating a suspended vehicle registration, obtaining an original vehicle registration, or filing for a registration renewal, California needs a vehicle smog inspection.

New Residents Smog Check Requirements

Prior to registering their vehicle in the state, newcomers must have their vehicle pass the California emissions test. Within 20 days of being an official citizen of the state, this examination must be completed. Once you pass the smog check and obtain a certificate, this must be issued when registering your vehicle at the DMV.

At this time, your car will also undergo a VIN check, which is done to ensure the paperwork suits the VIN on your vehicle. On the positive side, however, residents of California are not expected to pass any security inspection. It will be legally drivable, as long as your car passes the smog review. Every two years, you will then have to redo the smog scan.

Are You Looking for a Smog Shop You Can Trust?

If you’re looking for a licensed smog check technician trusted by thousands of happy customers, look no further than autoTECH Blackhawk. Why? We differ from other automotive repair stops because we are a relationship shop. This means that the more of your car repair needs we support you with, the better able we are to customize our recommendations based on your driving habits and needs. Whether you want to keep the daily driver in ‘good enough’ condition, style your new car so that it’s customized just for you, maintain your favorite car in ‘like new’ condition, or even train your whole family to be more knowledgeable about cars – we partner with you to ensure that your cars meet your needs. We also offer an industry-leading 3-Year/36,000 mile warranty, so we only use Original Equipment and manufacturer recommended products. Contact us now to book your no-contact, friendly appointment! We truly value your trust and your business, so thank you for staying local with your auto repair needs.

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