California does not take failure lightly when it comes to cars and the annual emissions test. In order to remain on the lane, your vehicle has to pass the inspection. The premise is that the stringent emissions test not only helps minimize smog, but also keeps older vehicles in danger of falling away from the road. Right up until the moment when you are told that your car did not make the cut, an emissions test is not a big deal. Now it’s time for some big decisions to be made.
The state of California does not explicitly claim that you can no longer drive it if a car fails the pollution test. What they’re really doing is refusing to report it, which means that you’ll be driving on expired tags soon after your test, something local patrol cops are really good at detecting.
There’s something you might remember if you’re tempted to simply disregard the whole pollution issue and simply drive on expired tags. You’ll need to pay a fine if you get caught. Your car will still be impounded, and it will cost you a pretty penny to get it back, and once the problem with the tags and emissions test has been resolved, you will still not be able to drive it (or even get it out of impound). Bear in mind that the longer the police in the impound lot have your car, the higher the associated fees go.
The other thing to remember is that expired tags also cause your car to be checked by the police. If they find anything in it that shouldn’t be there, the emissions test and expired tags will be the least of your worries.
Dealing with the Issue
You should either consider selling your car or getting the exhaust system removed, rather than attempting to sneak around town on expired tags. You’ll have to have the vehicle inspected a second time until the exhaust is repaired. You’ll be free to go to the nearest DMV and get a brand new registration if it passes. The exact cost of the repairs depends on which components have to be replaced.
California mandates that every two years, all vehicles that are more than six years old have an emissions inspection. It’s best to get the test completed sooner if you believe that your car may have a problem passing, so you have plenty of time to fix the matter.
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