Smog Test Information

What if my car fails the inspection?

DMV cannot provide technical information or advice in this area. We recommend that you call the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) toll free number at 800-952-5210. You may be eligible to participate in the Voluntary Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Program (also known as the old vehicle buy back program).

Counties requiring a smog inspection for the registration renewal:

  • Alameda
  • Butte
  • Colusa
  • Contra Costa
  • Fresno
  • Glenn
  • Kern
  • Kings
  • Los Angeles
  • Madera
  • Marin
  • Merced
  • Monterey
  • Napa
  • Nevada
  • Orange
  • Sacramento
  • San Benito
  • San Francisco
  • San Joaquin
  • San Luis Obispo
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Cruz
  • Shasta
  • Solano
  • Stanislaus
  • Sutter
  • Tehama
  • Tulare
  • Ventura
  • Yolo
  • Yuba

There are six counties that require smog certifications within certain Zip Codes only. These counties are:

  • El Dorado
  • Placer
  • Riverside
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • Sonoma

Military exemption

No, a smog inspection certification is required.

My car is new. Is the biennial smog inspection required?

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 the department 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.

Note: Upon initial registration, nonresident and specially constructed vehicles 1976 and newer require smog certification. The six or less model years old rule does not apply to these vehicles

A family member gave me a car. Is a smog inspection required?

If you acquire a vehicle that is currently registered in California from a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild, you are entitled to an exemption from the smog inspection. Other family members or relations are not exempt and are required to obtain a smog inspection certification.

For more information read “Transfer a Vehicle Between Family Members.

For a complete & accurate information on smog check visit:

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