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California Vehicle Registration Questions & Answers - Page 3

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Question: I am currently attending school out of state and have my parent's car, which is up for registration renewal soon that requires a smog check. Is it possible to get a smog check out of state and send the results back or is there something that I can fill out that states the vehicle is out of state. I am unable to get the car back to CA at the moment for a smog check. Any advice on this matter would be much appreciated.

Answer: Do not obtain a smog inspection in another state; it will not be valid here. Unless your vehicle is in Nevada or Mexico, you DO NOT need to bring it back to California in order to complete your registration. Simply fill out and sign DMV's "Statement of Facts" form explaining that your vehicle is out of state and the registration tags will be mailed to wherever the car is currently located. You can obtain a "Statement of Facts" form by calling the California DMV at (800)777-0133.


Question: Is there a smog test required for my Chevy Camaro registered in Palm Springs?

Answer: 92264 in county RIVERSIDE is Enhanced You are in an "Enhanced" smog county which requires a vehicle to be smog checked every two years. All areas of California require Smog Check inspections when a vehicle changes ownership or is registered for the first time in California. Most areas also require testing every two years, at the time of registration renewal. The Smog Check program divides the state into four areas, with different requirements for each:

Enhanced Areas: These areas do not meet federal or state air quality standards for ozone and are California's smoggiest urbanized areas. Biennial Smog Checks are required here. Thirty six percent (36%) of the vehicles in these areas must have their biennial Smog Checks performed at Test-Only stations.

Partially Enhanced Areas: These areas were opted into the enhanced program by the local air pollution control district/air quality management district. Although similar to the Enhanced areas, no vehicles in a Partially Enhanced area are directed to have their biennial Smog Checks performed at Test-Only stations.

Basic areas: Vehicles in these less-smoggy or less populated areas must have biennial testing at licensed test-and-repair stations.

Change of Ownership areas: These more rural areas of the state require emissions testing only when a vehicle changes ownership or is registered for the first time in California.


Question (a): I have a 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse that I purchased and is registered in Florida. I am moving to San Diego next month and am concerned that my vehicle will not pass inspection and I will not be able to register it? In your opinion do you believe my car has what it takes to pass the smog emissions tests?

Question (b): Louisiana Car - I am giving my Honda Accord to my son in CA. I would like to make sure it will pass the smog test. Can you give me the specific technical requirements (CA exhaust emissions limits) so I can take them to a place here in Louisiana and let them check the emissions on my car and do what needs to be done to bring them up to CA standards.

Question (c): I am moving to California from North Carolina, and I have an old car, a 1989 Toyota Camry. Before I spend either lots of time or money trying to get it out to CA, I am trying to determine if it will be able to pass inspections. It is in good shape and runs well, but I have no idea if a car of this age will be able to meet California's more stringent regulations.

Question (d): My son has a 2002 Infiniti I35 that he will soon be taking to CA. and registering there. The car has only 21,000 miles and is still under it's 4 year Bumper to Bumper Warranty. The car is like new and has had meticulous care. My son's 1996 Infiniti G20 with 120,000 miles has passed the emissions inspection in the Dallas/Ft Worth area with flying colors. It has tested with a very, very low emissions content. We have owned several Infinitis and know the reliability we have received. What advice and direction would you give to his approach one he gets to CA?

Answer: It's true, there is a difference with California legal and Federal legal emission requirements. And, for the most part California is stricter. However, a USED vehicle which has all the Federal required emission components, can pass the California smog inspection process and be legally registered in this state. A vehicle which is equipped with the necessary Federal Emission Components is eligible for California registration as long as the vehicle's exhaust emissions fall within California's limits.


Question: The CA DMV sent me my registration forms last week with indication that a smog check was required however I have lost the papers. Can I get a check w/o the forms and how do I know what kind of station to go to? My vehicle is a 2001 Ford Taurus.

Answer: You can call the DMV at 800) 777-0133. They can inform you on the type of smog check you'll need once you give them your vehicle's license plate number.


Question: I have purchased a 1995 American General Hummer H1. it is coming from NY state. It has a 6.5L diesel non-turbocharged engine. Does it require a smog certificate? Are the laws for diesels as strict as for gasoline engines?

Answer: Vehicles with diesel engines, vehicles with two-cycle engines, vehicles with engines smaller than 50 cubic inches of displacement, electric vehicles, and motorcycles are exempt from the California Smog Check program.


Question: I have been told that the 1976 Porsche 914 is smog exempt since they were all built in 1975. Is this the case?

Answer: A 1976 vehicle is not exempt from the California smog check process. Under the new law... commenced April 1, 2005, exempt from smog check requirements are any motor vehicle manufactured PRIOR TO the 1976 model-year. All vehicles 1976 and newer vehicles will be tested according to state emission law. (This law repeals the 30-year rolling smog check exemption.) Additionally, vehicles with diesel engines, vehicles with two-cycle engines, vehicles with engines smaller than 50 cubic inches of displacement, electric vehicles, and motorcycles are exempt from the Smog Check program.


Question: I have a friend who is selling a car in Susanville, CA (where I live) to my son who lives in Sacramento, CA. The smog test requirements are different in the two counties (Lassen and Sacramento). Is it possible to have my Nissan Sentra smog tested in Susanville and the DMV paperwork completed here before returning to Sacramento? Would another smog test be required in Sacramento or would it be required upon renewal of the license? How do we complete the paperwork?

Answer: Yes, that's probably the best way to do it. If you start the registration process in Sacremento before getting the smog test, you'll need to get the type of smog test required in Sacremento which is "Enhanced".


Question: DMV told me that I needed to get my 2001 Honda Civic smogged in order to get it registered in the state of CA. I thought, when researching on the internet, that only certain counties within the state are required to smog checks. Del Norte county was not on that list. I originally bought my car brand new in CA during Dec. of 2000. I had it registered within the state for a couple of years before I moved to OR. I then obtained OR registration, which did not require a smog inspection. Two years after that, I moved back to CA. Now I am trying to get CA registration again. I still have my old plates, just need new stickers. The car is not that old, it was originally bought in CA, previously registered in CA, and since I purchased it brand new, I have been the only owner. Del Norte county is not heavily populated and therefore doesn't have heavy smog pollution. I don't understand. Based on this information, could you please tell me if I have to smog my vehicle and if so, for what reasons.

Answer: All counties require smog checks, some ONLY require smog checks during the initial registration, time of sale, or when bringing back from out-of-state. These areas are called "change of ownership" counties. Other counties require smog checks every two years.

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