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Buying or Selling Vehicle Smog Check Questions & Answers



Question: I have a 2003 mazda 6 not registered in california. We are military so it doesnt have to be registered here. My question is... I am trying to sell my car, am i responsible for having it smog checked before i see it to someone in california? Is the buyer going to need a smog certificate in order to register the car in their name?
 
Answer: Since the vehicle will be sold in California you will have to provide the buyer with a passing smog check certificate. The new owner will need it in order to complete the registration process.
 
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Question: I have a car that is registered and inspected in Virginia.  I drove it out here for a temporary assignment and I would now like to sell it before flying back to Virginia.  Am I required to get a smog inspection?
 
Answer: Because the transaction is taking place in California, California laws must be followed. Section 24007 (b)(2) of the Vehicle Code states it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle. There is no provision in the law to sell a vehicle "as is." Therefore the seller is always responsible for the smog certificate even if they mention the car is sold "as-is" because the law doesn't recognize the "as-is" policy.
 
The buyer has the option of paying for any repairs necessary to get the car to pass the Smog Check but may end up taking the seller to Small Claims Court to recover their costs. Although the law clearly supports the buyer, collecting on a small claims judgment can be difficult, so the amicable solution is usually best.
 
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Question: I sold my vehicle some time ago. The buyer's recently contacted me and informed me that the vehicle did not pass smog and that it is still my responsibility to take care of it. (I did look that up and unfortunately it is so). Furthermore, I cant afford the repairs. I see that you guys offer financial assistance. I have printed the application. Can I still apply for it or should they??? The car is still registered to me.
 
Answer: If the buyer has already begun the title transfer process, in order words, they gone to the DMV and paid the renewal;/transfer fees - but need the smog check to complete the registration, then unfortunately the state assistance programs will not be able to help you.
 
If however the buyer has not yet been to the DMV, then the vehicle is technically still registered to you and you can regain possession of it and apply to the state assistance programs. Once the vehicle is repaired and passes the smog check, and after you pay your registration fees, you will be once again able to sell the vehicle legally.
 
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Question: I'm selling my car (2000 Grand Prix GTP) and the DMV site indicates I must provide a smog certification at the time of sale.  Does that mean going to a test only or test/repair center?
 
Answer: Your vehicle should only require a regular smog check. Although to make certain I recommend you contact the DMV at (800) 777-0133. They will be able to look up your vehicle's plate number and ensure there aren't any special requirements for your vehicle.
 
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Question: I am selling a car.It had a smog check last July. Does it need another smog check? What documents if any are needed by the smog test station?
 
Answer: A California smog certificate is valid for ONLY 90 days when used for registration renewal purposes and 60 days for the use of sale. At this point I believe you'll need to obtain a new smog check if you intend on selling this vehicle.
 
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Question: My question is if you wanted to give a car to someone but did not want to pay for the smog test because the car is an old 82 ford can you give it to them as is and is there such a thing as an as is contract?
 
Answer: Section 24007 (b)(2) of the Vehicle Code states it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle. There is no provision in the law to sell a vehicle "as is." However if the buyer will sign a waiver, admitting full on, that he/she is aware that the vehicle is being bought without a smog certificate because of a damaged engine, you should be fine with the sale. Remember though, if the buyer one day decides that they made a bad choice, they still maintain the right to sue you in small claims court to collect on any damages. I can't imagine any buyer would do this sort of thing, specially after signing a waiver, but just keep in mind: By selling a vehicle WITHOUT the smog certificate and with a waiver will not protect you in court. There is also the option of selling the vehicle as "Non-Operational". In this case the buyer must sign a waiver stating he/she doesn't plan on registering the vehicle just yet, but does reserve the right to in the future.
 
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Question: I am planning on selling my car by the end of May. Can I already have to smog test done? Will it still be valid by the time I sell my car?
 
Answer: A California smog certificate is valid for ONLY 90 days when used for registration renewal purposes and 60 days for the use of sale. At this point I believe you'll need to obtain a new smog check if you intend on selling this vehicle.
 
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Question:  I purchased a 1998 Kia Sportage that the people told me I'd have to smog and it runs great, has always passed inspections for the past several years but it wouldn't even pass the preliminary test. They didn't charge me but told me that it would cost 80.00/hr to diagnosis the problem? I can't afford any more money and we desperately need this vehicle as my mother is 88 and lives with us. We cannot afford 1000.00 in repairs too. Is there anything I can do? The person who sold it said that was the agreement and won't budge, so I am stuck now. Also, when they do the smog test, doesn't that give the diagnosis of the car and tell the problem that needs to be repaired?
 
Answer: Depending on what you paid for this vehicle, and if it is to your advantage to go to small claims court, you may be able to use the following Vehicle Code Section to your benefit; Section 24007 (b)(2) of the Vehicle Code states it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle. There is no provision in the law to sell a vehicle "as is." Therefore the seller is always responsible for the smog certificate even if they mention the car is sold "as-is". Now here is the problem... being it that you went ahead with the purchase of the vehicle without the smog check, I can't say for certain a judge will find you as a victim. The vehicle code applies to all, and failure of knowing the law is not a defense, but you may want to give it a chance and file. As the buyer you also have the option of paying for any repairs necessary to get the car to pass the Smog Check and may take the seller to Small Claims Court to recover your costs. Although the law clearly supports the buyer, collecting on a small claims judgment can be difficult, so the amicable solution is usually best.

Note... we offer you this information solely for educational purposes, and recommend if you do plan on proceeding with a lawsuit, you contact an attorney for accurate and detailed information.

As far as the smog test, unfortunately the smog test alone will not indicate the faults which caused your vehicle to fail the test unless these faults are strictly "visible" and not emissions related. If the vehicle fails for emissions, a hands on diagnosis will have to be made in order to determine the component/s at fault.