Smog Check Frequently Asked Questions for February 2017
How do I determine what year a car needs a smog check?
Gasoline, Flex, CNG, LNG, LPG Powered Vehicles
1976 to current model year vehicles are subject to smog inspection.
All 1976 and newer model year vehicles entering the State of California require a smog certification prior to initial registration
Change of ownership smog inspections are required after the fourth model year
A 2016 model year gasoline powered vehicle would be subject to change of ownership smog inspections beginning in 2020 (2016 + 4 = 2020).
Biennial (Every two years) smog inspections begin after the sixth model year.
A 2016 model year gasoline powered vehicle would be subject to biennial smog inspections beginning in 2022 (2016 + 6 = 2022).
A good rule of thumb is that even number model years are due for smog inspections on even numbered years. Odd numbered model years are due on odd number years.
This year (2017) we started performing biennial smog inspections 2011 model year vehicles. We’re also inspecting 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1999, etc.
The only difference between hybrid/gasoline powered vehicles is that hybrids become subject to smog inspections beginning with model year 2000 instead of 1976.
Diesel powered vehicles under 14,000 pounds GVWR become subject to biennial smog inspections beginning with the 1998 model year.
Unlike the vehicles described above, diesels do not have a four year change of ownership exemption, nor do diesels have a six year new vehicle exemption.
In most cases, the answer is yes.
If your your 1976 or newer motor home (RV) is gasoline powered, and more than four years old, it is subject to smog inspections in the state of California.
If your 1998 or newer motor home (RV) is diesel powered and has a GVWR of 14,000 pounds or less it is subject to smog inspections in the state of California.
Click here for more information about smog requirements by vehicle type.
Why did my car fail for incomplete OBD II readiness monitors. I Thought the rule was that my 1996-2001 car could pass with two incomplete readiness monitors.
Most 1996 – 1999 model year gasoline powered vehicles will fail the California smog inspection if two or more OBD II monitors are incomplete. Any one OBD 2 readiness monitor can be incomplete and a gasoline powered car will pass the smog inspection.
Most 2000 and newer gasoline powered vehicles are subject to stricter rules. A 2000 or newer model year vehicle will fail the smog inspection if any monitor other than the EVAP monitor is incomplete.
Most 1998 – 2006 OBD II certified diesel powered vehicles will fail the smog inspection if any monitors are incomplete. All OBD II monitors must be complete in order for a 1998 – 2006 model year OBD II certified diesel powered vehicle to pass the California state smog inspection.
Most 2007 and newer model year OBD II diesel powered vehicles can pass with two incomplete monitors. If more than two monitors are incomplete the vehicle will fail the smog inspection.
Some vehicles are known to have difficulties completing OBD II monitors and may be subject to different rules. For more information see the Smog Check OBD Reference.