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What is the Difference between Emissions Testing and a Smog Check?


Emissions Testing vs. Smog Check

State and local mandated emissions testing meets the EPA Tier 2 standard, while smog testing meets California's higher standard for EPA Tier 3.

How Do I Know If I Need a Smog Test?

Your DMV registration renewal notice will indicate "Smog Check Required" if your vehicle needs a smog check.

When Is a Smog Check Required?

  • If you are selling a car or truck that is more than four years old
  • When you register an out-of-state vehicle for the first time in California, you will need a smog check
  • Every other year for vehicles that are more than six years old

When Is a Smog Check Not Required?

  • 100% electric-powered vehicles do not need a smog check
  • Motorcycles do not need a smog check
  • Got a classic car? Vehicles that are model-year 1975 and older do not require a smog check
  • Vehicles six model years and newer do not require a biennial Smog check
  • Selling your car? Cars that are four model years and newer do not require a change-of-ownership Smog check
  • Diesel-powered trucks that are model year 1997 and older
  • Diesel-powered trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds


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