DMV and State programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who needs a smog check?

A. There are three reasons to get a smog check.

  1. Registration Renewal: Every two years on most vehicles you are required to get a smog check to renew your registration with D.M.V.

Gasoline vehicles newer than 6 years old, hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement.

  1. Change of Ownership: Most vehicles need a smog check when they are bought or sold. It is the seller’s responsibility to have the vehicle inspected within 90 days of the transaction. If the vehicle is not registered within 90 days of being smogged it will need to be inspected again.
  2. Gasoline vehicles newer than 4 years old, hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement. Also, transfer of title between certain family members does not require a smog check.

More information is at the the state’s website.

A. Bringing in a car from out of state: Most cars coming from out of state seeking registration in California need to be smogged.
Hybrids, motorcycles, gasoline vehicles 1975 or older, and diesel vehicles 1997 and older are exempt from this requirement.

Q. Do I need to smog my diesel vehicle?

A. Maybe. Diesel vehicles 1997 and older are smog exempt. Diesel vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight over 14,500 lbs are also exempt from the smog inspection.

Q. Can you smog my all-wheel drive vehicle?

A. Yes. All-wheel drive vehicles are smogged doing a two-speed idle test rather than being tested on a dynamometer.

Q. Can you smog my full-sized Motor Home?


Q. My renewal notice doesn’t specify that I need to go to a test-only center. Can you still smog it?

A. Yes. We can perform a smog test on your car whether or not it has been directed to a test-only center.

Q. Can you send my smog results to the DMV if I don’t have my renewal form with me?

A. Yes. We use the Vehicle Identification Number that is imprinted on the vehicle itself to identify the vehicle with the DMV.

Q. Will my car pass with the check engine light on?

A. No. However, you may still want to have your car smogged anyway so you can take advantage of the Consumer Assistance Program to help pay for repairs.

Q. Will my car pass with an aftermarket air intake or other modification?

A. Aftermarket parts such as air intakes need a sticker with an eo# affixed to the vehicle to prove that those parts are legal for street use in California. If you have specific questions about specific parts on your car, ask us before we start the smog check, not after we start.

Smog Resources

Vehicle Smog Check History

If you know your vin number or license plate number, you can check your car’s smog check history at the state website.

Financial assistance for_repairs

California has the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) to help cover the expenses of emissions related repairs.

You can get an application from California Department of Consumer Affairs.

You can also call them at (800) 952-5210.

California’s Aftermarket Parts Lookup Web Site

California’s Department of Consumer Affairs Web Site

California’s Official Smog Check Web Site

Visit for more Smog Check information.

Registration Services Frequently Asked Questions

Registration Renewal:

Q. What paperwork will I need?

A. The Registration Renewal form that was mailed to you by the DMV helps things go smoother. If you do not have access to that form you can just bring the current registration. If you do not have either of those articles, please inform the service representative and the necessary paperwork will be provided for you in the office.

You can also download the replacement documents form and fill it out ahead of time by clicking on the link below:

Q. How long will the process take?

A. The process generally takes less than two minutes. Should there be any complications we will be able to inform you within five minutes.

Transfer of Title:

Q. What paperwork will I need?

A. You will need to provide the current title along with the Bill of Sale.

You can download the Bill of Sale form by clicking the link below:

Q. What information will be helpful to expedite the process?

A. Knowing basic information about the vehicle such as whether or not the vehicle has a lien placed on it or how many transfers the vehicle has been involved in will greatly assist in expediting the process.

Helpful Information:

Q. What happens if my Registration Renewal or Transfer of Title cannot be processed?

A. Unfortunately there are certain registrations and transfers that RPM Smog cannot process. In such circumstances the DMV will be the only place in which the registration or transfer process can be processed.

We cannot process registrations for in the following situations: Registration is suspended, If you have a fix-it ticket, Non-operational vehicles.

  1. How long will it take to receive my new title?
  2. The new title will be mailed out within 7-10 business days from the time the transfer process takes place.