Testing Hours / Schedule

Failures & Retests

The state of California requires that all their counties (with the exception of six) have their residents get their vehicle’s emissions checked (also referred to as a smog check).  When it is time for you to renew your registration you must first get a smog certificate.  A smog certificate is a print out of your vehicle’s emissions testing results.  After receiving the smog certificate you have 90 days in which you must complete the registration process for your vehicle.

California has very strict vehicle emission rules.  If your vehicle passed an emissions test in another state that does not mean that it has met California’s standards.  If you purchase a vehicle out of state or if you are bringing your vehicle to the state of California you should check with California’s DMV to see if you need an emissions test done in California in order to register your vehicle.

If you are buying or selling your car within California you should be aware that the seller is required to give the buyer a smog certification when the vehicle is sold or transferred.  This certification is good for ninety days from when it was issued.   If the vehicle being sold is powered by gasoline and the vehicle is less than four year old a smog certification is not required.

The following counties all require that a smog inspection is done:

Alameda Monterey Santa Cruz
Butte Napa Shasta
Colusa Nevada Solano
Contra Costa Orange Stanislaus
Fresno Sacramento Sutter
Glenn San Benito Tehama
Kern San Francisco Tulare
Kings San Joaquin Ventura
Los Angeles San Luis Obispo Yolo
Madera San Mateo Yuba
Marin Santa Barbara
Merced Santa Clara

The following six counties only require a smog certification within certain zip codes:

Sonoma, San Bernardino, El Dorado, San Diego, Placer, and Riverside

You can check on which Zip Codes require a smog certification by going here.


The reason why California is so tough against smog and emissions is because California became renowned for having very bad air quality, specifically in the Los Angeles area.  In order to correct the issue California issued very strict laws concerning smog inspections.  California requires smog inspections for all vehicles with the exception of diesel powered vehicles manufactured prior to 1998 or with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 14,000 lbs, electric, natural gas powered vehicles over 14,000 lbs, hybrids, motorcycles, trailers, or gasoline powered vehicles 1975 and older.

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