Inspections in California: Vehicle and Smog/Emissions
When you have a vehicle shipped to California, there are certain things you must do in order to lawfully have the car registered in the state. First you must be registered as a resident. From there, you can begin the process of vehicle registration. This process may require you to pass a vehicle inspection or smog/emission inspection before it can be registered. You will have anywhere from 10 to 20 days depending on circumstances, to complete this process so it is best to get started right after the vehicle enters the state.
What Is Included in a Vehicle Inspection?
- Review of the engine compartment- check for leaks, fluid levels, condition of belts, and safe start features
- Cab check and engine start- pressure gauges, mirrors, windshield, wipers, emergency equipment, lights, heater/AC, and brakes
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- Steering – check boxes, hoses and linkage
- Suspension – check springs, torques, mounts, and shock absorbers
- Brakes – inspect slack adjustors, pushrods, chambers, hoses and lines, and linings
- Wheels – check rims, tires, axle seals, hub oil, lug nuts, and spacers
- Side of Vehicle – doors, windows, mirrors, fuel tank, exhaust system, frame, and drive shaft
- Rear of Vehicle – splash guards, doors, ties and lifts
Depending on the vehicle type, other facets of the vehicle may be inspected also. Everything listed above is checked over to assure it is in good condition. Each facet inspected must meet the state standards before it can pass vehicle inspection.
What Is Included in a Smog/Emissions Inspection?
After establishing residency you have 20 days to complete California’s smog/emissions inspection. If you are already a registered resident, a new car may only have 10 days to pass this inspection. However, not all vehicles must undergo this inspection.
Vehicles Exempt from the Smog/Emissions Test
- Gasoline powered vehicles made in 1975 and older
- Diesel powered vehicles made in 1997 and older
- Natural gas powered vehicles weighing over 14,000 lbs
- Diesel powered vehicles weighing over 14,000 lbs
- Electric or hybrid vehicles
All vehicles are required to take a biannual smog/emissions test unless they are 6 years or older. In this case, as the owner you will be charged $20 annually for a smog abatement fee for the first 6 years. After 6 years of paying the smog abatement fee, you are required to take the biannual test.
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