A Family Member Gave Me A Car. Is A Smog Inspection Required?

Woman Driver

In California, if a family member gives you a car, it might not need a smog inspection to transfer the title. It depends on a few factors, including the familial relation. Bear in mind, California is one of the strictest states when it comes to vehicle emissions testing, so it's best to check with the DMV to ensure you don't need a smog. If you do, Dhillon Motorsports, formerly known as Smog Man San Jose is a STAR-certified station.

Family Relationship

The DMV understands that if you receive a vehicle from an immediate family member, chances are you know whether it's due for a smog check or not. For example, you would be exempt from a required smog inspection if you acquire the car from a

  • Domestic partner/spouse
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Sibling
  • Child
  • Grandchild

These are the only relationships that allow for a smog inspection exemption, however. Should your aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, cousin, or another relative offer you a car, the relative or you will be required to have it smog checked in order to transfer the title.

One Caveat

Of course, the DMV has one caveat attached to the smog-check exemption: The vehicle must already be registered in the State of California. If it isn't, it doesn't matter which relative gives you the car, you must have it smog checked before you can have registered in the state.

This might prove to be an issue if, for example, your father who lives in Arizona buys a new car and decides to give you his old one. The vehicle must pass California emissions standards prior to registration and title-change, and Arizona is more lapse in their standards that California is.

All Is Not Lost

All is not lost, however. Provided the vehicle is in good shape, it will probably pass the smog inspection. If it doesn't, you can always have it repaired or file for a permanent exemption provided the car is electric or a 1975 or older model. If you believe the car should be exempt from smog inspections, contact the DMV to apply for the reprieve.

If it isn't exempt, bring it into Dhillon Motorsports, formerly known as Smog Man San Jose in San Jose, CA. We are a test and repair station, which means we'll run the smog check and diagnose and repair any issues should the vehicle fail so it'll pass the second time. Call us at 408-999-0699 for more information.

Call Dhillon Motorsports, formerly known as Smog Man San Jose for an appointment today!


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