When A Car Is Sold Who Is Responsible For The Inspection


In California, smog inspections are mandated for all vehicles with the exception of diesel-powered vehicles that are model 1997 or older with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 14,000 pounds. Other vehicles that are exempt include motorcycles, trailers, and any gasoline-powered vehicle that is 1975 or older. If you are planning to sell your vehicle, you may be wondering who is responsible for the smog inspection. Read on to find out more about the current guidelines.

Selling Your Car and Smog Testing

Every vehicle that is registered must submit proof of a proper smog certification every other renewal period. You should receive a notice of renewal in the mail from the DMV. The notice should indicate whether or not you will need a smog certification. If you do, it's important to get one performed as soon as possible or else you will not receive your renewed registration or sticker until the DMV receives it. And if you're trying to sell your car, you'll need to already have an updated sticker and registration, so you will likely already have the smog test done.


There are a few exceptions when it comes to smog testing. If your car is less than four years old (after the date of manufacture), then a smog test is not required at all. This does not apply to diesel vehicles. The new owner will pay a smog transfer fee. If your car is older than four years, you must provide proof of an up to date smog certification. There are exceptions, however. One exception is if you sell your vehicle to a relative or domestic partner. Another exception is if the biennial smog certification has been submitted to the DMV within 90 days prior to the transfer date.

The Bottom Line

As a seller, you are required to give your buyer a valid smog inspection certification at the time of sale or title transfer, which is good for 90 days after issuance. As long as you are aware of the correct and current guidelines, it should be easy to transfer and sell your vehicle to a new buyer. Make sure you understand all of the current requirements before putting your vehicle up for sale, and you should have no problems making the sale.

If your vehicle needs auto repair or smog testing, contact the pros at Dhillon Motorsports, formerly known as Smog Man San Jose, CA today!