Automotive Tips

What are the vehicle smog inspection requirements in California?

California, especially Southern California, has long had it’s problems with smog and air quality over the years which has resulted in laws being passed to protect our air environment. One of these laws requires that vehicles be given a smog inspection every other year in order to have an approved registration by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Unfortunately, some wait until the moment that their registration due date is up to get inspection and run into problems when they find out that their vehicle needs repairs in order to pass, resulting in a delay. We at Southern California Jiffy Lube have compiled a list of helpful information about vehicle registrations in our state for your benefit.  

First off, if your vehicle is less than 6 years old it is exempt from an emissions test however you will be required to pay a mandatory $20 smog abatement fee before you can be registered. There are other exemptions such as:

  • Gas powered vehicles made in 1975 or before
  • Diesel-powered vehicles manufactured before 1997 (or a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of more than 14,000 pounds)
  • Electric vehicles
  • Natural gas powered vehicles heavier than 14,000 pounds
  • Motorcycles
  • Hybrids
  • Trailers  

If your vehicle does not fall into any of the above the categories, you can go on to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website and enter your zip code to see if a smog inspection is required in your county. You can also check your vehicle registration renewal notice which will also inform you of the type of testing station you can take your vehicle to (smog testing station, a test-only station, or a STAR station with higher testing standards).

Should your vehicle pass the smog inspection, the results will be electronically sent to the DMV and you will be given a receipt and a copy of the test results also known as a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). If your vehicle fails to pass, the station will give you a copy of the report and inform you why your vehicle did not hold up to the test standards. In this case your vehicle will need to be repaired and retested in order to be registered.

Southern California Jiffy Lube service centers offers regular maintenance for vehicles and we’re conveniently located all throughout the Southland. By having us service your vehicle, you can have a peace of mind when it comes to inspection time. We will also perform vehicle safety inspections at selected locations for first time vehicle registrations, along with emissions tests. Let’s partner together to keep vehicles in inspection passing condition and to help keep our air in California clean for us all to enjoy.    

©2021 Jiffy Lube service centers are owned and operated by independent franchisees.