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California has some of the strictest air pollution regulations in the United States, and the state’s Smog Check program is a crucial part of this effort to reduce emissions. The program, which is administered by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), requires most vehicles to undergo regular emissions testing to ensure they are not contributing to the state’s smog problem.

The Smog Check program applies to most vehicles that were manufactured in 1976 or later, with a few exceptions. For example, electric vehicles, motorcycles, and diesel-powered vehicles with a model year of 1997 or older are not required to participate. Additionally, vehicles that are six or less model years old are not required to undergo a Smog Check for the first six years of their life.

There are two types of Smog Checks that vehicles may be required to undergo: the biennial Smog Check and the Change of Ownership Smog Check. The biennial Smog Check is required every two years for most vehicles, while the Change of Ownership Smog Check is required whenever a vehicle is sold or transferred to a new owner.

The biennial Smog Check involves a visual inspection of the vehicle’s emissions control systems, as well as a functional test of the vehicle’s emissions using a dynamometer or an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) test. The OBD test, which is used for most vehicles 1996 and newer, checks the vehicle’s onboard computer system to ensure that it is functioning properly and that the vehicle is not producing excessive emissions.

If a vehicle fails a Smog Check, the owner will be required to have the necessary repairs made and have the vehicle retested. If the vehicle still fails after repairs, the owner may be eligible for a waiver or a financial assistance program such as the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP).

The Change of Ownership Smog Check is similar to the biennial Smog Check, with the main difference being that it is required only when a vehicle is sold or transferred to a new owner. This requirement applies to both private sales and sales through licensed dealerships.

The Smog Check program has been successful in reducing emissions in California. According to the BAR, the program has resulted in a significant reduction in smog-forming pollutants and has helped to improve air quality in the state. However, the program has also been criticized for being too costly and for placing an undue burden on vehicle owners.

Overall, California’s Smog Check program is an important tool for reducing emissions and improving air quality in the state. While it may be seen as an inconvenience for some vehicle owners, the benefits of the program in terms of improved air quality and public health make it a necessary program for the state. It is also important to note that passing Smog Check can also increase the value of your vehicle and make it easier to sell. It is important to stay current with the Smog Check program requirements and to have your vehicle tested regularly to avoid any issues or penalties.