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If you delay your smog test, you won’t get your sticker: Roadshow

Q: Our registration requires a smog test. My husband is immune-compromised. If we made a special request, would the DMV waive smog certifications during the quarantine? … We are seniors and don’t want to go out for a smog test if it’s not necessary. Will DMV waive that requirement during the shutdown? … I am in my 80s. I have paid my renewal fee but it continues to be incomplete pending a smog test. … We are in the at-risk group for COVID-19 but will get the smog test done as soon as we feel it is safe.

Claudia Brown, Peg Baker, Tom Darby, Frank Belluomini, Ken Luschar, Gwen Lockwood, and so many more

A: We don’t know when the COVID-19 risk will end. In the meantime, current DMV guidelines are that if you can’t or don’t want to go to a smog test center for health concerns, pay your registration before the deadline and submit a valid smog test later when you feel it is safe to do so. You won’t get your stickers until the smog certification is submitted.

Q: I need a smog certificate. I was sheltering-in-place, so I sent the check, which was cashed, but I didn’t get the smog done until later and am still waiting for my new sticker. Should I be worried? Will I risk a ticket by continuing to drive without a current sticker?

Susan Bennett

A: Unlikely in California, where law enforcement has been notified of this by the DMV.

Q: We had several vehicles whose registration was due between March 16 and May 31.

We paid the registration but did not get smog certification due to COVID-19 concerns and received DMV “notice of incomplete renewal,” showing renewal fee was paid but that smog certification was pending.

Then our sons drove our SUV to Washington and received a ticket for expired tags in Seattle.

Harlan Lau

A: This ticket will be hard to fight.

Q: My car is a 2015 diesel VW Golf Sportwagen, and in 2018 I had the car smogged. This year I had to have my car again smogged, for a second time in 5 years. My previous new cars — which were gas, not diesel — did not have to be smogged for at least 5 years, if not longer. Is this because my VW is diesel or is it because of the VW scandal in 2015?

Linda Garcia, San Jose

A: Smog inspections are required during a diesel vehicle’s initial registration in California and once every two years thereafter.

Smog fees are now charged for newer gas-powered cars. The annual fees are $20 for vehicles with a model year of six years or newer, and $25 for vehicles in model year seven and eight.


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Author: Gary Richards

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