Shortly after relocating to the area I had to visit a smog station in order to renew my vehicle registration. The mechanic said my out-of-county vehicle prevented him from performing a smog check. He also said if I went to the Department of Motors Vehicles and told them I relocated to Mexicali, they would waive any smog requirements. Is this true? Are there legal ramifications for such a fib? — Smogging in El Centro
Sorry Smogging, it doesn’t seem like you’d be able to get out of testing your vehicle.
We thought this question would be an easy answer, just one call to the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, it’s not the DMV that handles smog testing.
Russ Heimerich, spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the Bureau of Automotive Repairs, said that smog rules depend on where a person registers their vehicle.
“It’s based on where the car is registered,” he said. “If he were living in Mexicali, he would have to register in Mexico.”
If it’s registered in California, you have to make the vehicle go though California requirements, which includes a smog test, Heimerich said. He didn’t see how a car could register without getting smog tested, but should a person lie about registering their vehicle, it’s perjury.
So unless you want to rent a house in Mexicali and register your vehicle there, you’re going to have to get it smog-tested.