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Vehicle Registration

Do I Have to Smog Check a Car before Selling It?

I sold my car privately. I had the new buyer sign an AS IS Bill of sale. I did not know I needed to smog the car. It has tags good until 10/2018. The DMV told me I should have but is not enforceable since the new owner excepted the car without one. They drove the car around and now it has issues that did not exist when I sold it to them. They are asking me to smog the car or they will sue me.


This is a tough situation which should be discussed with an attorney. Our answer to your question is not meant as legal advise. With that said, the DMV representative's comment/advice regarding smog check requirements when selling vehicles is not accurate from a legal stand point.

Section 24007 (b)(2) of the California Vehicle Code states it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery. Therefore the seller is always responsible for the smog certificate even if they mention the car is sold "as-is". Often times one will buy a vehicle without a smog certificate and later find out the vehicle has problems passing the smog inspection; not to say this is the situation in your particular case, but it's not an uncommon occurrence.

The situation now becomes a civil matter, and at times the courts need to be involved. An amicable solution with the seller is always best. We recommend first discussing the vehicle's repair needs with the buyer, and if need be, getting legal help after that. Or, you may simply wait to see if in fact the seller will sue you, and plead your case to the court. We're going to speculate and say the court's decision will differ from one judge to the next.

Disclaimer: This is in no way to be considered legal advice.

posted by SmogTips Support

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