Smog has become a real problem for many states throughout the country. It’s the fog or haze that often forms over top of larger cities as a direct result of the emissions that are produced by the vehicles in it. And it’s the reason why certain states require people to have a smog check done prior to registering a car or selling it. You’re going to have a tough time trying to sell a car without a smog check in a state like California.
If you own a car that probably isn’t going to be able to pass a smog check, you’re going to want to see whether or not it’s possible to sell a car without a smog check in your state. You’re also going to want to see what the answers are to all of the other questions that you probably have about selling a car without a smog check. It’s a good idea to find out what they are so that you’re able to avoid inadvertently breaking the law by selling a car without a smog check.
Continue reading to learn all about what smog checks are, why they’re so important, and how you might be able to sell a car without a smog check if you really want to do it.
What Is a Smog Check?
We’re obviously going to talk at length about the idea of trying to sell a car without a smog check today. But before we get into it, it’s important for you to know what a smog check actually is, just in case you’ve never had one done.
A smog check is essentially a test that is done on a car to see how many pollutants that it’s producing when it’s turned on. There are always at least some pollutants shooting out of the back of a car’s exhaust system. But in a perfect world, people need to be driving around with next to no pollutants coming out of their car.
During a smog check, a car will be hooked up to a special machine that is designed to measure the emissions that are coming out of it. The machine will measure emissions like:
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Hydrocarbons (HC)
- Oxygen (O2)
Most states force those who own cars to take part in some kind of smog check. But there are some states that are more serious about it than others. The aforementioned California is a great example of this. The state has special smog testing facilities set up that put cars through smog checks and result their findings to the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).
Is It Legal to Sell a Car Without a Smog Check?
If you’re going to sell a car, it’s a good idea for you to have a smog check done on it. It’ll help you avoid selling your car to someone and then having them take it in for a test only to find that it’s not able to pass a smog check. It’ll also help you avoid running afoul of the law in certain states.
In a state like California, it’s actually illegal for you to attempt to sell a car without a smog check. You need to have a smog check performed within 90 days of the sale of your car so that you’re able to set the buyer up with a smog certificate. Selling a car without a smog check is simply not allowed in the state and could put you in a position where you have no choice but to take your car back later and give up the money you were able to get for it.
You should check to see what the specific laws pertaining to smog checks are in your state before you try to sell a car without a smog check. It can help you avoid huge headaches down the line.
Are There Any Exemptions to the Laws About Selling a Car Without a Smog Check?
Generally speaking, anyone who goes to sell a car in a state like California is going to have to get a smog check done first. But there are a few exceptions to the smog check laws that are on the books. They could potentially help you steer clear of having to get a smog check done.
If, for instance, you have a car that is less than four years old, you aren’t going to have to get a smog check done on it before you sell it. You can sell a car without a smog check when it’s still on the newer side. The only catch is that whoever buys the car is going to have to pay for a smog transfer fee, and that could impact how much they’re willing to pay for your car in the first place.
You might also be able to get around paying for a smog check if you’re taking ownership of a car that was previously owned by a family member. You won’t have to normally worry about having a smog check done in this case. But it’s still smart to check with the DMV to be sure!
Who Is Responsible for Getting a Smog Check When Selling a Car?
There are some people who are under the impression that it’s the person buying a car who is going to be responsible for obtaining a smog check for it. Sellers will sometimes try to push this job off on buyers in the hopes that they’ll handle it for them.
But more often than not, states call for the sellers of cars and not the buyers to have smog checks done. The reason being, they want buyers to have the option to back out of a sale if they know that a car isn’t going to pass a smog check.
What Can You Do If a Car Won’t Pass a Smog Check?
There is a reason why some people will entertain the idea of trying to sell a car without a smog check. They know that their car isn’t going to be able to pass a smog check, and because of this, they’ll try to get around having one done.
As we’ve mentioned a few times now, it’s not legal to do this in most states. Instead, you’re going to need to bite the bullet and have the smog check done and then act accordingly if it doesn’t pass the check with flying colors. You’ll need to figure out what’s causing it to fail a smog check and make the necessary repairs to it.
The good news is that you might be able to make a simple change to your car to fix the problem. Replacing an old air filter could remedy the situation and get your car to pass a smog check. But there could also be a more serious problem—or worse, more serious problems—that are preventing your car from passing a smog check. It could result in you having to take drastic measures to unload your car.
Is There a Way to Sell a Car Without a Smog Check?
We know that we pretty much told you that you can’t sell a car without a smog check under any circumstances in certain states earlier. But we should point out that you might be able to get creative when selling a car without a smog certificate in order to push the sale through.
It’s still not going to be easy to sell a car without a smog check. But there are ways that you may be able to sell a car without a smog certificate while still staying well within the limits of the law. Check out some options you may have below.
1. Get a Buyer to Agree to Purchase a Car Without a Smog Check in Writing
If you want to sell a car without a smog check and the person buying it doesn’t mind that a smog check hasn’t been done, you might be able to get your DMV to agree to a sale. But before they do, they’re going to want to see some proof in writing that a buyer is OK with buying a car that you want to sell without a smog check.
You’re going to need to have a document that is separate from your bill of sale that says that a buyer is purchasing the car without a smog check being done. You’re going to want to notarize this document and submit it to the DMV when you and the buyer report the sale to them. They should accept this document and let the sale go through in most cases.
That being said, there are some states that aren’t going to let you sell a car without a smog check, no matter what. It’s why you shouldn’t assume your state is going to allow your sale to go through when you do it like this. You should hang onto the money that a buyer gives you for your car until they’re able to transfer the title for it over into their name.
2. Put a Planned Non-Operation Filing for a Car Into Place
States like California have made smog checks mandatory because they don’t want people driving around all over the place in cars that produce too many emissions. With this in mind, you might be able to sell a car without a smog check if you put what’s called a planned non-operation filing (PNO) into place at the time of the sale. It’ll let the DMV know that you’re selling a vehicle that isn’t going to be put out on the road once the buyer takes control of it.
As long as a vehicle has a PNO in place, you can legally sell a car without a smog check. But you should make sure that the buyer knows the terms that come along with a PNO filing. If they decide that they do, in fact, want to drive your car around after buying it, they’ll need to put in an application to have the PNO status removed and that could cost them some money. So you’re going to want to be sure that they know this going in.
3. Retire a Car Through the Department of Motor Vehicles
There are some states out there that are so desperate to get cars that produce a lot of emissions off the road that they’re willing to buy them from those who want to get rid of them. This could be an option for you if you want to sell a car without a smog check. You should call your local DMV and see if they have a program in place that will help you to “retire” your car.
A word of warning: You’re not going to get much for a car if you sell it in this way! You’ll be lucky to walk away with a few hundred dollars in your pocket. But it’s an option for anyone who wants to sell a car without a smog check.
4. Accept an Offer for a Car From a Junk Car Buyer
If you’re searching for the easiest possible way to sell a car without a smog check, this is it! You can sell a car without a smog check to a junk car buyer if you would like and get top dollar for it.
A junk car buyer isn’t going to buy your car and put it back out on the road in most cases. They’re going to buy it and then pull some of the parts from it before scrapping whatever is left. They’re also going to make sure that you fill out all the right forms to sell a car without a smog check. It’ll eliminate a lot of the stress that so often accompanies selling a car minus a smog check.
Do You Need to Sell a Car Without a Smog Check? We Can Help!
Do you need some help with trying to sell a car without a smog check? Cash Cars Buyer is here to set you up with all the assistance that you need.
We routinely buy cars that haven’t had smog checks done and do so legally to ensure that you won’t encounter any issues. All you need to do is let us know the year your car was produced, the make and model of your car, and the mileage on your car and we’ll make you an offer. It’s that simple!
Contact us today if you’ve been kicking around the idea of trying to sell a car without a smog check.