When does a car need to be smogged?

Ask the DMV
By: George Valverde, California Department of Motor Vehicles
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Q: I bought my car two years ago, but have never had a smog check. Am I supposed to get routine smog checks, or will the DMV notify me when it’s time to get one done? A: The California Department of Motor Vehicles will notify you. When you receive your vehicle registration renewal notice, it will indicate if a smog certification is required. If you are required to get a smog inspection but have not done so by the time your registration renewal fees are due, you must still pay registration fees to avoid any late fees, but your new stickers will not be issued until the DMV has received proper smog certification for your vehicle. Smog inspections are required for all vehicles except those four model-years old and newer, diesel-powered vehicles, electric, natural gas-powered vehicles over 14,000 pounds, hybrids, motorcycles, trailers, or vehicles 1975 and older. Vehicles that are four or less model-years old pay a “smog abatement fee,” included in your registration fee. Visit to learn more about smog requirements. Q: I live in an area where there are often people riding their bicycles on the road. How exactly do I handle sharing the road with them? Do I treat them like other drivers, do I give them the right of way, or do I pass them? A: According to the 2009 California Driver Handbook, bicycles on public streets have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers and you should treat them as such. Because they are entitled to share the road with you, you must respect them and give them proper space on the road. Bicyclists should only ride in the same direction as other traffic, and should make left and right hand turns in the same manner that an automobile does, using the same turn lanes. Both drivers and bicyclists should watch out for one another to ensure the road is shared safely. The California Driver Handbook contains additional rules of the road concerning bicyclists and vehicles. It can be downloaded from Q: I recently noticed that my driver license looks a bit damaged, and I am concerned that it doesn’t look valid anymore. Should I replace it? A: A damaged driver license should be replaced. You can apply for a duplicate license by scheduling an appointment and visiting a DMV field office. There, you will fill out the proper form, pay an application fee and have your picture taken. The DMV will validate all your personal information to keep your identity secure, so expect them to ask for your social security number and other information. You’ll be issued an interim license to use until you receive your duplicate photo license, which should arrive within 60 days. George Valverde is the director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Do you have questions about general driving related requirements like registration or insurance? Are you unclear about laws and restrictions related to driving? The California DMV has answers at And now, you can submit any DMV-related questions at