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Old 12-16-2009, 06:23 PM   #1
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Default Selling a car that won't pass smog

this is in Cali, I Googled this and the 8 pages I went to it was about 50/50 on yes/no. I have a 2000 Taurus with the check engine light on. A neighbor said he believed I needed to have it pass smog before I could legally sell it. I've never sold a car before that had a check engine lite on. Looking it up, sure enough they require it, I think? If what I read on a few sites is right, I can sell it as non operable and don't need to worry about it. But for this it has to be non operable, which it isn't. I'm not trying to break any laws but I don't want to pay to have the repairs done. I just want to sell it "as-is" But it looks like even selling it as-is doesn't mean much when it comes to the laws out here. I am telling everyone who's inquiring that the check engine light is on so it needs works. I lowered the asking price accordingly. I don't really have the money to have the work done, but I need to get rid of it asap.

I can't call the DMV today because they're closed on every 3rd Wednesday of the month because of this stupid Cali budget crisis, or I'd be on the phone with them right now.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:27 PM   #2
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Sell outside of CA FTW?
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:27 PM   #3
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It's almost tax season, donate it and party like it's 1999!
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:21 PM   #4
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Here's what I don't get (using my brain lol) I just bought a used car, and got the titled signed over to me right at the AAA office. And they said I'd get my registration in the mail in a few weeks. Am I going to have to get the car smogged when I get the paper work in the mail?
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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If the seller of your vehicle passed smog within 60 days of the sale date, then you won't have to pass smog for another 2 years (in CA). Since you got the title of the previously registered vehicle, I am assuming the seller already took care of the smog.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:06 PM   #6
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A guy who wants to buy my car is saying we can go to the DMV and get a certificate of noncompliance which according to him will allow me to transfer the title over to him. Googling this and all the links I'm finding don't address exactly what it is. Does anyone here know anything about this? I'm stuck here as the repairs will cost more $$$ than I have. But without the repairs I can't sell the car, which I'd need to sell to get the $$$ to get the repairs done. Aside from getting a buyer to pay for them up front I'm unsure what else I can do here.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:23 PM   #7
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Call the DMV in the morning and ask them.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:33 PM   #8
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IANAL, but speaking from memory as an ex-SoCal-ian it is the responsibility of the seller to pass smog, but the new owner registering the car has to present proof. I don't think the State Board of Equalization will go after the seller, the DMV just won't license the car. The buyer can probably go after the seller in small claims court. I know that it was pretty common practice to sell off cars regardless of whether it has or can pass smog testing. I think this was more common where I lived because of the smog testing rules. Depending on where you live, you either have to get your car smog tested annually, once every two years or only when you sell the vehicle. I lived in the boondocks where it only has to be tested when you sell the vehicle, so nobody was in the habit of getting their car tested.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:35 PM   #9
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Going from the "chasing cars" shows, you can sell it w/o issue, but the new owner won't be able to register it.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:34 PM   #10
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Is the registration current? If so, you have nothing to worry about. Sell the car as is, it is the buyers responsibility to get the car smogged...and he will have to get it smogged. I bought a used car a few years ago and when I went to DMV they said I had to get it smogged before I could transfer the registration to my name.

The fact that it has a CEL doesn't necessarily mean it won't pass smog.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:53 PM   #11
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Is the registration current? If so, you have nothing to worry about. Sell the car as is, it is the buyers responsibility to get the car smogged...and he will have to get it smogged. I bought a used car a few years ago and when I went to DMV they said I had to get it smogged before I could transfer the registration to my name.

The fact that it has a CEL doesn't necessarily mean it won't pass smog.
in Cali if the CEL is on they won't even smog it, they'll tell you to fix it and bring it back. Also if they can't register it without it passing smog won't the car still be in my name?
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:20 AM   #12
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Do you know what the CEL is? Have you tried resetting it? You may be able to reset it long enough for the car to get smogged. Once you have the smog certificate you have 60 or 90 days to sell it -- I forget which.
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:29 AM   #13
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Do you know what the CEL is? Have you tried resetting it? You may be able to reset it long enough for the car to get smogged. Once you have the smog certificate you have 60 or 90 days to sell it -- I forget which.
yeah a fuel regulator sensor, the way the brains in cars work, if I was to unhook the battery long enough to reset the CEL the smog machine won't be able to smog the car. Something about it has to be driven 50-100 miles after unhooking the battery before it resets to a point where the brains are back online and it will pass smog. This makes sense as I'm sure people who know they couldn't pass smog would simply unhook the battery and take it in knowing it will pass. After the brains reset the CEL will come back on and I'll be screwed again.
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:00 AM   #14
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Take the battery out and have the purchaser tow it home. He can them make it operable. You are in CA, they fuck you at every turn so just give it back to them.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
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yeah a fuel regulator sensor, the way the brains in cars work, if I was to unhook the battery long enough to reset the CEL the smog machine won't be able to smog the car. Something about it has to be driven 50-100 miles after unhooking the battery before it resets to a point where the brains are back online and it will pass smog. This makes sense as I'm sure people who know they couldn't pass smog would simply unhook the battery and take it in knowing it will pass. After the brains reset the CEL will come back on and I'll be screwed again.
Interesting...I guess this is new with OBD II. I knew someone who was able to smog an OBD I vehicle after resetting the light for EGR issue.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:36 AM   #16
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Not a new issue at all. In most states that check the Check Engine Light or hook up an OBD II scan tool, all codes must be clear and the Readiness Indicator set to Ready. It will not be set to Ready, if a code has been cleared out and a Drive Cycle, which is usually a certain number of start / stop cycles & or mileage without a code being set are met. Codes will stay in OBD II computer history, even though the dash CEL light is not on.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:03 AM   #17
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Do you know what the CEL is? Have you tried resetting it? You may be able to reset it long enough for the car to get smogged. Once you have the smog certificate you have 60 or 90 days to sell it -- I forget which.
He doesn't have to smog it unless the registration is up for renewal and the state says he needs to smog it. The buyer has a certain amount of time after purchase to have the car smogged (I think it is 30 days). If he priced the car accordingly I don't see why he even has to worry about it.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:56 PM   #18
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Smog Information
Currently, smog inspections are required for all vehicles except diesel powered vehicles, electric, natural gas powered vehicles over 14,000 lbs, hybrids, motorcycles, trailers, or vehicles 1975 and older.
Vehicles registered in areas subject to the biennial smog certification program are required to submit evidence of a smog certification every other renewal period. Owners of vehicles six or less model years old will pay an annual smog abatement fee for the first six registration years instead of being required to provide a biennial smog certification. The registration renewal notice mailed to you by the department will indicate if a smog certification is required. If a smog certification is required and you have not had a smog inspection, you may still pay your registration fees to avoid any late fees. However, you will not receive your new registration or year sticker until the smog information has been received by DMV.
NOTE: Upon initial registration, nonresident and specially constructed vehicles 1976 and newer require smog certification. The six or less model years old rule does not apply to these vehicles.

When you transfer a vehicle that is four or less model years old a smog certification is not required. (Determine the oldest-qualifying year model by subtracting three from the current year.) A smog transfer fee will be collected from the new owner. When a vehicle is more than four model years old, a seller must provide evidence of a current smog certification except when one of the following occurs:
  • The transfer occurs between a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild.
  • A biennial smog certification was submitted to DMV within 90 days prior to the vehicle transfer date (a vehicle inspection report may be required for proof of certification).
Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.


http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/smogfaq.htm
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:14 PM   #19
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He doesn't have to smog it unless the registration is up for renewal and the state says he needs to smog it. The buyer has a certain amount of time after purchase to have the car smogged (I think it is 30 days). If he priced the car accordingly I don't see why he even has to worry about it.
Wrong.

The transfer requires a smog. The seller is supposed to do it but that doesn't always happen.

You can still submit the release of liability slip showing that you sold the vehicle but as mentioned, the buyer won't be able to transfer the vehicle into their name without the smog cert.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:04 PM   #20
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Wrong.

The transfer requires a smog. The seller is supposed to do it but that doesn't always happen.

You can still submit the release of liability slip showing that you sold the vehicle but as mentioned, the buyer won't be able to transfer the vehicle into their name without the smog cert.
Well, I stand corrected. The last time I bought a used car was probably 6+ years ago. I had to get it smogged after I bought it so that's what I based my post on. That piece of shit is probably in a junk yard now...where it belongs.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:12 PM   #21
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Thanks for the info guy, I don't understand how releasing liability on a car a person can't smog gets me off the hook for anything except if they get in a wreck. But I don't have the $$$ to fix it, so I'm going to sell it and leave it up the buyer to get the shit to pass smog. I thought if I did this they'd come after me if the buyer turns out to be a flake who doesn't get the problems fixed.
But if the the car can't be registered it would still be in my name, so wouldn't the DMV me on my ass about it? I thought release of liability was just to keep me from getting sued if they get drunk and kill someone (or something)
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:23 PM   #22
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It's kind of "in limbo" I guess. You're not "responsible" per se, but you still own the car. Maybe you should just donate it? I can't imagine its worth all that much to sell to someone.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:09 AM   #23
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In MA, you can sell it "as-is", but you have to disclose the fact the it did not pass inspection. Once it leaves your hands and the buyer agrees to the terms, it is no longer on you. He is simply buying the car....buying a car does not imply passing an inspection if you disclose that it will not pass. Now, if he bought it and you did not disclose it, then he has every right to return the vehicle. Infact, in MA, you are supposed to get an inspection after a transfer of a title, but no one does it.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:16 AM   #24
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It's kind of "in limbo" I guess. You're not "responsible" per se, but you still own the car. Maybe you should just donate it? I can't imagine its worth all that much to sell to someone.
KBB on it's $2,850 I can still get about $1,800 for it. I'm low on cash right now so $1,800 would go a pretty long way.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:22 AM   #25
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I believe you can transfer the title but it cannot be registered, and you will need to submit a statement of facts. In effect, this is selling an un-registered car. (IANAL)
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