CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Smog Inspection in San Diego, CA, for Out-of-State Car

My daughter is a college student in San Diego and needs to have a California smog inspection on a 2004 Hyundai XG350/L (licensed in Maryland) to fulfill emission requirements for the state of Maryland.

I’m concerned that the service stations that provide the inspections may see an opportunity to charge for unnecessary repairs or tests.

Can anyone recommend a trusted inspection site in the San Diego area to perform the test? And any suggestions for optimizing our chances for passing the inspection, which I understand is more rigorous than what we have in Maryland.

Thanks!
Suzy Gerlak
Baltimore, Maryland

The DMV might waive it until she returns to MD. Did you talk to the DMV about a waiver since the car is almost 3000 miles away? The way your post reads, you may have. I just want to make sure.

If the check engine light is not on and the car has been maintained properly, not smoking and not using too much gas or oil, it should pass.
They do have “test only” stations, usually the DMV will ask the older cars to go there so that they would not take advantage of the owner due to conflicts on interest, ie recommending repairs and doing them themselves.

You can ask her to go to the test only stations and that would decrease the chances of being ripped.

Make sure the engine is pretty warm/hot when going for the test, like a 5-10 mile drive.

Also search online and in the local ads/circulars for coupons. Pretty much all stations honor legit coupons from another one to keep the competition going.

If the car is registered in Maryland, a California emissions test may not mean much…Talk to your DMV, explain the situation and they might give you an emissions waiver until the car is back in Maryland…

Great feedback…

Inspection Acceptance - The Maryland MVA will indeed accept an out-of-state inspection. We simply need to fax the California certificate along with our tag number (and hopefully not an endless number of follow up phone calls).

Waivers - We can get a waiver, but the car will remain in California beyond the waiver period.

Test Only Stations - This is exactly what I need! I somehow missed this on my initial investigation and will research further to locate one of these.

Many thanks!