Smog Check Tips for Hybrid Vehicles

Until recently, the State of California did not require hybrid vehicles to undergo a smog check in order to renew their vehicle registration. However, hybrid vehicles do produce smog and more modern test procedures combine a scan of the hybrid vehicle's On-Board Diagnostic system with a visual inspection of the hybrid's emission control components to assess its performance. 

Starting in April 2015, the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began issuing registration renewal notices to hybrid owners in California. The DMV also requires a smog check for hybrids when changing ownership and for out-of-state hybrid vehicles registered for the first time in California.

The following tips will help your hybrid vehicle operate more efficiently, which saves you even more money at the gas pump!

  • Regular maintenance
    Change your oil and filters as recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer (usually every 3 months or 3,000 miles) to help your vehicle operate efficiently and increase its odds of passing the smog check. It is also important to use the type of oil and fuel recommended by the manufacturer for best performance.
  • Watch for leaks
    Low fluid levels can affect the efficiency and performance of your vehicle, which can cause a test failure.
  • Gas cap required
    State regulations require that your gas cap is in place and is of the correct type for your vehicle to avoid excess evaporative emissions.
  • Watch for warning lights
    The same "On Board Diagnostics" system in your vehicle that triggers the warning light is the same system that reports its information to our inspection station's computer determining if your vehicle meets state requirements, so if your vehicle's computer is triggering a "Check Engine" light, it may not pass the smog check.
  • New or disconnected battery?
    If your battery is disconnected, or if it died and needed a jump start, your vehicle's computer system resets itself and would fail due to a lack of data even if your vehicle is operating properly. Driving between 100 - 150 miles (consult your vehicle's manual for an exact number) before coming in for your smog check will make sure your vehicle has gathered enough information for its test.

Visit a DEKRA smog check station for more expert advice and a fast, professional vehicle inspection on your hybrid, gasoline-powered or diesel vehicle. Download a $5 off coupon for your vehicle's next smog check!


Hybrid FAQs

Hybrid FAQ's

View frequently asked questions and more from the State of California's smog check site.

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