Yes, you always need a smog check in California if vehicle ownership changes, unless one of the following conditions are met:
- The vehicle is four or less model years old. For example, in 2018, the model years of 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 do not need to have a smog inspection.
- If the vehicle already had a smog check for registration purposes, and the transfer occurs within 60 days of the registration renewal.
- If the vehicle is being transferred to children, to grandchildren, to parents or grandparents, , or between spouses.
- Ownership change from a sole-proprietor business to the proprietor as the owner
- A transfer between leasing companies “if there is no change in the lessee or operator of the vehicle or between the lessor and the person who has been, for at least one year, the lessee’s operator of the vehicle“
- A transfer between the lessor and lessee with no change occurring in the operator of the vehicle.
- Adding an individual to the title.
- If the vehicle is more than 30 or more model years old