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Question about taking a car from MO to CA
Old 08-20-2012, 03:11 PM   #1
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Question about taking a car from MO to CA

My church has a volenter spot in CA I am thinking about taking it. I was going to drive out there. Would there be a problem titling my car in CA?
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:13 PM   #2
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You'll need to pass the smog test. Emission standards may be more stringent here. Other than that, shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:16 PM   #3
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It is a 1996 car is it harder to pass when they get older? It is a 4 cylinder Chevy. What would happen if it did not pass?
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:24 PM   #4
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In addition to the smog test (the biggie for older cars), the car will have to be physically inspected by the DMV.

All about the smog inspection:
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/smogfaq.htm#BM2536

This is the paperwork you'll need:
Quote:
The following is required to register a vehicle from out–of–state:

An Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) (PDF) signed by all registered owners as they appear on the out-of-state registration and/or title. Enter the name(s) and address of the registered owner(s) and lienholder (legal owner), if any, and complete the questions on the application.

Last issued out-of-state title. (Not required if there is no change of registered owner and a California title is not requested.) If the out-of-state title is not surrendered the California registration card issued will say nontransferable and a California title will not be issued.

Last issued registration certificate or renewal notice for the current year or a letter from the last registration jurisdiction verifying the registration period.

The vehicle must be inspected by an authorized DMV employee, law enforcement officer, or a licensed vehicle verifier. These inspections are most easily obtained by bringing the vehicle to the nearest DMV. There is no charge for the inspection. For faster service, make an Appointment(s) .

Smog certification, if applicable

Weight certificate, if applicable

Appropriate fees and any use tax due

Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (REG 4008) (PDF) form for commercial motor vehicles (pickups with unladen weight of 8,000 lbs. or less are exempt from this requirement)

Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Application Certification (REG 4017) (PDF).
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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Make sure you do it within the time period. CA, in their quest for revenues, has made it easier to report folks who don't update their auto registration.
So if you make a neighbor or coworker angry, they might report you.

Contact The CHP

You are required by law to re-tag your car within 20 days of moving to the state.
When I moved back to CA both hubby and I had to take a day off work to get our cars retitled.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:27 PM   #6
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In addition to the smog test (the biggie for older cars), the car will have to be physically inspected by the DMV.

All about the smog inspection:
Smog Information
Here in Illinois, you also have to know how to discreetly press 5 $10 bills into the hand of the vehicle inspector while avoiding direct eye contact. After that, your car will pass inspection. Otherwise, forget it.........
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:43 AM   #7
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Are you maintaining a residence in Montana? If so, it'd likely be less hassle to retain the Montana registration and return for inspection.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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Oops, Missouri....(I know I should have paid attention in 7th grade social studies...)
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:08 PM   #9
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If I take it I will be leaving MO. I can not afford to keep it. I am in the dark here we don't have a smog inspection. What are my chances with a 16 year old chevy getting past the smog inspection?
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:52 PM   #10
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My suggestion would be to sell your car to the closest used car lot, fly to California and purchase a vehicle out there. You eliminate trouble along the route, save time and eliminate your car not passing some inspection out there. I'll bet you can find a car out there that meets all your expectations and will pass any test. Put troubles behind you.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:29 PM   #11
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My suggestion would be to sell your car to the closest used car lot, fly to California and purchase a vehicle out there. You eliminate trouble along the route, save time and eliminate your car not passing some inspection out there. I'll bet you can find a car out there that meets all your expectations and will pass any test. Put troubles behind you.
Plus the floorboards won't be rusted out.

Ha
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:37 PM   #12
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It is a 1996 car is it harder to pass when they get older? It is a 4 cylinder Chevy. What would happen if it did not pass?
I think the emission limits are so high that basically your catalytic converter would have to fall off in order to fail. I have a 95 accord (4cyl) and it passes without coming anywhere close to the failure limits.

I actually think the smog tests are an incredible waste of money and I would much rather give the money directly to the state to be spent on directly improving the environment.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:14 PM   #13
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My recollection is that an out-of-state car has to pass the smog requirements that were in place when and where that car was made. It does not have to pass CA standards which I believe are often tougher. What you do have to do is pay an extra fee to register it for the first time.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:02 AM   #14
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Thanks Photoguy and mb you have been very helpful. Thanks to all the other posters also.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:24 AM   #15
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I actually think the smog tests are an incredible waste of money and I would much rather give the money directly to the state to be spent on directly improving the environment.
I thought that the tighter emission limit in California was a state requirement and not an EPA regulation. Also, they might have a need for that due to the higher population density, no? People in Montana or Wyoming would not care as much.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:17 PM   #16
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I thought that the tighter emission limit in California was a state requirement and not an EPA regulation. Also, they might have a need for that due to the higher population density, no? People in Montana or Wyoming would not care as much.
In general, I'm very supportive of tougher emissions regulations and I think the end goal is great. In many cities, like LA, you can see a brown layer of crud in skies -- this makes it very hard to get good skyline photos

But it seems to me that the current method of smog testing is an inefficient method of doing so. Anecdotally, my experience has been that very few cars (even clunkers) fail and the testing schedule doesn't seem to be based on risk of failure (every car tested biennially after the first 5 years). When cars do fail, mechanics often tell the driver to go run the car for an hour so it's hot and just retest (my college room-mate passed this way). Fraud also seems to be an issue as well:

'Widespread fraud' in California's smog test program - Los Angeles Times

It costs about $50 per test so over a 20 year life span for a car, you are looking at about 8 tests or $400 per car not including time taken by the owner to get the car tested. So I'm thinking what's the opportunity cost -- for example what if CA instead required even tougher emissions standards, or emissions components with greater longevity, which raised the cost of a car by $400? Or they took the $400 and put it into public transportation?

However, I admit I could be completely wrong about the smog test program as I have not looked at any hard data about its effectiveness.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:14 PM   #17
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I thought that the tighter emission limit in California was a state requirement and not an EPA regulation.
The regulations/requirements are specific to CA. My understanding is that CA had regulations in place before federal laws were put in place and therefore they were "grandfathered" and allowed to retain their own regulations. I think that they must be at least as strict as the federal limits but I'm not 100% sure about that.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:13 PM   #18
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I think the emission limits are so high that basically your catalytic converter would have to fall off in order to fail. I have a 95 accord (4cyl) and it passes without coming anywhere close to the failure limits.

I actually think the smog tests are an incredible waste of money and I would much rather give the money directly to the state to be spent on directly improving the environment.
Yes, but that's not the issue. It's not about 50% of cars being 2x over the limit, it's about the 2% that are malfunctioning, that might be 1000x over the limit. When everything is functioning reasonably well, pollution really is cut by a huge amount. One fault, and that all flies out the window. Not by a little - by a lot. It goes from an in control situation, to an out of control one.

I heard the other day (didn't verify it, but it would not surprise me), that the pollution from an average car driven average miles today, is less than a car from the 60's parked in the garage (most likely from fuel evaporation). I know an automotive engineer, worked in research on pollution designs, and he said that by some measures, on some days, the exhaust is 'cleaner' than the atmosphere - the combination of pollution controls and catalytic converter 'eats up' the pollution (obviously, it depends what you measure - CO will kill you).

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When cars do fail, mechanics often tell the driver to go run the car for an hour so it's hot and just retest (my college room-mate passed this way).
In IL, for most newer cars, all you need to do is not have the 'Check Engine Light' on (they hook up a reader to check for recently cleared codes, etc - tape over the light won't do it). Basically, if the ECM says everything is OK, you can be pretty certain it is.

If you fail, you have to show receipts for work done, can't just go for best 2 out of 3. They even provide a list of shops, and their pass rate on returns. I haven't tried slipping them bills though.

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Old 08-25-2012, 10:50 PM   #19
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In IL, for most newer cars, all you need to do is not have the 'Check Engine Light' on (they hook up a reader to check for recently cleared codes, etc - tape over the light won't do it). Basically, if the ECM says everything is OK, you can be pretty certain it is.

If you fail, you have to show receipts for work done, can't just go for best 2 out of 3. They even provide a list of shops, and their pass rate on returns. I haven't tried slipping them bills though.

-ERD50
I can verify IL is checking more than just not having the 'Check Engine Light" on. I had my oxygen sensor go out just before bringing the car in for my emission test. I have an OBDC reader that can clear out trouble codes, so I wiped out the code to remove the 'Check Engine' warning and took the car in. The state emissions tester could tell my history had been erased and promptly coded my car as 'Not Ready' and failed me. They did give me that list of repair shops though. I bought the oxygen sensor from Amazon and replaced it myself. I didn't need to show any proof of the repair and the car passed the emissions test the 2nd time.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:10 PM   #20
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I can verify IL is checking more than just not having the 'Check Engine Light" on. I had my oxygen sensor go out just before bringing the car in for my emission test. I have an OBDC reader that can clear out trouble codes, so I wiped out the code to remove the 'Check Engine' warning and took the car in. The state emissions tester could tell my history had been erased and promptly coded my car as 'Not Ready' and failed me. They did give me that list of repair shops though. I bought the oxygen sensor from Amazon and replaced it myself. I didn't need to show any proof of the repair and the car passed the emissions test the 2nd time.
That's what I meant when I said "they hook up a reader to check for recently cleared codes, etc..)"

But the failures they are looking for (assuming the 'ready condition' has been met), will cause the CEL to light. I get a print out from them, and it showed the not-ready indications (I think those were specific sensors my car didn't have and didn't need), and also some older code failures I had that had gone away on their own (a known intermittent sensor issue on this particular car), and were 'stale'. I assume a reader would have cleared those and they would stay cleared until the failure hit again.

It is actually the vehicle reporting the 'not-ready'. After a clearing of codes, or a dead/replaced battery that might wipe the code, it won;t show a pass on some sensors until certain driving conditions are met. It didn't fail, but it can't know yet that it is good, so the car reports not-ready..

They state they need proof of repair, whether they enforce it or not, I can't say. I had one car failing, my understanding was that you had to actually go in and fail the test so that the repairs would count against that failure. I did that, got it repaired, the shop wanted me to come in a few days later after driving the car, so they could check the codes again. They want a high % rating from the IL EPA, so that makes sense. I just showed the receipts when I went in, can't recall if they asked or would have cared if I didn't. Maybe that is just for the reporting on the shop?

-ERD50
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