• FAQs
    Frequently Asked Questions

    Open 7 Days a Week


  • Types of License Plates

    According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles,
    there are about four license plates available for drivers in California.

    * Standard California License Plates: This is one of the most common license plates in California. This is issued when you purchase a new vehicle or when you misplace your license plate.
    * Special Interest License Plates: a percentage of your registration fee will be donated to a cause. This type of plate can be obtained for commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and other automobiles.
    * Special License Plates: Drivers that are looking to have a license plate that stands out can go for this option. You can get a unique license plate to point out your status, achievements, occupations, and even professional license. There are four sub-categories of special license plates, and they are: Special Recognition License Plates, Occupational Recognition License Plates, Apportioned License Plates, and Special License Plates.
    * Decals & Placards: While this isn’t necessarily a license plate, decals are used to help identify vehicles that do not require license plates. Likewise, the placard here is issued to people with permanent disabilities to get parking privileges. The placard has a validity of two years before a renewal is required.

    At Smog Dog, Palm Desert, we are experienced in issuing standard California license plates to new vehicles and subsequent plate replacement. Likewise, as a partner of the California DMV, we issue new plates to cars that are bought or brought from out of state. While our service does not include helping you get specialized placards or plates, we are licensed to reassign already owned specialized plates to a different vehicle.
  • How Much Does Car Registration Cost?

    According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, registration fees are based on:

    • Your vehicle type (auto, motorcycle, etc.).
    • Your vehicle’s purchase price or declared value.
    • Dates (for example, the date you purchased your vehicle, or the date your vehicle entered California).
    • The city and/or county you live in.
    • The city and/or county your business is based in.
    • The unladen or declared gross vehicle weight (GVW) and the number of axles your vehicle may have.
    • Any special license plates your vehicle may have.
    • Whether you have any unpaid parking violations or toll evasion bail.

      You will likely have to pay the following fees if your vehicle is registered for on-highway use:

    • The registration fee
    • California Highway Patrol (CHP) fee
    • Vehicle license fee
    • Transportation improvement fee
    • County/district fee

      Please call us if you have any questions!
  • Sticker Replacements

    Registered car owners must replace their stickers when they become invalid, misplaced or destroyed. This is done in accordance with the law of California, and regardless of when, a non- valid sticker must be replaced as quickly as possible. In a situation where a sticker is destroyed or misplaced, registered owners must fill the replacement form while also paying the necessary due.

    If it’s a monthly sticker, then you do not have to worry, as neither the application for replacement nor fee is required. Here, all you have to do is to verify the month in which the sticker expires, and then another will be issued to you.


  • What type of smog station is Smog Dog?

    Smog Dog Palm Desert is a:

    • No repairs are performed on your vehicle.
  • What is a STAR Station?

    According to the California Bureau of Automotive Repair:

    • STAR stations must meet specified performance standards established by BAR.
    • Some STAR stations are licensed to perform only tests, while others are licensed to perform both tests and repairs.
    • BAR directs a portion of the vehicle fleet to STAR-certified stations for inspection and certification.
  • What is a Test Only Station?

    According to the California Bureau of Automotive Repair:

    * Test-Only stations are licensed by the state to perform Smog Check inspections, but not repairs, on vehicles.
  • When do I have to get a smog check?
    • A Smog Check is required every other year (biennially) as part of the vehicle registration process.
    • The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration renewal notice will indicate if a Smog Check is required.
    • A Smog Check is also required when a vehicle changes ownership or when it is registered for the first time in California.
  • Do I still have to get a smog inspection if my car is new?
    • As of January 1, 2019, if your vehicle is less than 4 model years old, you can pay a smog abatement fee instead of getting a smog inspection for the first 8 years that your vehicle is registered.
  • I'm in the military - isn't there an exemption?
    • If you are active duty military or a veteran, you will still need a smog inspection for your vehicle.
  • Do I have to get a smog inspection when I renew my registration?
    • You can check your zip code at this link smogcheck.ca.gov to see if you need a smog inspection when you renew your registration.

    • Certain counties require a smog inspection when you renew your vehicle.

    • Your renewal form will also indicate whether you need a SMOG inspection.

  • I am selling my car. Do I have to get it SMOG inspected first?
    • Yes. You need to give the new owner a VALID smog certification when you sell the car.

    • If the car you are selling is less than four years old, then the new owner will need to pay a smog transfer fee. You do not need to get a smog inspection.

  • Will my vehicle fail if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light is on?
    • Yes! Your check engine light, or malfunction indicator light (MIL) is actually called an emissions light in many user handbooks.
    • When the light is on, there is a compromise in your vehicle’s emissions system that is causing it to pollute at a higher rate than it was initially certified for.
    • Many of these codes relate to fuel economy. The government provides certification to vehicles based on the projected amount of pollution a vehicle will create.
    • If your vehicle has a faulty sensor (or other malfunction) that is causing your vehicle to burn more fuel per mile than originally certified for, you are still technically polluting more because you are burning more gas than the vehicle was anticipated to burn.
  • If I fail, can you tell me what is wrong?
    • if your vehicle fails for a visual failure or a malfunction indicator has generated a trouble code (i.e. your emissions light/check engine light is on), the trouble codes will be automatically printed on your vehicle information report (VIR).
    • We will explain to you exactly what we saw that is causing the failure so that you can choose to repair it yourself or have repairs performed at a repair station.
    • We will sometimes make notes and drawings to help assist in the repair so that the mystery of locating the visual failure is eliminated.
  • Will my results automatically be forwarded to the DMV?
    • Yes! Each and every station in the state transmits your results automatically, even pretests.
    • You will also receive a hard copy for your records.

    (NOTE: All smog stations will only electronically send VIRs to the state of California. States such as Illinois have a dedicated fax line for submission. Check with your home state if you are requesting a smog inspection for that state for the best method of submitting your test results. We are always happy to fax forms for you at no extra charge).


Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

The date and time right now is:
This is my header
This is my header

We are: Closed

(760) 773-5705
If you have a question, please call us, or contact us at:
[email protected]
© 2023 Smog Dog | All Rights Reserved | Website by PC-ASSIST/MAC-ASSIST