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  1. #1

    Default Can You Sell an Out-of-State Vehicle in California if it Won't Pass a Smog Test

    My question involves vehicle registration or title in the state of: California and Washington

    I did my due diligence and tried searching for an answer to this question, but came up empty-handed.

    My fiance and I just moved to California and we drove down here in a 1985 car. The car itself has a clean Washington Title and fresh tabs from June. Before we could take it in and get the SMOG done and transfer the title here to California (and get new plates) we had a death in the family, and received a brand new car free of charge. Now we have our old 1985 car that wish to sell here, but it has no SMOG or title in the state of California - it's all Washington based.

    If we sell it in California but it has a Washington title, we are not responsible for the SMOG checkout, correct? Does that only apply if the title is in California already and we go to sell it? I don't want to bother SMOG testing this car and spending more $ on a vehicle I'm only asking $800 for. I plan on disclosing this to whoever buys it, and basically tell them "it's on you."

    I've just seen quite a few people sell vehicles online without the SMOG done, and California has the most backwards law I've ever seen, making the SELLER liable if it's not smogged to pay the new owner for whatever it takes in parts to fix it. I don't want to get caught in this trap.

    I figure if I sell it here and just file it as sold in WA (which I have to do anyways to release my liability) if it ever comes back to me for some reason, I can just claim that it was solid in Washington and out of my control? I've actually been screening potential buyers and seeing if I can find someone who plans on taking this car out of state so that it's a non-issue. But I can't control what the buyer does with the car either.

    Bottom line: I don't want to risk being liable for a $800 car to pass SMOG. Am I safe here?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,037

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    You need to smog the vehicle to register it in California. If you are moving in from out of state, some of the requirements of that SMOG check are relaxed, but you still have to get it done.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,646

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    Is the vehicle California emissions certified (check the underhood sticker and look for california emissions certified or 50 state emissions certified) From what I can find you simply cannot sell it in California if it isnít. You can transfer title and register it in your name though.

    https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1...t_facts/ffvr29

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,037

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    Yes, JK is right. I misunderstood what is going on here. California will allow you to bring in a 49-state car as a new resident and register it, but you can't sell it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    The title and registration are WA. If I lived in Washington and sold it to a California resident, isn't it on them to deal with SMOG, title transfer, etc? I just happen to have already moved here and have the car with me.

    All I want to make sure of is that when I sell it, I am no longer liable for the vehicle. What the person does with it I could care less.

    If I were in Thailand and sold it to a California resident, it should make no difference where I currently live, correct? It's on the buyer to do the paperwork on their end?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,646

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    If I lived in Washington and sold it to a California resident,

    but you aren’t a Washington resident. You’re real handy when it is discovered you sold a car that can’t be legally sold in California.

    A person in California cannot register the car if it does not have california/50 State emission cert. That means you cannot sell it to a California resident.

    Its funny hkw you went from; I don’t want this to come back on me

    to

    isnt it the buyer’s problem

    So go to a surrounding state and sell it to somebody there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,947

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    Quote Quoting debtcollege12
    View Post

    If I were in Thailand
    But you're not in Thailand, you're in California, where you obey California laws or you find yourself in deep doodoo.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    But you're not in Thailand, you're in California, where you obey California laws or you find yourself in deep doodoo.
    Okay, by that deduction, since it is still registered in my fiance's name, and because they have not started working here yet and have zero footprint in California, she's still considered a WA resident. I'm not trying to purposefully screw anyone over here, I'm being very honest with anyone who has inquired about the car. But if someone wants to buy it, I don't want any blowback on myself or my fiance. Even the address on the title is in Washington... there is absolutely zero way to prove that it was sold for cash on California soil if someone wanted to try and come after her for repairs to pass SMOG.

    And I'm hardly "handy" if all communication has been done through a throw-away email and burner cell phone number, like I do all of my CL transactions. The only "record" to finding either of us is an address on the title based on Washington state, meaning they'd have zero recourse to come after us.

    I'm even screening all the people who want the car by saying if they plan on registering it in California, do not even bother looking at the vehicle. BUT even with that said, I can't control what someone else MAY choose to do after they get the car.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,646

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    there is absolutely zero way to prove that it was sold for cash on California soil if someone wanted to try and come after her for repairs to pass SMOG.
    ya, tell that to the judge when you get sued.

    The only "record" to finding either of us is an address on the title based on Washington state, meaning they'd have zero recourse to come after us.
    do you really believe that? With your name and that address, without even using a fee based site, I could probably find you using an internet search.


    So you really don’t want to know what you can do legally. You want to find a way to do what you want and not get caught.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Selling Wa Title Vehicle in California After Move

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    So you really don’t want to know what you can do legally. You want to find a way to do what you want and not get caught.
    You are really, really missing my point here. I'm not trying to screw anyone over. I'm being 100% honest with anyone looking at the car.

    And yes, I'm sure if you had my vehicle registration, you could easily find our old address in Washington state. I'm saying that's not going to do much good for you pursuing any sort of legal action.

    We don't need to get into morals here. You guys answered my question, thank you for posting the link to the other DMV site, I couldn't find that page regarding the 49 or 50 state vehicle registration. I checked mine and it is California valid for emissions.

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