[urq] California Vehicle Registration Law

urq urq at pacbell.net
Fri Aug 29 06:27:34 PDT 2008

It sounds as though you brought the car into the state ... correct?  Funny,
for some reason I thought that you bought your car from someone in
California.  You have to be very careful ... I'm pretty sure that California
law requires that you need to notify the DMV within 10 days of bringing a
car into the state.  Make sure you fully understand the rules before doing
anything official at the DMV.

My brother thought he'd save some money on a new car and bought a new
Chrysler product from a dealer in Minnesota ... and my brother is a resident
of California.  He had called someone from the DMV who said that it would be
OK to do this ... but he did not get this in writing.  He flew to MN with
his wife and they drove the car home.  When he got to California he tried to
register it ... and was told that he couldn't register a new car from out of
state in California (because it wasn't CA emissions certified), only cars
that had 15k miles or more could be legally registered by California
residents.  So ... he registered the car in MN and drove it until it had 15k
miles ... then went back to the DMV.  The DMV told him that since there was
an attempt to register the car here when it was new it would not be possible
to register it in California ... ever.  He ended up driving the car back to
MN and selling it there.  If anyone in the future tried to bring that car
into this state they would have a big surprise!  By now I'm sure this car is
out of the operable vehicle pool though.  

Now, I doubt that there are very many other cars which are basically illegal
to bring into the state ... my point is to be very careful to fully
understand the requirements of California law before you attempt to do
anything official with it at the DMV if there's some chance you didn't
follow the rules.  If someone at the DMV tells you something that may not
agree with the law, be sure to get it in writing ... 

... to answer your question ... yes, it will be necessary to have the car
pass smog when you register it ... that would be a requirement even if the
car had been registered in California before.  If you plan to restore the
car in a engine configuration which is different from the factory stock one
you may want to understand California law here too.  It isn't that you go to
some expert who verifies that each and every piece is as it came from the
factory ... you take it to a standard smog tech ... but if the car is deemed
to be not stock you will be required to pay whatever is required to make it
so.  Mind you, I had a smog tech tell me that my *stock* urq was not stock
because there was a vacuum nipple on the top of the wastegate which didn't
have a hose connected to it ... 

By the way ... did you know that vehicles with certain engine types are
exempt from smog testing in CA (diesel and perhaps LP gas)?

Steve B
San José, CA (USA)

-----Original Message-----

Cali UrQ owner here.  Question: If I have not registered my URQ yet
(Meaning... I obtained it legally but it is just sitting in my garage, not
running,  waiting to be restored and not yet registered under my name) would
it be safe to assume that when I'm ready to get it running and driving, I
will still have to smog it since I'm registering it for the first time?

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