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Repair Cost Waivers

Repairing your vehicle in time to renew registration can be costly. You might be eligible for a waiver that allows you additional time to complete repairs.

Although Referee stations do not perform emissions repairs or diagnostics on any vehicle, they do have a wealth of information about consumer assistance programs that make repairs easier and more affordable, such as the Repair Cost Waiver program. This waiver will allow you to renew your registration now and provide additional time to complete the repairs. To take advantage of this program, follow these steps:

  1. Fail your smog test at a licensed smog test facility. Make sure to keep documentation.

  2. Spend a minimum of $650 on emissions-related repair costs at a licensed smog repair station (you do not have to repair your vehicle at the same station it was originally tested). The $650 can be a combination of repairs and diagnostics, but regular smog tests do not count towards the amount required. Note: CAP repairs and diagnostics qualify towards the $650.00.

  3. Have your vehicle re-tested and, if it still fails the test, you may be eligible for the Repair Cost Waiver.

  4. Make an appointment at a Referee station and bring documentation of two failed smog tests and receipts for money spent on repairs at a licensed smog repair station as well as diagnostics. If you meet the qualifications, you will be granted a waiver that allows you to pass the test without the repairs. Your vehicle must be able to pass smog when your next smog check is due.

Your vehicle may be disqualified if:

  • Vehicle has received a Repair Cost Waiver in the past (waivers are limited to one per vehicle, per registered owner).

  • Vehicle has missing, modified, or disconnected equipment.

  • Vehicle is undergoing change of ownership or initial registration in California. To be eligible, your vehicle must be going through its biennial smog cycle (registration renewal).

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