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 check test and 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. Schedule a virtual appointment to submit your documentation for consideration for the waiver. If your documents are approved, you will then be scheduled for a face-to-face inspection, where your vehicle will be assessed for the waiver to be issued. Ensure you have documentation of two failed smog tests, receipts for repairs from a licensed smog check test and repair station, and diagnostic reports. Please note that your vehicle must be capable of passing smog when your next smog check is due. Also, keep in mind that this is a one-time, one-use waiver.

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).