I want to give my 1992 Honda Accord to my daughter for college. It's a
1992 in great condition, inside and out. It passes Maryland emissions,
practically without registering on the meters. I'm thinking it should be
fine with California smog tests, but I don't want to spend $1200 to ship
it out there only to have to spend $1200 to ship it back if it fails.
Can anyone comment on successfully importing early 90s 49-state Hondas
into California? Any ideas on tests I can do in Maryland that could
give me confidence about tests in California?
Thanks in advance.
Here are a couple of links for the California DMV website in reference to
the SMOG (emissions test) and state transfers. It'll also show you where to
look to see if it's 49 state emissions or 50 state/California. It's a 1992
so I don't know when they began listing it for the 50 state emissions.
i'm almost certain that's not the case any more - the old rules have
been overturned after a federal lawsuit from what i understand. you can
now drive and legally smog a 49-state 90 civic in california - without
mods. i know because i've done it. can't imagine that doesn't apply to
a 92 accord.
I was there during the lawsuit. When I initially took my 49 state '88 Civic
to California I had to pay a $300 fee since it didn't have California
emissions, i.e., no EGR valve. No modifications to the vehicle were
needed. The Civic would pass the California smog test without any
problems. Indeed, I would see many other vehicles on the road which clearly
put out worse looking exhaust then my Civic does. After the lawsuit, I got
my $300 back plus interest. One of the things that I didn't like about
California's smog laws is that emissions testing has been privatized. It's
a huge for profit business and the cost of tests can vary quite a bit, e.g.,
$50-80 for the same test. The state government runs the test where I was
from and where I am now and it costs $15 every other year.
That's great to know. My motorhead brother in CA was often running into the
equipment problem. It seemed monumentally stupid when performance testing
was more comprehensive anyway. But bureaucracies aren't known for doing
I don't know how strict the emissions are there but if the car tests
fine out the tail pipe it could still fail smog. Make sure the check
engine light is not on, make sure the gas cap seal is good and not
cracked and you can take it to a mechanic and have him check to make
sure all the smog equipment is all there ( I had a Toyota van that I
brought down from WA fail smog because it had a broken ported vacuum
switch). After you have it shipped have it taken to a no pass no pay
place so if you do have a problem you don't have to pay twice. Now the
big question is why would you spend that much money to ship the car
then go through all the DMV and emissions BS rather than just selling
your car where you live and buying her a nice Accord in CA?
This is Zippy(TM) you're talking about. Zippy is a 1992 that's been
babied to the point that she's dead-dog reliable. My chief reason for
wanting to send zippy is I can set the daughter up with a completely
reliable and safe (and darn good lookin') mode of transportation for
$1200 (assuming it passes smog). The alternative, as you point out,
would be to buy another Honda on the left coast. I'm buying the
daughter a premier education; I'm not buying her a new car. She's very
damn smart, but she's a bit uneducated in the realm of used car sales.
I don't have the time to come out and shop with her. So, if she'll
pass, Zippy seems like the best choice.
take care she doesn't get fleeced on the smog. ca dmv have a list of
"smog only" stations and i recommend she use one. they're not allowed
to repair, so they have no interest in trying to sell cats [or other
"smog upgrades"] she won't need.
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