If you’re trying to sell your car in Texas, you don't necessarily need to pass smog prior to the transaction. In fact, the only things you need to provide are the title with an accurate odometer reading and a signed Application for Texas Certificate of Title. That said there are still annual inspections and smog laws to be aware of before selling.
In Texas, the smog test in certain counties is part of a larger annual inspection process which is primarily for safety and is required for all vehicles. Specifically, emissions testing rules are different by county but are not required for vehicles less than two years old and vehicles that are older than 24 years.
Those vehicles that fall into the emissions requirement must be tested annually. Besides the age standards, there are no exemptions from emissions tests besides industrial equipment for farming and other commercial usage, and diesel-powered vehicles.
Any station certified to perform a smog check is an option for you, and the fees for emissions tests are $40 or less depending on the county. If your car fails the emissions test, it must be repaired to pass the next time around. If your car still can’t pass the smog test, you’re not out of options.
You may be issued one of many different kinds of waivers if you meet the requirements. For instance if you can prove your vehicle usage is minimal (less than 5,000 since the previous inspection), if the emissions levels are low or if the cost to ultimately repair it has reached $600 or more, you could qualify for an individual vehicle waiver.
There are also vouchers that can be obtained, in the form of $600. These are only available if you meet the location, income and vehicle requirements. In other words, if you live in a low-income neighborhood earning low-income and have a car moments away from derelict, you have a good chance of qualifying for this voucher.
Texas also allows you to request more time to complete repairs, where you may be eligible for a couple of different extensions including a parts availability time extension and a low-income time extension. The former relates to if whether or not parts are readily available, whereas the latter relates to if the owner makes enough money to afford the repairs, but can't pay for them in time.
It's true that Texas does not require an inspection before you sell your used car, however the buyer might want to know if the car is capable of passing inspection. With this in mind it would be a good idea to prove that the car can pass a routine annual inspection.
If the buyer comes to see your car and you haven't gotten a recent inspection then they might be apprehensive about the car's condition. It's best to dispel this discomfort so as to ensure the buyer is confident in taking the car off your hands.
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