Specially Constructed Vehicles Emission Control

What is the Specially Constructed Vehicle Emission Control Program?

Existing law requires most 1976 and newer model year vehicles to pass an emissions control inspection (smog check) prior to original registration, transfer of ownership, and every second annual renewal. Since specially constructed vehicles (SPCNS) are homemade and do not have a manufacturer-assigned year model of the vehicle or they must be taken to a Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Referee Station for the original inspection. Upon completion of the inspection, the referee will affix a tamper-resistant label to the vehicle and issue a certificate that establishes the year model for future inspection purposes.

What is an SPCNS Certificate of Sequence?

An SPCNS certificate of sequence identifies a vehicle as one for which the owner may choose an emission control inspection based on the year model of the vehicle or the engine used in the vehicle (If the vehicle or engine does not resemble one previously manufactured, the referee will assign 1960 as the year model). The certificate is issued by DMV headquarters and will be mailed 7-10 working days after the application is accepted by your local DMV. The certificate must be presented to the BAR Referee Station at the time of inspection.

Per California Vehicle Code §4750.1, only 500 certificates can be issued in a calendar year. Once the yearly allotment has been issued, vehicles will be assigned a year model matching the calendar year in which the application is submitted or applicants must wait until the following year to apply for a certificate.

Note: Due to the limited number of SPCNS certificates of sequence available, you may wish to submit your application for registration in person at a local DMV office.

Previously registered vehicles may be included as one of the first 500 applicants in a calendar year and apply for a different year model determination.

An SPCNS certificate of sequence cannot be transferred to a different vehicle or reissued in someone else's name. If the vehicle is sold before the application complete, the seller of the vehicle must provide the buyer with the SPCNS certificate of sequence along with the bill of sale and any additional registration documents. In addition, fees deposited in one calendar year cannot be held over for the next year's allocation of certificates.

An SPCNS certificate of sequence cannot be reissued if the record shows a smog exempt status and the original State of California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Vehicle Information Label is not affixed to the vehicle for:
— SPCNS nonresident vehicles with a vehicle record showing a smog exempt status.
— Buyers registering a vehicle as SPCNS with smog exempt status on the record.
In these cases, the owner must take the vehicle to BAR.