I would say almost half of the customers that come in for a smog inspection each day bring incomplete renewal notices in because they failed to read their renewal notice and went to DMV, AAA, or sent their check in without getting a smog inspection first.
I would say it’s not hard to read, but 99% of the people on the road ignore stop signs every day, so apparently, it’s harder than I think.
On a related note, I find it very funny when people come in freaking out that they need a smog because their registration is either due the next day or the same day. And this is no one’s fault but the owner because DMV will send you your notice about 90 days before it’s due; about the same amount of time a smog certificate is valid for. Weird how that lines up...
One time a lady came in at 4:00 and her registration was due that day and the car passed smog, but the registration had a hold on it because she had ignored a safety or emissions recall GM had sent her. She also ignored the part on the renewal notice that said she needed to get it done (it even says the recall number). She was freaking out and I had to hold in my laughter because one of my cars had a hold placed on it but I took care of it the day I got my renewal notice (I had ignored the recall up to that point because it was TDI re-programming at it was for cold climate cars so there was no reason for me to go into the worst dealer in the world and have them fuck my car up again and then lie about it and commit fraud).
And even when I don’t have a hold placed on my cars for recalls I get the smog done either the day I get the notice (since I didn’t think about it before), or I smog it as soon as I’m in the 90-day window. I do this despite the fact that I work on my own cars and can take care of anything that would cause it fail. It’s always better safe than sorry.
But for those that have life get in the way and you live in California I have a tip for you: PAY YOUR REGISTRATION! Do NOT wait for the smog if you have fallen behind and it is due. You do not have to have completed the smog for the DMV to accept your fees and avoid late fees, they only require it to issue your tags and send your new registration. And while your tags may show they’re expired it will show up in the system and you won’t be cited (in addition to the late fees) by an officer if pulled over.