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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What is your state law on buyer or seller responsibility for SES/CEL & smog tests?

Edit: Change the question, as per E36_phantom in post #2 below, to more about the seller's specific legal responsibility.
Edit: Further generalized the question, as per Edjacks' comments in post #3 to cover both smog and the SES light.


A newbie post today, on buying a bimmer with the SES lit, made me think that a lot of bimmers are now being sold to clueless newbies, many of whom couldn't afford our bimmers when we bought them, and who don't know the law in their states with respect to check engine lights and passing emissions tests.

Given that, I open this new thread for now, and for the future, so that we may reference the law for all states with respect to the one question:

Q: What is your state law regarding the buyers or sellers responsibility for SES lights or passing a smog check when the car is bought/sold?

Here's a snippet from the California BAR smog check FAQ:
 

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I Am The Machine
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I don't know where you heard that, but in California it is NOT illegal to sell a car with the CEL/SES lit. In addition, the seller can sell without a smog certificate if it's in the sales contract.

C:\>Sent from my 386 using MS-DOS__
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I don't know where you heard that, but in California it is NOT illegal to sell a car with the CEL/SES lit.
That's a good point, that a car might have been smogged yesterday, and then today, when you sell it, it might have a check engine light, so, I changed the original question to be more general about the seller's responsibility, instead of specifically about the check engine light. (thanks for pointing that out).

REVISED QUESTION:
What is your state law regarding the buyers or sellers responsibility for passing a smog check when the car is bought/sold?
ORIGINAL QUESTION:
In what states is it illegal to sell a vehicle with a Check Engine Light (SES / CEL)?

In addition, the seller can sell without a smog certificate if it's in the sales contract.
Actually, at least in California, there is (apparently) no legal provision for an 'As is' sale, at least according to how I interpret the information in the attached document:
- California Smog Check and Emissions FAQ
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
However, the car must have a current smog cert to be registered, whether the seller or buyer obtains it.
That's another good point, which I will reflect in the OP (to save people time and to make the answers more generally useful to others) by making it a more general question.
Q: What is your state law regarding the buyers or sellers responsibility for SES lights or passing a smog check when the car is bought/sold?

It looks like that "current smog cert" means within the last 90 days; so I wonder what the law says for the specific case of a current (within 90 days) smog certificate, but an existing check engine light (or pending codes) at the time of sale?

Again, from the California BAR smog check FAQ:


EDIT: Interestingly, they repealed the rolling provision for vehicles 30 years old, so, under current law, the E39 needs to pass smog, forever!

Those reading this thread 30 years from now, take heed of what your bimmer used to get by way of emissions results:
- Compendium of official emission tests results for the BMW E39 over time (1)
 

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Here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, it is not illegal to sell a car with a CEL or any other defect. That is strictly between the buyer and the seller. However, if the new owner registers the car, they have 7 days to obtain a vehicle inspection (done at gas stations). The inspection covers safety and emissions requirements. Having a CEL will cause you to fail an inspection. However, MA has a Lemon-Aid law, which allows a buyer to return the car to the seller if the repairs needed to pass inspection exceed 10% of the purchase price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
they have 7 days to obtain a vehicle inspection (done at gas stations).
So, does that mean in the m'chu-chu state (old joke my parents told me what I said when I was a kid), that every single car bought, has to be inspected within a week (even if it had recently passed inspection prior to the sale)?
 

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In alabama if its not stolen and the seller owns it out right you just passed all the requirements to sell it to someone :)
 

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every single car bought, has to be inspected within a week (even if it had recently passed inspection prior to the sale)?
...After the car is registered & receives plates. If the car is not registered, it can be in any condition nor does it require an inspection. While the RMV requires inspection within 7 days after registration, if the car was bought in-state and the previous inspection sticker is still valid, it should be good to go (How will anyone know?) until it expires. An out of state purchase needs an in-state inspection sticker
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
More and more E39s are being sold with the bifecta or trifecta, so, it behooves us to list what the law is (specifically for California, which I believes makes it illegal to sell a car with the cluster lights lit).

This thread, opened today, is just such one California owner:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Abs control unit
I'm in California , & the dmv made me get a lights & brake test but I failed my brake test only cause the abs light was on .
Since I have gotten it no I'm not sure but it seems to me everything is all original with no repairs but I could be wrong, & I can ask them but I'm not in that area anymore it's like a 30 minute drive . Should I just take it into consideration & buy the control unit ? I really need the light to turn off so I can get my tags
I just recently went to the bmw shop & they told me I need a new abs control unit & it'll be cheaper to order it online,

The problem is I don't know were to order it & if it needs to be brand new to turn off my abs light ? Can someone help me & also show me what they might look like so I know exactly what to order cause every time I search it up on eBay a few different things pop up ? I have a 528i , year is a 99 .


EDIT: I found the thread by typing /smog f3 in the bestlinks - but this isn't a CEL (it's a different error):
- What states make it illegal to sell a car "as is" that won't pass smog or that have an SES/CEL light lit at the time of sale (1)
 
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