In 2013, California state regulators launched a substantial overhaul of its smog check program, a move they say is rescuing drivers both the time and money. Gone are the recognizable tailpipe tests, replaced by a easier check of contamination information collected by on-board diagnostic systems which come standard on newer vehicles.
But people who drive older cars must bring their vehicles into specific licensed stations and pay additional for the more complex tailpipe emission check. Regulators expect prices for the smog test utilizing on-board diagnostic systems will be driven lower by a mixture of cheaper gear, less technician time spent performing the test and more competition.
Under the program, stations rely on the diagnostic systems that are normal in vehicles model year 2000 or newer. These systems accumulate pollution levels while the vehicles are in fact on the street. In contrast, tailpipe emission tests quantify smog while the car is operating in the store.
Smog check stations only require a special plug-in cable, technical software and a regular computer — a package that should cost approximately $3,000. By comparison, the tailpipe testing equipment can operate stores around $40,000.
Moreover, the smog test should take less than five minutes, when compared with the former half hour, plus, saving drivers time and stations payroll costs. More competition from stores lured by cheaper gear costs should also help drive down costs.
However, a state analysis quotes California owners of newer vehicles will save $64 million annually. But, not one of these cost-savings are anticipated for owners of model year vehicles 1976 through 1999. They’ll need to bring their cars in for the same tailpipe test as they’ve been because older vehicles have shown to be more likely to generate more smog than allowed.
Additionally, drivers driving old vehicles will need to search out exactly what are known as “STAR-Certified” channels. Starting Jan. 1 2013, shops might have to meet certain criteria to acquire this certificate before they could implement tailpipe tests. It replaces the present “Gold Shield” designation.
But shops don’t have to be STAR licensed to nonetheless provide checks for the newer vehicles which don’t demand the intricate tailpipe emission tests.
California, generally a leader in clean-air applications, is only one of two states which do not utilize the on-board diagnostic process. Another is Colorado. New cars bought in California will still possess the six-year grace period before a first smog check.
About 7,000 shops with 15,000 technicians Provide smog checks in California. State data indicate that 10 million of those evaluations are Conducted every year. Smog check is related to reducing emissions by 308 Tons daily.
You can also save on your next required smog test by clicking here for money saving coupons on a smog check with Redlands Smog Stop!