California Diesel Vehicle Smog Check Information

There seems to be a lot of questions about California’s NEW Smog Checks for Diesel Vehicles. Here is what we know…

Back in 2007, Assembly Bill 1488, was approved. Assembly Bill 1488 requires the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to include in the Smog Check Program, by January 2010, Diesel-fueled (Diesel) vehicles meeting certain model year (1998 and newer) and vehicle weight range criteria (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 14,000 pounds.)

This legislation requires the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to work with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to create the diesel vehicle test procedures, and requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to work with the ARB to identify vehicles for inspection.

At a minimum, Assembly Bill 1488 requires that 1998 and newer vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of less than 14,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating be included in the Smog Check Program.

The bill indicates that the test will, at a minimum, consist of visual checks of the Emission Control Systems (ECS), and an On Board Diagnostics (OBD) test. In addition, Assembly Bill 1870, requires a visible smoke test.  All of these tests are currently performed on gasoline vehicles. However, there are minor differences for Diesel Vehicles.

A portion of the diesel visual test is checking for non-California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved emission related aftermarket parts. In general, Modified and Add-on parts require CARB Exemption through an Executive Order (EO).

“Modified part” means any aftermarket part intended to replace an original equipment emission-related part which is not functionally identical to the original equipment part in all respects which in any way affect emissions, excluding consolidated parts. Examples include: aftermarket performance engine control unit reprogrammers, fuel injection components, and turbochargers.

“Add-on part” means aftermarket parts which is not modified part or a replacement part. For the purposes of a Smog Check inspection, add-on parts that could adversely affect the effectiveness of the vehicle’s emission control must have a CARB Exemption. Examples include: Inline programmers, nitrous oxide kits, and propane kits.

It is estimated that approximately 540,000 diesel vehicles will be registered in California and subject to this program in calendar year 2010. Department of Motor Vehicles will begin sending notifications in January 2010 to registered owners of diesel vehicles with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) ending in even numbers, and the Vehicle Identification Numbers ending in odd numbers will be sent the following year beginning in January 2011.

Please Note: Orange County Diesel does not provide SMOG services, we are simply providing INFORMATION ONLY. This information is provided by Bureau of Automotive Repair as of 12/24/2009.