[ROVERNET - UK] New smog check laws for California

Geoff Kirkpatrick britcarnut at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 14 01:27:21 BST 2004

Hi Rovernetters,

Those of you in California will be interested to know about this, if you
don't already.  The new emissions certification program has been signed
into law and will become effective April 1, 2005.  The previous law had
exempted all vehicles from the 1973 and earlier model years and had
created a rolling 30-year exemption starting in 2003, wherein vehicles
would become exempt from emissions testing as they reached thirty years of
age.  This has been replaced by a new law, which permanently exempts all
vehicles from the 1975 and earlier model years, but requires testing of
1976 and newer vehicles in perpetuity.  After a vehicle reaches 35 years
old, it will be subject to the emissions testing only, and will no longer
be required to pass the "visual" inspection.  The visual inspection
requires that all the original emissions devices still be in place and
cannot be substituted.  This has made it impractical or impossible to use
newer technology to reduce a car's emissions.  Lifting this requirement
for cars 35 years old and more means that the car can be made to pass the
emissions test by whatever technological means are available.  But it will
continue to be tested, and will forever have to continue meeting the
original tailpipe emissions standards applicable to that model.

When the original 30-year-exemption-beginning-2003 law was passed in 1997
or whenever it occurred, the cynic in me expected that the law would not
last long once 2003 rolled around.  At least there is a compromise in the
new version which opens the door for modifying cars to meet the standards
as original equipment becomes unavailable.

Here's a link to the text of the law on the California Secretary of
State's website:


"This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him."
- William Lyon Phelps

Geoff Kirkpatrick, 382 Riverside Avenue, Ben Lomond, CA 95005, USA

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