New Smog Laws Create Debates
By James Hornsby
 
The state of California has now implimented the new "Smog Check II" program which will cost auto repair shops an additional $10,000 to $20,000 to buy the neccessary equipment the state now requires. In order for shops to participate, and keep their "Offical Smog Check" station license. They must buy new equipment like a Dynamometer, and update computer programs.
There has been a heated debate over the implimentation of the new smog laws. These new laws called Smog Check II went into effect on Jan. 1. They replaced the original "Smog Check" program which had been in effect since 1990. Under federal guidelines the original program was considered to be the best in the nation. To help offset the high cost of participating in this program the federal government guaranteed the auto repair shops, that this program would be in effect until the year 2000.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will pick 15 percent of the cars that are registered through a random smog test method. The vehicles that are picked for smog tests will be under set guidelines. Cars that are 10 years or older, and cars with 100,000 or more miles on them. Other strict rules involved include; Remote sensing tests (roadside camera emmission test), There has questions as to wherether, or not these roadside tests violate any Constitutional rights. Such as illegal search, privacy, or harrassment. In my mind, I have to wonder just how accurate are these roardside emmission tests? Can you really "sniff" a car going by at over 65 MPH?
Also under this new lar, a car cannot be registered without a valid smog certificate. Smog certificated are only good for (6) months.
Local smog certificates are good only in the area (county, and/or city) in which they are obtained. All major cities are considered to be enhanced areas. These "enhanced" areas now required in the area.
The cost limits for smog repairs has been raised from $300 to $450. A cost waiver will still be granted for cars that exceed this limit. If a cost waiver is issued the vehicle must return within one year to be retested. If the vehicle fails a second time the cost waiver is violated, and there is no cost limit for the repair to bring the vehicle to state and local standards.
There is some good news about "Smog Checl II". The new law has created a 25-year rolling window. If a vehicle is 25 years or older, it is smog exempt, because it is a rolling window the cut off date increases with each year that passes. This is especially wonderful for the folks out there who have early model muscle cars and late 60's to early 70's. This great for the Saturday afternoon mechanics who want to build their own hotrods.
It looks to me that the age of hotrods and muscle cars is back to stay, at least for a while, until they change the laws, again. According to Bret Wells of Bret's Auto Repair, "The new laws will not directly impact at 1960 North State Street, in Ukiah. Bret also states "That the state still has alot of bugs to work out of the system."


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