AB 2289 - New Smog Check Law
Set to begin January 01, 2013; Model year 2000 and newer vehicles will no longer require the tailpipe emissions test portion of the smog check process. AB 2289 will require late model vehicles be administered the smog check's visual and functional tests only.
The implementation of AB 2289 is expected to reduce the time and cost of the smog check. The program will now take better advantage of a vehicle's OBD II technology by eliminating tailpipe testing and instead using the vehicle's own OBD II emissions monitoring system.
This new smog test system is already in place in 22 other states. "This new and improved program will have the same result as taking 800,000 old cars off the road, also resulting in a more cost effective program for California motorists." said ARB Chairman, Mary D. Nichols.
Currently California's smog check procedure requires all vehicles undergo a tailpipe emissions inspection to measure harmful pollutant output from the tailpipe, a visual inspection for present and properly installed emissions components, a functional test to insure the proper operation of various emission components; and as part of the functional test, an OBD II computer diagnostic check.
Under AB 2289, the tailpipe emissions portion of the smog inspection will be eliminated for 2000 model and newer cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.
Background on the OBD II system - All vehicles imported into the United States as of 1996 have had to be equipped with an On Board Diagnostics system referred to as OBD II. The OBD II diagnostic system is designed to monitor all aspects of your engine's emission conditions and report this information to a central database within it's computer. This information is processed and checked against the computers pre-determined values for various input levels and performance patterns.
If any problems are found, the computer will determine whether to alert the driver or not. If a decision has been made to alert the driver of an emissions problem, the "Check Engine" or "Engine Malfunction" light will illuminate on the vehicle's dashboard. In more serious emission conditions the computer may even begin to rapidly flash the "Check Engine/Malfunction" light indicating to the driver, that the vehicle needs immediate diagnosis/repair attention.
AB 2289 now requires the smog test inspection to rely on data from a vehicle's own on board emissions computer to determine the vehicle's harmful emissions production as opposed to using a smog machine to sample the vehicle's emissions output from the tailpipe. This design is expected to reduce the cost of equipment at the smog station, reduce the amount of time it takes to smog check a vehicle, and reduce the cost of the smog inspection to the consumer.