Smog testing changes are step in right direction
Two changes are coming to how drivers need to get their vehicles smog checked in 2013 and one should be a very welcomed change.
Officials with the Bureau of Automotive Repair said by early fall a significant change will be put into effect that will hopefully make it much easier for owners of newer vehicles to not only get their vehicle smog tested, but hopefully will reduce the cost involved.
The new program will no longer require the more extensive tailpipe emissions testing on treadmill-like machines known as dynamometers, where vehicles are hooked up to exhaust monitoring devices and run for several minutes. Instead, auto smog station technicians will hook up to the vehicle’s diagnostic computer to immediately get a reading on how emission efficient the engine is performing. The reason for the change is all new cars have on-board computers that already track a vehicle’s emission system. The new rule will apply to vehicle models 2000 and newer.
While some new equipment will be needed by smog stations, the time it will take to test a vehicle should be cut down considerably.
The other change is designed to cover what the government terms as “gross polluters,” those vehicles which have not passed inspection in the past. Those vehicles will now be sent to a STAR station where the testing is more extensive.
Some have complained the new equipment and the stricter standards for smog test stations will result in fewer stations and higher costs, but cutting back on the time required should be welcomed by all motorists.
We hope the state will look at further lowering the cost of smog testing. While officials have touted the cleaner air that has resulted from the smog testing program, the more expensive it becomes, the more vehicle owners who try to avoid the test. The program needs to remain inexpensive in order to be effective.