Skyway Auto Tune Voted Best On The Ridge Offers Full Service Auto Repair
and Smog for Domestic and Import Vehicles.
We are the Best of Northern California’s Auto Repair and Smog Check Stations.
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New smog check requirements for diesel vehicles may soon change people's
rides and the business world that services them. Today, diesel vehicles aren't
required to pass biennial smog checks as gasoline powered vehicles are, but
starting Jan. 1, 2010, they will, according to the California Bureau of Automotive
Repair. Assembly Bill 1488 (Chapter 730) subjects certain diesel vehicles
to smog checks, a BAR newsletter stated.
The new smog check requirements will only affect 1998 and newer vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 14,000 pounds. The new rules won't affect large semi trucks. BAR estimates 540,000 vehicles will be affected. In laymen's terms that means anything up to a one-ton pickup truck, Bill Dickey, owner of Skyway Auto Tune said. Although some cars are powered by diesel fuel, most diesel vehicles are trucks, tractors and RVs, Dickey said. Though the change won't take affect until January, businesses are already bracing for the impact, but Dickey said the change won't be negative. "My business will be great," he said, adding that it will be his customers who will be upset. "Nobody likes to get their car smogged," he said. "Especially diesel guys - that's why they bought the diesel." Smog checks for some are terrible, Dickey said. "They say it's worse than going to the dentist," he said. Some customers are so fed up with the ever-stricter smog laws they've considered moving out of California, Dickey said, laughing. "Yeah instead of giving me 50 bucks every two years," he said in disbelief. Many diesel truck owners modify their trucks with special equipment and computer programs that make the truck tow better or go faster, Dickey said. For anyone with modified pickups, they'll have to switch them back to factory condition prior to getting a smog check, Dickey said. But the smog check machines most shops use don't measure diesel smog, Dickey said. Therefore it was his understanding that the smog check will be mostly visual with a computer scan to make sure the computer hasn't been modified with performance enhancing chips or programs, he said. Dickey said his smog check machine should still be good until 2012 when the smog check laws will again become tighter. Dickey said people may try to fool smog shops by temporarily converting their trucks back to factory specifications before going in for a smog check, but the truck's computers may communicate such tampering to his smog check machine. Plus a $250-a-day fine for fraudulent smog checks should deter people, Dickey said. "If somehow they find out they've unsmogged it they'll fine them," he said. But there isn't much enforcement, Dickey added. Kelly's Muffler manager Ryan Grandstaff said business at the Skyway and Honey Run shop shouldn't change. "Six in one, a half dozen the other," he said. However, diesel emission test controls have already stifled diesel truck business from three or four services a week to none in the past two months, he said. The shop has turned down 2008 and newer trucks for liability reasons. Truck owners and shops aren't even supposed to change the exhaust tips on trucks for fire hazard reasons, Grandstaff said. The shop is busy enough not to miss the business yet, however diesel smog check requirements may force small auto and smog check shops out of the business if they have to keep buying expensive equipment to keep up with the changes. Only two years ago, Skyway Auto Tune bought a new smog check machine for $16,000, now my shop fears it will have to buy another new machine for $10,000 to $30,000. It may get to the point where more elaborate and expensive smog check machines are required that run the car much like a person on a treadmill to get realistic driving conditions during the test. Smog checks are already awash and barely pay for the smog check machines that test them, he said. "The future for doing smog checks doesn’t look bright for Northern California. Smog check shops say contractors may be affected if they own fleets of vehicles that need updating. Doug Shaulis of Shaulis Construction said it won't affect him because his tractors are new enough to be unaffected. He believes the new smog check requirements are attempts to keep people buying new equipment as a kind of economic stimulation. And for Shaulis, it is easier to keep new equipment rather than pay time and money to have old equipment repaired, he said. Smog Check Requirements has already affected districts such as the Paradise Irrigation District which has been replacing its tractor fleet with newer, cleaner burning units. The district has been taking advantage of grant money to make the changes
Consumer Assistance Program
If your vehicle fails the Smog Check, you may qualify for financial assistance of up to $500 toward emissions test related repairs, or you may be eligible to receive $1,000 to retire your vehicle.
For more information visit: www.smogcheck.ca.gov
or call toll free, 1-800-952-5210