View Full Version : What will/won't comply with CA emissions laws?
11-28-2005, 10:13 PM
In another thread, it was recommended that I get a header, s-pipe, and full exhaust before buying the supercharger. Will any of these cause me to fail a smog check? The CARB website said that certain modifications to the emission system or intake will likely cause a car to fail smog. However, certain parts (such as the TC S/C) have a sticker that proves their compliance with CARB. Does anyone have a more detailed explanation of these laws and, more importantly, the loopholes. What do all you tuner enthusiasts do to get around it? I see tons of obviously modified cars on the roads in Sacramento...are they all just reckless kids who are hoping to avoid being spotted by the police?
11-28-2005, 10:24 PM
yes every thing except the s/c will fail at this point. yes i avoid the police as much as i can. the only thing i think that can actually pass smog is an s pipe and a k&n drop in filter. because they are not as noticable. axle back as a dealer option is ok. i got pulled over with my injen axle back and got hasseled for it. and i live in sac county. as far as i know ANYTHING that is not CARB approved that changes the smog characteristics of a car is illegal. like changing intakes that are not approved a header, high flow mid pipe with no cat, anything like that will fail. and if you get caught on sunrise blvd with that stuff you are on the trailer, and walking home. may want to try a set of pullies, with the s/c. You will be legal and the police can't do anything about it.
11-28-2005, 10:34 PM
so are all the Cali tC owners who want a supercharger waiting until some CARB certified header/exhaust products hit the market before purchasing their SC? Is it more difficult to install the header/exhaust after the SC has been installed?
11-28-2005, 10:42 PM
no i think they just don't care, in different area's some cops are more leanient towards headers that are not approved. but here they can follow the book to a T and have your car towed. and i have seen it more than once. and yes it is much easier to put a header on b-4 your s/c. hey as long as you don't get pulled over you have nothing to worry about. :silly:
11-28-2005, 10:49 PM
If you get an aftermarket header you could try modifying it to allow the heat shield to cover it. In that way, it'd be more difficult to tell there's an aftermarket header there. If you get a catback that actually retains that cat than it'll be legal - if not, get something with a high flow cat and you can tell the cops that you still got all your cats so it should be legal. Most cops won't check TOO too closely for cats.
11-28-2005, 10:58 PM
Lets say I get pulled over for speeding or a busted taillight or some other bs...and everything on the car looks stock as the cop is walking up to the window...how would he know it is a modified car without looking under the hood? I've been pulled over a few times before and they've never asked to see what is under the hood. And I had a civic, which is a likely candidate for aftermarket upgrades. Don't they need probable cause or something? And what defines probable cause? And even if the heat shield covers the header, won't it fail a visual check next time I have to smog my car?
11-28-2005, 11:05 PM
damm...cali sucks big time
I feel bad for you guys.
11-28-2005, 11:13 PM
i have not gotten hasseled to much as long as the out side of the car does not look heavily modded.. such as super low or loud. but i have gotten pulled over for having factory plates.....he said he had to check and make sure that these were real....i was like ok what ever. he found that they were legit and he asked me to pop my hood he found nothing because it was a new car. I guess he was having a bad night.
11-28-2005, 11:18 PM
well if you can hide the header really well you might pass visual. Oh and probable cause maybe the fact that you car is slightly noisier than "normal''. They can get you if they want to. And as far as i know anything that you change that has to do with emissions exhaust, cats, header, intake, what ever....must have a carb sticker. Most cops wont check....unless you give them a reason too. But that depends on what side of town you are on and what day. seriously.
11-28-2005, 11:19 PM
If you are hanging around other modified cars, that's enough probable cause for him to ask you to pop your hood. So Cal is a bad place to be if you want to modify your car. I've seen cops just starting writing tons of fix-it tickets while looking under someone's hood.
11-28-2005, 11:33 PM
You are talking about two different things here: Cops hassling about illegal mods and the ability to pass a smog test.
If a cop thinks you've got illegal mods, they will usually write you a ticket that has to pass inspection to get cleared. You then take it to a licensed inspection station to prove you are in compliance. He doesn't need to know if it's CARB-approved or not. If it looks or sounds modded, it's close enough. It's the inspectors job to check the details.
Passing CA smog requires both a Visual Inspection as well as testing of the emissions. This is another time when you can have trouble if things are not CARB-approved. Also, keep in mind, CA requires a smog check every 2 years, BUT the first two inspections can basically be bought off. They will allow you to skip the smog check (and still pay a fee) cuz they generally know that a car that's only 1-5 years old shouldn't have any trouble with emissions. So you get a pass for the first few years to do as you will as long as you don't get popped by the popo. Just keep all your stock stuff and be prepared to do some swapping unless you're getting really crazy then you're on your own. It used to be fairly easy in the past to find someone that knew someone that would pass your car but it has gotten harder. Besides the sniffer being connected to the state's network so the vehicle being sniffed better be close to what's expected, they also changed it several years ago that the techs doing the smog test could get fined as well as the business itself.
11-29-2005, 12:10 AM
I have friends that would swap license and vin plates to a stock car and go get it smogged. They also had fully built 600 whp cars so it was much easier to do it that way. Im pretty sure they took it to a guy they knew that didnt check all of the vin tags to make sure they matched for a few extra bucks. Theres always a away around the system it seems.