The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), BAR-2012 Emissions Inspection System (EIS), ARB and CAP

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The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), State of California, Dept. of Consumer Affairs
10240 Systems Parkway Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 989001, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9001
Sacramento, CA 95827
United States

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) was created to spearhead regulation of the auto repair industry, and today BAR is considered to be the foremost auto repair regulatory agency in the nation, if not the world. BAR staff checks out every complaint, false and misleading statements, fraud, gross negligence, or other serious violations of the Automotive Repair Act and negotiates with the shop on the consumer's behalf to achieve a mutually agreeable resolution. BAR acts aggressively to combat fraud.

From its headquarters in Sacramento and through 12 field offices around California, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) conducts consumer protection services related to automotive repair. BAR registers and regulates automotive repair dealers, accepts and resolves auto repair complaints from the public, investigates violations of the Automotive Repair Act and, when appropriate, refers cases to law enforcement authorities. BAR also administers a statewide licensing program of repair facilities and service technicians in lamp and brake inspection and repair. BAR licenses more than 34,000 auto repair dealers in California.

In 1982, California became the 20th state in the nation to adopt a vehicle inspection and maintenance (Smog Check) program. BAR is mandated by law to administer the Smog Check program. The goal of Smog Check is to reduce air pollution produced by motor vehicles. BAR licenses over 7,050 privately-owned Smog Check stations and more than 15,000 Smog Check technicians, thereby implementing the program through a decentralized system. BAR's enforcement team investigates general auto repair complaints and ensures that shops comply with Smog Check statutes. They value new ideas and concepts, which are fundamental to our successful delivery of services to consumers and the efficient regulation of the automotive marketplace. Also you may find:

  • Green Station Program
  • Remote Sensing Pilot Study
  • Identity Theft
  • Laws & Regulations
  • File a Complaint
  • Find a Station
  • Find Vehicle Smog Test History
  • Key BAR Contacts
  • Opportunities for Public Participation
  • Verify A License

BAR-2012 Emissions Inspection System Project

To enable reliable and cost-effective Smog Check inspections for California consumers and to minimize operation and maintenance costs for Smog Check stations. The BAR-2012 Emissions Inspection System (EIS) will utilize standardized State-owned EIS software, and upgraded hardware components that will work with evolving vehicle technologies. The BAR-2012 EIS is designed to achieve the following goals:

  • Improve EIS Reliability
  • Reduce Costs for Smog Check Stations
  • Improve Smog Check Inspection Flexibility
  • Improve Hardware and Software Security
  • Reduce Smog Check Inspection Time

Bar low pressure fuel evaporative emissions as part of  Smog Check inspection

Low Pressure Fuel Evaporative Test for low pressure fuel evaporative emissions as part of Smog Check inspection

The most important impact on consumers is that the emission reductions will improve air quality and reduce their health risks. BAR’s 2005 roadside inspection study showed that approximately 11% of consumers may have to pay more in order to repair failing vehicles; however, the air quality and resulting health benefits easily outweigh the increased costs associated with the program. Repairs will also result in fuel savings. In addition, fuel leaks can be a safety hazard and repairing those vehicles will reduce the chance of vehicle damage or injury. The average low-pressure test time is 4 minutes (from data entry to result) and can be performed concurrently with other elements of the Smog Check inspection. BAR-2012 EIS equipment will be required for stations that plan to perform Smog Check inspections on vehicles. The BAR-97 EIS is scheduled to be retired after rollout of the new system in the 2012 – 2013 timeframe.

Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) helps California consumers to comply with smog emission standards for their vehicle. CAP allows qualified motorists to receive up to $500 in emissions-related repairs from the state. Eligible consumers must take their vehicles to authorized Smog Check repair stations to perform repair services. CAP also administers the Vehicle Retirement Program.

California's Smog Check Program

Most California vehicles (1976 and newer) must pass a Smog Check inspection every other year in order to renew registration in the state. The Smog Check inspection includes: a visual inspection to verify that all required emission systems are present; a functional inspection to verify that specific emission control systems are functioning; and a tailpipe inspection to verify that the vehicle's exhaust emissions are within established standards.

Repair of Emission Control Systems

As part of the Smog Check Program, all vehicles with missing, modified, or disconnected emission control systems must be repaired. In some cases, the required part(s) can be difficult to find. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) suggests that motorists first check with their new car dealer, local auto parts stores, and automotive recyclers to find the needed parts. However, if the parts are not available locally, BAR offers a special service to help motorists find them.

Emission Parts Locator Service

BAR contracts with the Foundation For California Community Colleges to provide a toll–free, statewide telephone Emission Parts Locator Service. The program's employees help motorists locate those hard–to–find emission control parts they need to bring their vehicles into compliance. A telephone agent provides each caller with the names and telephone numbers of three or more suppliers that may have the required part(s). The motorist then contacts the suppliers, and may purchase the part(s) from the supplier of their choice. Without the Emission Parts Locator Service, many motorists would not be able to repair their vehicles and complete the vehicle registration process with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Call the Emission Parts Locator Service toll–free at 800–622–7733.

California Environmental Protection Agency/Air Resources Board (ARB)

ARB holds the primary responsibility for California air quality from all sources, mobile and stationary. Also ARB establishes clean air standards, conducts research into air pollution, engine changes, aftermarket parts and gray-market vehicles, enforces emissions and smog limitations.

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Essential Contact Numbers:

General Assistance: Tel. 800.952.5210, Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, except holidays
Sacramento Office Tel. 916.255.3145
Consumer Assistance Program (CAP): Tel. 866.272.9642, Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, except holidays
Smog Check Parts: Tel. 800.622.7733, Open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays
BAR Auto Body Program: Tel. 866.799.3811
BAR Service Desk: Tel. 866.860.8509
BAR Referee Scheduing Center: Tel. 800.622.7733
DCA/BAR Publications: Tel. 800.952.5210.
Department of Motor Vehicles (smog check exemptions, registration deadlines, etc.): Tel. 800.777.0133
California Environmental Protection Agency/Air Resources Board (ARB): Tel. 800.242.4450
ARB's Vehicle Air Pollution Complaint Hotline at 800.END.SMOG or Tel. 800.363.7664.

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