Carbs Ginnie Pig the BAR

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Posted by Ben on April 19, 2011 at 15:36:46

Hello Friends-

I wanted to share my story on behalf of many Smog Stations that were cited by CARBs Gennie Pig. The Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Has anyone what smog stations go through? I do. I am a Smog Technician licensed by the Bureau of Automotive Repair and I have to say I am not happy with the latest legislation that has been enacted. In February of 2009 the station I am currently working for was cited by the BAR $500 for not correctly checking and failing a car even though the car had clean tailpipe emissions. As mechanics (Sorry for not being politically correct with saying Technician) we all know ignition timing plays a roll in a cars performance, it also plays a roll in emissions. Its a simple principle of ignition. If you fire the plug too soon the fuel mixture does not burn all the way resulting in a Rich Air/Fuel mixture, Fire it too late the burn snuffs itself out resulting in nothing burning and creating a lean Air/Fuel Mixture. The BAR during the citation meeting stated they had set the timing beyond specification. If this were true the emissions should be failing because of the the simple ignition principle of ignition of a internal combustion engine. That being said I pleaded this case to them and let me off of the hook. They did not. I had 30 days to do the fallowing: Shop pays the fine and receives a one year probation, now three years under current legislation, or appeal in a administrative hearing which the court will always favor CARBs Ginnie Pigs. Here is the kicker, when the BAR issues the citation to a Station both the owner and technician receive one which become one. This simply means if one of us decided to appeal we both would have to appeal individually. Does this sound fair?

We were also threatened with more under cover vehicles in this manner and that is what exactly happened on January 25 2010. Once again clean emissions with a car that had something missing this time around. Little did I know at the time the legislation changed from the one year to the three year probation period. That made this a Level 2 citation with $1500 fine attached to it and another three year probation. I could appeal if I wanted to, but if you hire representation the cost of a lawyer exceeds what the fine is. Where do the Smog Stations turn? Ever wander why smog stations do not stay open very long? We are the good guys we submit the Smog report to the DMV so you can have your vehicle registration. BAR is on a Bounty hunt just like this to shut businesses down. One more strike I lose my job and my license I had worked so hard to get. I have to look over my shoulder every time and wander if that next car I am about to test is a state undercover car. To rob stations like this is wrong on so many levels. It takes away jobs, it takes away from the economy, and in some cases its down right fraud. There is no justification for investigating an honest shop that is always doing the right thing. I am not involved in any kind of illegal activity that you made read in the BAR newsletter or in the local Media. As a mechanic honesty is always the best policy especially in the smog check world. I save people time and money to ease the stress they go through when their car does not pass. This is not to say there are bad apples out there doing illegal things such as clean piping, clean plugging, and ripping off customers with their bait and switch scheme. Those are the shops that need a good kick in the *** by the BAR. Just because we run a Smog Check special in the paper that justifies illegal activity? This agency needs to wake up and get a grip. Politicians do not belong in any kind of industrial setting especially the automotive. It takes time, experience, and a lot of practice to fix cars. Politicians.....huh.....they need to go find a left handed wrench and figure out how to use it. Dictating law in our industry is whats killing it. When I read an article in the latest hot rod magazine the source said that "aftermarket parts and services make up approximately $32 billion of the economy". CARBs Ginnie pi threatened that industry. Don't let CARB dictate air pollution laws when they are in the business of shutting businesses down. They are not Truck Drivers, they are not factory workers, they are not teachers, they are not mechanics. They are uneducated politicians with an agenda. Shutting businesses down. I hate being unemployed and I think these people at CARB need to see the unemployment line.

They need to work in these areas and understand these industries. What I found most intriguing was the BAR's remote pilot study they come out with every year. You can find it on the BAR website at If you notice where it says that smog stations are improperly doing the tests or improper repairs are being done. Tell me how do you improperly fix a car when we are required to do an after repairs emissions test? The emissions results do the talking. What these idiots do not understand is some vehicles are susceptible to failures and or the customers do only the bare minimum to get past the test. Hows is that the stations fault? Let me let you in on something that happened in 1972. Its called the Automotive Repair Act. We can only do what the customer tells us to do within reason. We are also obligated to warn consumers of safety issues pertaining to their car. This is not up selling to make money its keeping people informed. I get cars all the time for Smog Checks and most people do not realize balled tires are a safety issue on the Dyno. I have to tell them that has to be addressed before I can smog your vehicle. The average Joe can understand this. The BAR sees this as a unnecessary repair simply because all they came in for originally was a Smog Check Inspection and stations get hammered for things like this. Guess who is behind it? My buddys at CARB and the BAR. I see it from the point of view from the you customers: A pass is a pass. It does not matter what happens in the next two years. Here's what happens. If one of my customers happens to get caught up in the roadside testing and the car fails the inspection. The BAR has a field day at our shop during the audit. Finding all sorts of things to write a fine for. The question is do they know how to read numbers? A lot can happen over a two year period. I can honestly say most of the failures are due to showing the state auditor the statistics of what they are finding without giving the smog stations the benefit of the doubt and that to me is wrong. They don't see the consumer declining further diagnostics, they don't see the consumer being cheap because they only want to do the bear minimum, they don't see the part failures, they don't see the tactics consumers use to get by, and it's our fault? Take a good look at the Automotive Repair Act. That is what we smog stations abide by as well as any repair facility. CARB needs to look in the mirror before pointing that finger. Smog repair stations take most of the trauma by CARB all they use is their Ginnie Pig the BAR.


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