The California Air Resources Board (CARB) requires any potential emissions-tampering car modification to go through a lengthy and expensive certification process that does absolutely nothing but screw small tuning companies and their customers. California requires cars to be smogged every two years and they face a visual and a sniffer test each time.
Now I care about clean air, and I’m not going to go ask you to remove your catalytic converters, but these rules are bogus. If a car passes the sniffer test, it should be perfectly legal for the most part, (Save for some cases where exhaust fumes are coming out of the engine bay, etc.) but in the state of California they require that each aftermarket part has gone through a test by CARB to ensure it doesn’t increase emissions. This causes perfectly clean cars to fail smog because of something as little as a cold air intake made by a company who didn’t pay CARB to test their product.
This requirement serves nothing more than a cash grab by CARB and a potential lobby from large companies such as Edelbrock trying to cut out the little tuning shops. If your car has a big turbo, an air filter, hotter cams, and beefier injectors, all while not emitting more smog than stock, it should be perfectly fine. Where is the harm?
My own car failed smog over a non-CARB approved cold air intake. It passed everything else with flying colors. Why should I have to buy the approved piece of bent metal over the one that I already have? What about people with more obscure cars with weak aftermarket support who don’t even have a legal option?
The CARB approval process as a manufacturer apparently used to be pretty painless, provided you had the money to pay them to test it. Recently, however, with budget cuts – the wait time can be months.
If my catalytic converter bites the dust, and I buy one on the cheap, and once installed my car passes the sniffer test, what is the problem? Why should I have to buy one that went through an approval process?
Once again, this isn’t a call for less smog regulations so I can roll coal in my girlfriend’s TDI. This is a call for a removal of a system that is really nothing but a way for the state to make money.