California is starting to crack down on unapproved ECU pieces today. here’s why
As of 2013, California’s regulatory view has been that a vehicle’s software is part of its factory-fitted emission control devices, and by modifying the vehicle’s software, the owner is altering the emission controls like s ‘he was draining the car’s catalytic converter.
The biggest change is that the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (CBAR), the agency that oversees the smog control process, has officially started enforcing existing regulations.
It seems consumers may be an unfortunate victim in California’s ongoing war on polluting auto makers and aftermarket companies that willfully violate the EPA’s Clean Air Act or its own approved provisions. CARB considers its trust in automakers, in particular, to be shattered, which appears to stem from the CARB-commissioned study that uncovered Volkswagen’s infamous dieselgate scandal in 2014.
“Since the beginning of computer-controlled vehicles, software has always been an important part of the emissions control system,” said a spokesperson for CARB. The reader by email. “So we’ve always been very clear with the industry about their responsibility to get an OE to ensure their changes are legal for their customers. Once the OEMs broke our trust with their software cheating, it was widely advertised that we would use whatever tools were available. to make sure everyone was following the rules, including the secondary market.
Some aftermarket companies like Cobb and APR have tackled this issue head on, seeking CARB approvals for their respective software products. However, obtaining CARB certification itself is a comprehensive process that can be prohibitive for new businesses or people looking to tune their own vehicles.
What this means for the future of automobiles in California and other states that adopt CARB standards is really unclear. Now unwilling companies and their oblivious consumers are apparently persona non grata.
Aftermarket tunes will find their way back into the condition and onto the ECUs of non-compliant cars. It is still unclear how California plans to address this, although it appears the race for a combustion-free future may be the main player in ridding the state of the offending automobiles.
California politics may seem pretty straightforward, however, the internet (being the internet) is rife with misinformation on the subject. Facebook groups are swarmed with enthusiasts who fear their pre-OBD-II cars will break down, and those with pieces out of the box don’t know what to do next.
CBAR has put together a list of FAQs, but getting the information in a human-readable format isn’t entirely straightforward, which is why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list which you can read here.
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