Salvage Vehicles Draw Interest From State
Salvage vehicles are ones that have been deemed a total loss by an insurance company because they sustained damages in which the cost of repairs is close to or exceed the value of the vehicle. These vehicles’ titles are branded as “salvage” and many are subsequently repaired and put back on the road.
Many salvage vehicles are re-registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles every year. Currently, only official brake, lamp, and smog inspections are required to re-register a salvage vehicle. Salvage vehicles, if improperly repaired, create safety concerns for not just the vehicle occupants, but other motorists as well. Improper repairs can include, but are not limited to, substandard structural repairs, inoperative supplemental restraint systems (air bags), damaged vehicle suspension components, and faulty electrical issues. Salvage vehicles may even be sold to consumers without disclosing the extent of the vehicle’s damage or the quality of repairs performed.
In April 2016, Assemblyman Ed Chau invited the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to attend a meeting with the Chinese American Auto Association (CAAA) in southern California. CAAA expressed concern that salvage vehicles are being sold by unlicensed automotive dealers to consumers who may be unaware that the vehicles are salvaged. The group discussed inspection requirements to re-register salvage vehicles and agreed that consumer safety is the top concern.
In response, BAR is currently expanding its Auto Body Inspection Program to include a focus on salvage vehicles. The program offers no-cost inspections to consumers to verify that collision-related repairs to their vehicles were done correctly. For more information visit the Auto Body Inspection Program page at www.bar.ca.gov or call toll-free at (866)799-3811.
2016 CAP Repair Assistance Operations Manual
The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) recently released the 2016 Consumer Assistance Program Repair Assistance Operations Manual. Stations under contract with the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) are required to comply with the manual for all repair assistance transactions.
Key changes and updates to the manual include the following:
The 2016 Consumer Assistance Program Repair Assistance Operations Manual and CAP training resources are available at www.bar.ca.gov. If you have any questions regarding the CAP manual or need additional training, please contact the CAP Help Desk at (866) 361-3933.
Consumer Assistance Program News
CAP Standard Agreements and Notification of Changes
The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) recently renewed approximately 1,400 Standard Agreements with STAR Test-and-Repair stations to perform repair assistance services for the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP). During this process, CAP found that some stations were going through a change of ownership, name change, or address change.
As a reminder, stations must notify CAP and the BAR Licensing Unit when changing ownership or going through a name/address change.
Any change in business ownership or ownership structure that requires a new ARD registration and Smog Check station license will invalidate the CAP Standard Agreement. A new CAP Standard Agreement is required before the station can resume CAP repairs.
A change of business name and/or address (with no change of ownership) does not require a new ARD registration and Smog Check station license. However, an amendment to the CAP Standard Agreement is required to reflect the new name and/or address. Stations may continue to perform CAP repairs during the CAP Standard Agreement amendment process, unless otherwise advised.
Stations may contact the CAP Help Desk at (866) 361-3933 for assistance.
Participating Vehicle Retirement Dismantlers
BAR recently re-bid the Vehicle Retirement dismantler contracts. Consequently, the contracted dismantlers for several areas have changed. For a listing of participating vehicle dismantlers, visit BAR’s website at www.bar.ca.gov.
CAP Online Application
CAP now offers an online application for Repair Assistance and Vehicle Retirement in both English and Spanish. For complete eligibility requirements and to access the online application, refer consumers to the Consumer Assistance Progam page at www.bar.ca.gov.
Avoid Registration and License Delinquency
Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) registrations and Smog Check station licenses must be renewed annually. BAR mails courtesy notices ninety (90) days prior to the expiration date. In the event you do not receive a courtesy renewal notice, you are still responsible for renewing the ARD registration and Smog Check station license by the expiration date. BAR recommends that renewal payments be made several days in advance of the registration/license expiration date to allow for timely processing. This helps stations avoid expiration of registrations/licenses, accumulation of delinquency fees, lockout of Smog Check analyzers, and possible suspension of STAR and CAP repair assistance privileges.
Mail a copy of the registration and license with the applicable renewal fees made payable to the Department of Consumer Affairs to the address below:
Department of Consumer Affairs
If your renewal is postmarked after the expiration date, the registration/license will be charged a delinquency fee for each registration/license being renewed. The registration/license will not be renewed until delinquency fees are received and processed.
Online Renewal Payment System Under Development
The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) is developing an online renewal payment system to make the renewal process more convenient for registrants and licensees. The new system will reduce processing times by offering the ability to make online payments using a credit card or debit card. BAR will continue to update registrants and licensees on the progress of the online renewal payment system.
What to Expect During a Gas Audit Inspection
The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) routinely performs gas audit inspections at licensed Smog Check stations to ensure the BAR-97 Emissions Inspection System (EIS) analyzer calibration readings are within specified tolerances.
When a BAR representative arrives at a station for a gas audit inspection, they will introduce themselves to the station owner, manager, or responsible managing employee (RME). The BAR representative will explain the inspection process and answer any questions before they begin. BAR will attempt to minimize any interruption to your business during the inspection. This means allowing the station to complete in-progress inspections or waiting until Smog Checks have been completed for waiting customers.
During the inspection, the BAR representative will ask the licensed inspector to perform a BAR-97 leak check, or three-day calibration, if required. The BAR representative will inspect the EIS and Low Pressure Fuel Evaporative Tester (LPFET) hardware for integrity and compliance with the BAR-97 specifications. They will also inspect the EIS cabinet tamper system for proper function. The BAR representative will introduce their own audit gases into the EIS and check the unit for accuracy. The readings produced by the EIS are compared against the known values of the audit gases to determine whether the EIS is operating correctly. If your station has more than one EIS, the BAR representative will repeat these procedures on each BAR-97 analyzer.
At the conclusion of the inspection, the BAR representative will provide the station owner, manager, or RME with an inspection report and explain their inspection results and recommendations. If any deficiencies are found, the BAR representative will provide instructions on how to submit proof of correction to BAR.
Gas audit inspections are one of BAR’s most effective tools to ensure the integrity of the Smog Check Program. Your cooperation during a gas audit inspection provides an opportunity for BAR and stations to communicate and to support our common goal of clean air in California.
BAR-OIS Testing Equipment
As the industry becomes more comfortable with the Bureau of Automotive Repair On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (BAR-OIS), most technicians are properly testing model-year 2000 and newer gasoline-powered and hybrid vehicles, and model-year 1998 and newer diesel-powered vehicles using the BAR-OIS testing equipment.
However, some technicians continue to test these newer model-year vehicles on the BAR-97 Emissions Inspection System (EIS). Testing on the wrong equipment can result in a citation, which can include an Order of Abatement, monetary fine, or training requirement, and could, based on the repeated violations, impact STAR certification.
To help stations and technicians ensure the correct equipment is being used for the vehicle being tested, the Smog Check Manual, ET Blasts, and other resources are available on BAR’s website at www.bar.ca.gov.
Upcoming BAR-97 EIS Changes
The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) plans to require that the BAR-97 Emissions Inspection System (EIS) to connect to the Vehicle Information Database (VID) through the internet just like with BAR On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (BAR-OIS) testing of vehicles. The internet connection will improve reliability by eliminating the need for a dedicated phone line. This change is required because the VID will no longer support outdated dialup connectivity. Newer EIS models are upgradable to support internet connectivity, but older EIS models will require replacement. BAR is working with interested EIS manufacturers to certify internet connectivity updates. Check with your EIS manufacturer for details.
In addition, BAR plans to require stations to use a BAR-97 EIS that is certified to meet BAR’s proposed 2017 specification. There is currently no date set in law to eliminate tailpipe testing of older vehicles. Obsolete EIS components are becoming increasingly difficult to support and have reached the end of their useful life.
BAR is addressing these issues with new requirements, such as a newer computer, a supported version of operating system software, and integration of the Low Pressure Fuel Evaporative Tester (LPFET) into the BAR-97 EIS. The 2017 specification changes also include the ability to require online testing, a reminder message to inspect certain vehicles with the BAR-OIS, and other minor prompting changes to better match inspection procedures. Stations using newer EIS models may only need an update to comply with the 2017 specification. Stations using older EIS models will need to be replacement or upgraded.
The Smog Check Manual will be updated to require that the EIS use an internet connection. The new manual will also:
It is anticipated that internet connection may be ready as an option to stations as early as April 2017. Internet connection would not become mandatory until January 1, 2018. An EIS certified to the 2017 specification would also be required no sooner than January 1, 2018. For up-to-date information, visit the BAR-97 Information page at www.bar.ca.gov.
Legislation and Regulations Update
The following are updates on various legislative and regulatory proposals. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, given the nature of the legislative process, the information provided may not reflect the latest updates. The most current bill information is located on the California Legislative Information website at www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. For more information on legislation or regulation proposals, or to learn about future opportunities for public participation, visit the About BAR page at www.bar.ca.gov.
Assembly Bill (AB) 1174 was vetoed by Governor Brown on September 22, 2016. This bill would have required BAR to adopt regulations regarding its processes for handling and mediating consumer complaints (excluding those processes related to undercover investigations), and to post these regulations on BAR’s website. The bill would also have required BAR to track and retain data on complaint mediation results, including the types of complaints filed, the remedies sought and obtained by consumers, and the number of complaints handled. BAR would have been required to report these results to the Legislature on an annual basis beginning January 1, 2018.
AB 873 was signed by Governor Brown on September 30, 2016. However, the enactment of AB 873 was contingent upon the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 778 which was vetoed by Governor Brown on September 30, 2016. This bill would have provided installation of propulsive batteries is not a minor service. Prior to January 1, 2018, the bill would have required BAR to adopt comprehensive regulations defining "minor services." On and after January 1, 2018, the bill would have removed the current exemption from Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) registration for certain repairs and would have defined "repair of motor vehicles" to exclude "minor services as determined through regulations adopted by BAR" and "roadside services." The exemption for "roadside services" would have included tow trucks enrolled in the Basic Inspection of Terminals Program and motor clubs.
Senate Bill (SB) 778 was vetoed by Governor Brown on September 30, 2016. This bill would have made several important changes to existing law, including:
BAR officially adopted the new Disciplinary Guidelines and other regulations related to the disciplinary process on July 28, 2016. The guidelines which are statutorily mandated to be adopted in regulation, are intended to be a resource for those involved in and affected by the disciplinary process, including registrants, licensees, administrative law judges, and BAR enforcement staff. They also promote consistent and appropriate penalties when disciplinary actions are imposed. The changes to the Disciplinary Guidelines are necessary to address legislative and regulatory changes that have occurred since their last revision in May 1997. The guidelines also include a new probationary registration and license process.
Windshield Replacement Standards
Windshields are an important safety feature in motor vehicles and are manufactured and installed according to certain standards to have sufficient strength and bonding to the vehicle to prevent ejection during a crash. On October 17, 2016, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved BAR's proposed regulation requiring that the products and procedures involved in windshield installation and replacement meet accepted trade standards. The regulation also requires disclosures to the customer of the cure time necessary to safely drive the vehicle, the date and time upon which installation was completed, and whether the windshield supplied is an original or non-original equipment manufacturer part. This regulation will take effect January 1, 2017.
Advertising Requirements for Mobile Automotive Repair Services
At the request of the automotive industry, BAR has proposed a new regulation concerning advertising requirements for ARDs who perform mobile repairs. The regulation will assist BAR in combating unlicensed activity. ARDs whose business model relies primarily on mobile repair typically advertise on the internet and are more difficult to monitor than other repair dealers since they do not operate out of a registered business address. Public workshops were held in July and October 2014.
A public hearing was held on March 14, 2016, and a 15-day notice period for modified text ran from August 16 to August 30, 2016. The regulation is under the Department of Consumer Affairs' final review before filing with OAL.
BAR-97 EIS Update
BAR is working on a regulation change to require an internet connection to the Vehicle Information Database (VID) instead of the traditional dial-up line for BAR-97 inspections. The proposed regulation would also require the use of a BAR-97 certified to an updated specification currently under development at BAR. See related BAR-97 EIS Changes article for more information.
BAR held a regulation workshop on these changes on October 20, 2016.
Smog Check Training Institutions and Instructors
This proposed regulation will update and revise the requirements for certification of training institutions and instructors to create consistency with Smog Check licensing requirements. The regulation will also replace the technologically out-of-date Bureau of Automotive Repair Standards document with the new Bureau Training Programs Standards document, which sets forth the minimum standards to provide training for Smog Check licensees. Finally, the proposed regulation would allow vehicle manufacturer training to satisfy the renewal requirements for the Smog Check repair technician license.
The next step for this proposed regulation is filing of notice with OAL.
Complaint Mediation Process
Each year, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) mediates approximately 15,000 consumer complaints. The goal of complaint mediation is to address the consumer’s concerns regarding an automotive repair transaction, mediate a fair resolution, and educate the repair facility on their responsibilities under the Automotive Repair Act. BAR’s role as a complaint mediator is to act as a neutral third party focused on achieving a fair resolution based upon the facts of the repair transaction.
Complaints can be submitted to BAR online, by mail, by telephone, or in person at a BAR field office. BAR reviews and acknowledges all complaints. Those within our jurisdiction are forwarded to the appropriate field office for assignment to a representative for mediation. The representative will review the complaint, contact the consumer, and gather any necessary documentation pertaining to the complaint. The representative may inspect the consumer’s vehicle, if necessary. The representative will contact the repair facility to gather further information and attempt to resolve the consumer’s issue. The representative will keep both parties informed throughout the complaint mediation process.
If violations of the Automotive Repair Act are identified, the representative will determine the appropriate action to be taken. This may include BAR educating the facility, especially if the violation relates to estimate or invoice procedures, or holding a conference with the facility’s owner, especially if there have been prior efforts to educate the facility. If BAR identifies an egregious violation of the Automotive Repair Act, such as fraud or an action that may threaten the safety of consumers, the complaint may be elevated to a formal investigation and the possible filing of a disciplinary action against the registrant or licensee.
All BAR complaints are mediated with the primary goal of obtaining a fair and appropriate resolution for both parties. Each year, BAR negotiates approximately $5 million in direct refunds, bill adjustments, and no-charge rework to the vehicle for California consumers. BAR also uses the complaint mediation process to educate repair facilities on the Automotive Repair Act to help avoid future complaints and promote consumer confidence, trust, and repeat business.
BAR by the Numbers
Licensing Summary (June 30, 2016)
Complaint Trends - (January-June 2016)
Disciplinary Actions (January -June 2016)
Public documents relating to the following disciplinary actions are available on the License Search page at www.dca.ca.gov.
Follow the Bureau Online
The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) is online! The website's user-friendly design allows licensees and the automotive repair industry to easily find the information they are looking for. Click on the “Industry" tab on the home page to quickly access ET Blasts, STAR information, licensing information, and more. Need a form or application? All BAR documents can now be accessed through the “Documents” tab.
BAR Employment Opportunities
BAR hires program representatives throughout the state to enforce the laws and regulations governing automotive repair and Smog Check services. If you are interested in working for BAR, please visit the Job Opportunities page at www.bar.ca.gov to review examination requirements and job announcement postings.