In-Use Motor Vehicle Testing Program In-Use Compliance Program

This page last reviewed June 4, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About ARB's In-Use Test Program:


How long will my vehicle be kept for this test program?


In most cases, an owner's vehicle will be returned in 5 to 7 days. In some cases, extra testing may be required and the vehicle will be needed for a few more days. In these cases, the owner will be contacted and asked permission to keep the vehicle for an extended period of time. If an owner needs their vehicle back immediately, the vehicle will be returned promptly.


Is my vehicle insured while it is being tested?


The ARB fully insures the vehicle from the time they receive it from the owner's home or work and until they return the vehicle back to the owner. The rental vehicle that is loaned to the owner while the owner's vehicle is being tested is also fully insured.


What kind of rental car do I get?


The rental car supplied to an owner is a late model vehicle, comparable to the owner's vehicle, with automatic transmission and nicely equipped.


What kind of testing is performed on my vehicle?


The vehicle is tested for exhaust and evaporative emissions. The vehicle is placed on a dynamometer (a device that allows the vehicle to be driven at appropriate loads for a given speed inside a laboratory) and is driven utilizing a universal transient test cycle that closely duplicates basic driving conditions. As the vehicle is driven, the vehicle's exhaust is sampled and weighted against the mileage driven. When the test is completed, exhaust emissions such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen are quantified in grams/mile. Vehicles are also placed in a SHED (Sealed Housing Evaporative Determination) to determine what amount of hydrocarbon emissions are evaporating from the vehicle, while the vehicle is parked.


How many miles are added to my vehicle?


The mileage can vary but it's usually the distance between the vehicle pick up point to the ARB's Haagen-Smit Laboratory located in El Monte, California times two plus 100 miles. If the vehicle needs additional tests, the mileage added to the vehicle will be more.


When do I get my incentive check?


The ARB offers a monetary amount for participating in the test program. When the owner's vehicle is returned, the vehicle will have been washed and have a full tank of gas and an incentive check will be issued to the owner. If the owner's vehicle is not used for testing, a reduced incentive check will be issued to the owner, the vehicle will be returned with a full tank of gas and a car wash.


How do I participate in this program?


To participate, fill out the on-line registration form at this ARB Vehicle Test Programs web page, or completely fill out and mail back the Reply form that is sent from the contractor.


What if I don't want to participate?


The program is completely voluntary. If you don't want to participate, simply write 'Decline' on the Reply form and mail it back to us.