Release 92-04

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                              CONTACT:            Jerry Martin
April 1, 1992                                                                                                        (916) 322-2990

Registration Renewal to Be Held Up for Cars That are Recalled but Not Fixed

        SACRAMENTO - In an effort to reduce the number of highly polluting cars on California highways, the Department of Motor Vehicles will no longer be allowed to renew registrations for cars that have been recalled for defective emission control equipment unless they are repaired.

        The new program, which affects all vehicles recalled since August 1, 1991, for failing either Air Resources Board (ARB) or vehicle manufacturer testing, is designed to increase the number of defective pollution control systems that are repaired at the car manufacturers' expense. In the past, many motorists have ignored recall notices from car makers, resulting in recall programs that have been only about half as effective as they could be in reducing pollution.

        Currently, about 180,000 individual vehicles are subject to the new program. The majority of those vehicles are manufactured by Ford, General Motors, Chrysler or Mitsubishi. Those vehicles could emit up to 20,000 tons a year of smog-forming pollutants, as much as 10 large power plants, if they are not repaired.

        Jim Boyd, ARB executive officer noted that the new program benefits clean air and also protects consumers from unnecessary repair bills. "Previously, owners have responded to less than half of emission-related recalls, repaired only about half of all defective cars, leaving the remainder of the defective cars to pollute the air for up to two extra years without the owner's knowledge," he said.

        "This new program not only will clean up that pollution, it will same motorists money because all of the recall repairs are covered by ARB emission standards and are paid for by car makers."

        Recalls are triggered by ARB and manufacturer testing that uncovers defective emission control systems usually within the first 30,000 to 50,000 miles of driving. The warranties on all smog-related components are part of the ARB's unique emission standards, which provide California with the world's cleanest running new vehicles.

         Only cars recalled since August, 1991 are subject to the new hold-up on registration renewal. Currently, however, over 600,000 of the state's 13 million cars are under recall, dating from 1987 with problems as small as assembly-line labels with inaccurate emissions information to major defects, such as non-working catalytic converters and other anti-smog equipment that can cost up to $800 to repair.

        Motorists who have received a pollution-related recall notice from their manufacturer must have the vehicle checked by a factory-authorized facility. After the vehicle has been inspected -- and repaired -- the owner will be issued a Proof of Correction certificate, which must be presented to the Department of Motor Vehicle so that the registration can be renewed.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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