This history of the decentralized enhanced Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program is designed to provide general background on how the program was developed using a new, customer-oriented approach that emphasizes convenience to motorists.
In 1994 the public overwhelmingly rejected the Casey-Singel Administration’s plan to operate 86 centralized vehicle emissions test centers across the Commonwealth. The centralized program was mandated by EPA, developed with little input from motorists and service station owners and locked in by a contract with a testing firm who was selected to build and operate the centralized test stations.
Motorists, service station owners and legislators objected to the centralized testing program not because they were not willing to do their share to reduce air pollution, but because of the way the program was designed. Their objections included:
creation of new "government run" facilities;
abandonment of the existing vehicle testing program that relied on private service stations for both the emissions tests and repairs;
the major inconvenience from the "ping-pong" effect of having to go to a central testing station first, then a private garage for repairs and back to the central testing station for a retest;
the real potential for long waiting lines as 6 million motorists lined up at a small number of facilities for tests; and
the elimination of competition and choice in the test and repair business.
In late 1994 public opposition culminated in the General Assembly passing a law, over the veto of Gov. Casey, that directed the Department of Transportation to submit a plan to EPA proposing a decentralized or hybrid vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program. It prohibited Transportation from spending funds to implement a centralized testing program (Act 95 of 1994).
Through the General Assembly, Pennsylvanians insisted on a vehicle emissions inspection program that would make the air cleaner, but one developed with public input, convenient for vehicle owners and tailored to deal with the air pollution problem in the Commonwealth.
However, Pennsylvania residents are now paying for the failed project (millions were spent), litteraly, with the Catastrophy fund that was to be abolished. Each moving violation has a $40.00 price tag, so the Pennsylvanians are footing the bill for the failure, which has been paid for twice over, yet the CAT FUND remains on the ticket.
A New Approach
In January 1995 Gov. Ridge took office and rejected EPA’s "one-size-fits-all" approach to vehicle emissions inspection. The Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection started to develop a decentralized vehicle emissions inspection program with the help of motorists, service station dealers and other partners. The new proposal was not only to be convenient and customer-friendly, but a new private-public partnership designed to meet our obligation to provide cleaner air to Pennsylvanians.
In October 1995, Transportation Secretary Bradley Mallory and DEP Secretary James Seif formally proposed a decentralized inspection plan that won the support of groups like the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, the Automotive Service Association, Inc. and the National Federation of Independent Businesses who saw it as the best alternative for setting up a vehicle emissions inspection program.
The proposed decentralized, enhanced Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program eliminated the objections opponents had to the Casey-Singel Administration’s centralized plan. In the decentralized program:
Private service stations would still be used for both the emissions
tests and repairs just as they have been.
The "ping-pong" effect was eliminated since tests and repairs could now be done at the same location.
The inconvenience of waiting lines was eliminated because motorists could get both their safety and emissions tests done at the same time at private service stations.
Motorists would again have a choice of where to go for tests and repairs.
The program was also tailored to meet the severity of the air pollution problem in Pennsylvania.
At the same time the decentralized proposal was announced, the Department of Transportation formed a 36 - member Inspection and Maintenance Workgroup to help develop the regulations needed to implement the program, test equipment specifications, technician training requirements and other implementation details. The Workgroup includes representatives of motorists, like AAA, service station dealers and others with a stake in the program.
But, a big challenge remained – EPA. EPA’s regulations penalized states for submitting enhanced vehicle emission inspection programs that relied on a decentralized approach to vehicle testing by automatically assuming these were only half as effective as a centralized testing program.
Working with other states and members of Congress, Pennsylvania was able to enact a change in federal law, signed by the President in December 1995, to eliminate the automatic 50 percent penalty for decentralized inspection programs. The new law gave states the opportunity to submit a decentralized inspection program to EPA and prove that it was just as effective at reducing vehicle emissions as a centralized program. The new law gave states until March 27, 1996 to submit their plans.
In December 1995 the Pennsylvania General Assembly swept away the last piece of the Casey-Singel Administration’s centralized testing program by approving a $145 million settlement with Envirotest, Inc., the contractor retained to operate the much opposed centralized testing system.
Involving the Public
In January 1996, DEP and the Department of Transportation made available to the public and members of the General Assembly a special report on all of Pennsylvania’s plans for cleaner air. Called "Help Design Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Plans," the report outlined the many opportunities the public has to participate in reviewing and commenting on each part of Pennsylvania’s clean air program as it was being developed.
The Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Inspection and Maintenance Workgroup and DEP, developed proposed regulations outlining the enhanced decentralized inspection program. The draft regulations were included as part of a formal revision to Pennsylvania’s State (Clean Air) Implementation Plan needed to tell EPA how Pennsylvania plans to meet federal Clean Air Act requirements.
The draft regulations and the State Implementation Plan revisions were distributed for public review and comment beginning on January 27, 1996. Three public hearings, at which eight people testified, were held (February 26, 28 and March 1, 1996) on the proposed rules.
A second round of public review and comment began March 16, 1996 when the Department of Transportation formally published the proposed implementation regulations for comment. As part of this formal rulemaking process, the proposed regulations were sent to the Senate and House Transportation Committees of the General Assembly and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, none of which has made adverse comments on the proposal.
Plans for the decentralized Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program were finalized by the Department of Transportation after additional review by the Inspection and Maintenance Workgroup and submitted to EPA for approval to meet the March 27, 1996 deadline.
The decentralized plan submitted by the Department of Transportation allowed Pennsylvania to meet its obligations to effectively reduce emissions from vehicles (still one-third of Pennsylvania’s air pollution problem) in a way that was convenient for motorists.
Part of a Regional Solution
Also in March 1996, DEP and the Department of Transportation convened Ozone Stakeholder groups in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia regions to identify the nature of the air pollution problems in those areas and work on a plan for reducing air pollution tailored to those regions. One element of the stakeholders’ task was to identify any additional strategies needed to reduce pollution from vehicles as well as business sources.
The Ozone Stakeholder groups included representatives of businesses, local governments, motorists, service stations, environmental and citizen groups, petroleum companies and utilities. The discussions were lead by an independent facilitator, CDR Associates from Colorado, and given technical support as requested through contractors retained by the Department of Transportation.
Right from the beginning in March 1996 to the time the groups issued their recommendations in January 1997, both Ozone Stakeholder groups used dozens of public meetings and hearings, visits to newspapers and other media and open public discussions to help them draft their plans for reducing ozone pollution. It was the first time the public in these regions was given the opportunity to help develop pollution reduction plans without top down mandates from bureaucrats in Harrisburg or Washington, D.C..
On July 15, 1996 EPA and the Delaware Valley Clean Air Council entered into a settlement agreement for a lawsuit that challenged EPA over Pennsylvania's failure to implement the earlier centralized vehicle emissions inspection program. The agreement established a schedule for EPA to make decisions on Pennsylvania's new decentralized enhanced plan as well as two other clean air plans affecting the Philadelphia area that fit with Pennsylvania’s plans to involve stakeholders in developing regional clean air strategies. EPA met the schedule and gave final conditional interim approval to Pennsylvania’s programs in January 1997.
DEP and the Department of Environmental Protection made available to the public and members of the General Assembly an update on Pennsylvania’s clean air plans in August 1996 which outlined more further opportunities for public review and comment.
The Department of Transportation continued to work with the Vehicle Emissions Workgroup on the nuts and bolts of implementing the program: training and certification of technicians, reducing the cost of test equipment, and other aspects.
Pilot Inspection Program
In September 1996, the Department of Transportation, DEP, AAA and other partners announced a Pilot Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program that was designed to give motorists and service station owners the opportunity to see and use the upgraded test equipment. The pilot program was also designed to test computer and other links for administering the program. Fifteen service stations in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas volunteered to become pilot stations and offer free vehicle emission inspections using enhanced equipment.
More Public Involvement
In October 1996, the public was given a third opportunity to review and comment on the proposed decentralized enhanced Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program when EPA proposed to give Pennsylvania’s program conditional interim approval. The interim approval was a significant victory for states such as Pennsylvania who were promoting decentralized programs for meeting the vehicle emission inspection requirement.
EPA’s conditional interim approval, however, still left some issues unresolved with EPA. The Department of Transportation and DEP jointly attempted to work out these issues with the agency. The most important was EPA’s insistence on mass transient testing (METTS) which EPA said required a small percentage of vehicles to be double tested using the old IM240 test equipment EPA had mandated for the centralized program in order to evaluate the effectiveness of Pennsylvania’s program.
In January 1997 EPA gave final conditional approval to Pennsylvania’s decentralized enhanced Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program without resolving a number of important issues. As a result, the Department of Transportation filed a petition for judicial review on March 31, 1997 effectively appealing EPA’s requirement to use the old IM240 test equipment. The petition is now pending in federal court.
The Ozone Stakeholder Groups in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia came to agreement on recommendations for reducing ozone pollution in those regions in reports submitted to DEP and the Department of Transportation in January 1997. Both groups relied heavily on the decentralized Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program to get needed reductions in vehicle emissions as part of an overall air pollution reduction plan.
Both Ozone Stakeholder Groups briefed members of the General Assembly and other interested organizations about the results of their intense effort to develop strategies for reducing ozone pollution in both the Southeast and Southwest.
Public Involvement Continues
The Department of Transportation, along with DEP, began another round of briefings on the status of the Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program for members of the General Assembly in January 1997 as part of a continuous process of updating members about the program. The agencies provided the public and members of the General Assembly with another update on all of Pennsylvania’s clean air plans in June 1997 ("Help Design Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Plans").
In addition, staff from the agencies have met with editorial boards, appeared on radio talk shows and met with a variety of service station groups about the program. Staff from the Department of Transportation were frequently joined by officials from AAA and other supporting groups at these appearances.
A special website on the Internet was opened to provide background information on the program and will be used in later public education efforts. It includes a special on-line discussion area where anyone can ask questions about the program.
The Department of Transportation issued a request for proposal in January 1997 soliciting proposals from companies interested in becoming the Program Manager and Public Information Contractor for the decentralized vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program.
The Program Manager will be responsible for administering the program and providing the necessary computer links between service stations needed to implement the program. In addition, the Manager is responsible for making sure, through audits and other methods, that tests were done fairly. The State Police will also be involved in ensuring valid testing and will be taking enforcement actions if needed.
Groups like the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, Automotive Service Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses recently reiterated their support of the decentralized program as the best option for implementing a vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program in letters to members of the General Assembly and newspapers throughout the state.
Project Manager Selected
On July 10, 1997 the Department of Transportation announced the selection of MCI Telecommunications Corp. will manage the vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program. The average estimated value of the five-year MCI contract is $16.8 million a year. The contract will be funded through a $3.70 per inspection fee charged to private participating inspection stations by MCI.
MCI will design, build and operate a sophisticated data system that will fully automate the emissions program and establish a call center for motorist information and a hot line to answer technical questions from inspection stations. MCI provides similar services to California, Georgia, Nevada and Texas.
The Department of Transportation also announced that William J. Green & Associates from Pittsburgh was retained to help develop a cost-effective public information campaign for the enhanced emissions program. The five-year contract has a value of up to $5 million.
Both the MCI and William J. Green & Associates contracts were awarded
through a competitive bid process.
Proper emissions system maintenance and repair can reduce fuel costs, improve vehicle performance, and extend a car's life.
Tamper-resistant, computer-generated report lists inspection results.
Choice of inspection and repair stations based on price, service and convenience.
Cleaner air for you and your children; 30 percent of the emissions that
contribute to ground- level ozone is from vehicles.
Vehicles driven less than 5,000 miles in the year prior to inspection are eligible for an exempt sticker.
New vehicles, not previously titled and not driven more than 5,000 miles prior to first registration are eligible for an exempt sticker.
Vehicles exceeding 9,000 pounds; motorcycles, street rods, antiques,
collectibles, classics; and diesel-powered vehicles not included in the
In most cases, you can get a one-year waiver if you have spent at least $150 on emissions-related repairs.
In some cases, you may be required to spend more if the needed repair, such as replacing a catalytic converter, is the only reasonable way to bring a vehicle up to standard for its model year.
The station that originally conducted your inspection will provide a
free re-inspection (within 30 days of the original inspection) after emissions-related
If Your Car Just Failed An Emissions Test... You May Be Entitled To Free Repairs.
If your 1981 or later model year car or light truck just failed an approved
emissions test; and
Your State or local government requires that you repair the car; and
The test failure did not result from misuse of the vehicle or a failure to follow the manufacturer's written maintenance instructions; and
You present the vehicle to a warranty-authorized manufacturer representative, along with evidence of the emissions test failure, during the relevant warranty period; then...
...For the first 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first, the manufacturer must pay for all repairs necessary to pass the emissions test and...
...For the first 5 years or 50,000 miles (8 years or 80,000 miles for 1995 and newer vehicles), the manufacturer must pay for all repairs to primary emission control parts (only the catalytic converter, the electronic Control Unit and the On-board Diagnostic Device for 1995 and newer vehicles) which are necessary to pass the emissions test (1995 and newer vehicles have slightly different warranty coverage time/mileage/parts limitations.
Emissions control warranties protect you, the vehicle owner, from the cost of repairs for some emission related failures that are beyond your control. Manufacturers are required by Federal law to provide broad emission warranty coverage for vehicles that are less than 5 years old and have been operated for less than 50,000 miles (8 years/80,000 miles for 1995 and newer vehicles). As a resident of an area with an Inspection/Maintenance program that meets Federal guidelines, you may be eligible for a special form of the protection called the Emissions Performance Warranty.
The Environmental Protection Agency has designed this Performance Warranty pamphlet to help you save money-whether you passed or failed your Inspection/Maintenance test this year. This will help you determine if you are eligible for Performance Warranty coverage. Next, we will explain which repairs the warranty will cover, which ones it will not, and how to make a warranty claim. We will also show you how to lower your fuel and maintenance bills, while protecting against repair costs from a future I/M test failure.
The first thing you should know is that there are two emission control warranties, the "Design and Defect Warranty" and the "Performance Warranty." The Design and Defect Warranty covers the repair of certain emission control related parts which become defective during the first 5 years or 50,000 miles of vehicle use (8 years/80,000 for 1995 and newer vehicles). The Performance Warranty, described in this pamphlet, covers repairs which are required because the vehicle failed an emission test. You should know that even if you don't qualify for coverage under the Performance Warranty, you may still qualify under the Design and Defect Warranty.
Ask your local Inspection/Maintenance program or write the EPA for a copy of the pamphlet "What You Should Know About Your Auto Emissions Warranty," which describes the Design and Defect Warranty in detail. (1995 and newer vehicles have slightly different warranty coverage time/mileage/parts limitations.)
What Vehicles Are covered by the Performance Warranty?
The Performance Warranty covers cars and light duty trucks beginning with the 1981 model year. However, for vehicles that are specifically equipped for operation at high altitude (over 4000 feet), coverage begins with the 1982 model year.
Does the Performance Warranty Apply to Used Cars?
Yes. It does not matter if you bought your car new or used, from a dealer or anyone else. As long as your vehicle has not exceeded the warranty time or mileage limitations and has been properly maintained, this warranty applies.
What Repairs Are Covered?
There are two categories of coverage under the Performance Warranty, and they depend on the age of your vehicle.
Any repair or adjustment which is necessary to make your vehicle pass
an approved locally required emissions test is covered if your vehicle
is less than 2 years old and less than 24,000 miles. [Coverage for 1995
and newer vehicles is limited to the catalytic converter(s), the Electronic
Control Unit (ECU) and the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) device (or computer),
although coverage for these parts is 8 years or 80,000 miles.]
Any repair or adjustment of a primary emission control part which is necessary to make your vehicle pass an approved locally required emission test is covered if your vehicle is less than 5 years old and has less than 50,000 miles.
Although coverage is limited after 2 yrs./24,000 miles to primary emission control parts (or certain parts for 1995 or newer vehicles), repairs must still be complete and effective. If the complete and effective repair of a primary part requires that non-primary parts be repaired or adjusted, these repairs are also covered if they are not maintenance items normally requiring repair.
Primary Emission Control Parts
Examples of parts installed for the primary purpose of controlling vehicle emissions.
Evaporative Emission Control System
fuel filter cap
vapor storage canister and filter
Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) System
Air Injection System
diverter, bypass or gulp valve
anti-backfire or deceleration valve
Early Fuel Evaporative (EFE) System
thermal vacuum switch
Fuel Metering System
electronic control module or computer command module
fuel injectors, fuel injection units and fuel injection bars developed for feedback EFI or TBI systems
EFI air flow meter, module or mixture control unit
mixture settings on sealed carburetors
mixture control solenoid, diaphragm or other fuel metering components that achieve closed-loop operation
altitude compensator sensor
other feedback control sensors, switches and valves
thermostatic air cleaner
electronic spark valves
high energy electronic ignition
timing advance/retard systems
Hoses, gaskets, brackets, claims, and other accessories used in the above systems.
What If the Dealer Claims that my Vehicle Can Pass the I/M Test without Repair?
The law does not require that you fail every I/M test in order to trigger the warranty. If a valid test shows that you have an emissions problem, you should get it fixed, while your vehicle is still within the warranty period. Otherwise, you might fail a future test because of the same problem - and have to pay for the repair yourself. If you doubt your original test results or the dealer's results, you can always get another opinion from your I/M program to support your claim.
What Reasons Can The Manufacturer Use to Deny a Claim?
If your car is within the age or mileage limits explained above, the manufacturer can only deny Performance Warranty coverage if you have failed to properly maintain and use your car. Proper use and maintenance of the vehicle are your responsibilities. The manufacturer may deny your claim if the evidence shows that your I/M test failure resulted from:
vehicle abuse such as off-road driving or overloading; or
tampering with emission control parts, including removal or intentional damage; or
improper maintenance, including failure to follow maintenance schedules and
instructions, or use of replacement parts which are not equivalent to the originally installed part; or
misfueling: the use of leaded fuel in a vehicle requiring "unleaded fuel only" or use of other improper fuels.
If any of the above have taken place, and seem likely to have caused the particular problem which you seek to have repaired, then the manufacturer can deny coverage.
If your claim is denied for a valid reason, you may have to pay the costs of the diagnosis. Therefore, you should always ask for an estimate for the diagnosis before work starts.
Are Dealers the Only Facilities Allowed to Perform Scheduled Maintenance
Recommended by the Manufacturer?
No. Scheduled maintenance may be performed by anyone who has the knowledge and ability to perform the repair. For your protection, you should use your owner's manual to specify the necessary items to your mechanic. In addition, you should obtain an itemized receipt or work order for your records.
You may also maintain the car yourself, as long as the maintenance is performed according to the manufacturer's instructions provided with the car. However, you should keep receipts for parts and a maintenance log to verify your work.
(Note: While maintenance can be performed by any qualified person, the manufacturer's representative must be given the opportunity to diagnose and repair items expected to be covered under warranty.)
Why Is Maintenance Important to Emission Control?
Emission control has led to many changes in engine design. As a result, cars don't require tune-ups and other maintenance as often. But some of the maintenance that is required allows your emission controls to do their job. For example, failure to change your spark plugs during a 30,000-mile tune-up can lead to misfiring and eventually damage to your catalytic converter and an expensive repair.
Well-maintained and non-tampered vehicles don't just pollute less, they get better gas mileage, and that saves you money. Regular maintenance can also give you better performance and catch engine problems early, before they get serious - and costly. Also, pay attention to your dashboard warning lights and gauges which are to notify you of problems before serious damage occurs.
How Do I Make a Performance Warranty Claim?
Bring your vehicle to a dealer or any other facility authorized by the manufacturer to perform warranty repairs to the vehicle or its emission control system. Notify them that you wish to obtain a repair under the Performance Warranty. You should have with you a copy of your I/M test report as proof of your emissions test failure. Also, bring this "fact sheet" and your vehicle's warranty statement for reference. The warranty statement can be found in your owner's manual or in a separate booklet provided by the manufacturer with the vehicle.
How Will I Know If My Claim Has Been Accepted as Valid?
After you present your vehicle for a Performance Warranty claim, the manufacturer has 30 days to either repair the vehicle or notify you that the claim has been denied. If your I/M program imposes a shorter repair deadline for repair, the manufacturer must meet that shorter deadline. Because of the significance of these deadlines you should get written verification when you present your vehicle for a Performance Warranty claim.
A manufacturer may accept your claim and repair the vehicle. On the other hand, the manufacturer may deny the claim outright, or deny it after examining the vehicle. In either case, the reason for a denial must be provided in writing with the notification.
What Happens if the Manufacturer Misses the Deadline for a Written Claim
You may agree to extend the deadline, or it will be automatically extended if the delay was beyond the control of the manufacturer. Otherwise, a missed deadline means the manufacturer forfeits the right to deny the claim. You may then have the repair performed at a facility of your choice, at the manufacturers expense.
If My Claim Is Accepted, Will I Have to Pay for Either the Diagnosis
You cannot be charged for any costs for diagnosis of a valid warranty claim. In addition, when a manufacturer repairs, replaces or adjusts any part under the Performance Warranty, you may not be charged for any parts, labor or miscellaneous items that are necessary to complete the repair. Of course, if your vehicle needs other repairs that are not covered by your emissions warranty, you may have that work performed at any facility you choose.
Why Might My Warranty Be Affected if I Have Used Leaded Gasoline?
When leaded gas is used in vehicles requiring unleaded, some emission controls (particularly the catalyst) are rapidly deactivated. Lead deposits will also form inside the engine, which can decrease spark plug life and increase maintenance costs. If the use of leaded fuel leads to an emissions test failure, your warranty will not cover the repair cost. In other words, use of leaded fuel can ruin your emission controls while costing you money.
May I Have my Regular Repair Facility Perform Warranty Repairs?
If you plan to have the manufacturer pay for a repair under the Performance Warranty, you must bring the vehicle to a facility authorized by the vehicle manufacturer to repair either the vehicle or its emission control systems. Note that if your regular facility is not an authorized one, you should instruct your mechanic to get your "go ahead" before performing any repair that might be covered by the Performance Warranty.
Do I Have to Provide Receipts or a Maintenance Log When I Make a Performance
You are not automatically required to show maintenance receipts when you make a warranty claim. However, if the manufacturer has reason to believe your failure to perform scheduled maintenance has caused your emissions failure, you may be required to show your receipts or log as proof that the work was in fact performed.
If I Buy A Used Car, How Do I Know Whether It Has Been Maintained According
To the Manufacturer's Schedule?
When you purchase a used vehicle, obtain the maintenance receipts or log book from the previous owner. You should also ask the seller for the owner's manual, warranty or maintenance booklet, and any other information that came with the vehicle when it was new. If the seller does not have these documents, you can obtain them from the manufacturer.
In order to guarantee future warranty protection for your vehicle, you should continue to conform to the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer.
Does the Warranty Cover Parts That Need Replacement Under Scheduled
Parts with a scheduled replacement interval that is less than the length of the warranty, such as "replace at 15,000 miles or 12 months" are warranted up to the first replacement point only. Parts with a maintenance instruction that requires them to be "checked and replaced if necessary," or any similar requirement, receive full coverage under the warranty. Note, though, that if you fail to check a part when you are instructed to and that part causes another part to fail, the second part will not be covered because your malmaintenance caused the failure.
The manufacturer may not require that these replacement parts be a specific brand. However, the manufacturer may deny your warranty claim if your I/M test failure was caused by the use of a part which was not of equal quality to the original equipment part.
What Do I Do If the Manufacturer Will Not Honor a Performance Warranty
Claim that I Believe Is Valid?
First, use the information here to make your case to the dealer. Then, follow the appeals procedure outlined in your vehicle's warranty statement or owner's manual. Every manufacturer employs warranty representatives who handle such appeals.
Remember that the manufacturer must either allow your claim or give you a written denial, including specific reasons for denying your claim, within 30 days or you are entitled to free repairs.
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to investigate the failure of manufacturers to comply with the terms of this warranty. If you have followed the manufacturer's procedures, have received a written denial and remain dissatisfied with the reason for the denial, you may submit a letter to EPA providing details of the situation, a copy of the denial, and copies of any receipts for emissions control repairs you have paid for to:
Warranty Complaint (6405J)
Field Operations and Support Division (6406J)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460
You are also entitled to pursue any independent legal actions you consider appropriate to obtain coverage under the Performance Warranty.
What If It Turns Out I Really Don't Qualify for Performance Warranty
There is another emissions warranty, called the Design and Defect Warranty, which provides additional protection to many vehicle owners who may not qualify for Performance Warranty coverage. To obtain information on the Defect and Design Warranty, you may write to the above listed EPA address, or ask your inspection program personnel. In addition, some manufacturers now provide extended coverage for engine components under their regular vehicle warranties. Check your owner's manual or warranty booklet to see if you qualify for this coverage.
If you fail your I/M test use this pamphlet and your vehicle's warranty statement to determine if you qualify for Performance Warranty coverage.
If a covered part causes an I/M test failure present a warranty claim to an authorized warranty representative. If you feel your warranty claim is valid but the manufacturer denies the claim follow the appeals procedures in your owner's manual.
If you still are not satisfied with the manufacturer's decision you
are encouraged to contact EPA at the above address. Even if you pass your
I/M test use and maintain your vehicle properly to ensure continued warranty
Federally required emission control warranties protect you, the vehicle owner, from the cost of repairs for certain emission related failures that result from manufacturer defects in materials and workmanship or that cause your vehicle to exceed federal emission standards.
Manufacturers have been required by federal law to provide emission control coverage for vehicles since 1972. There are two federal emission control warranties discussed in this fact sheet: (A) "Performance Warranty" and (B) "Design and Defect Warranty". This fact sheet explains each warranty in detail, provides you with a list of some of the parts covered under these warranties, explains the procedures for making an emissions warranty claim, and answers some of the most commonly asked questions about emissions warranties. Finally, we will give you some tips on how to prevent future emission-related failures and maintain the longevity of your vehicle's engine.
A. Performance Warranty
The Performance Warranty covers repairs which are required during the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of vehicle use because the vehicle failed an emission test. Specified major emission control components are covered for the first 8 years or 80,000 miles. If you are a resident of an area with an Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) program that meets federal guidelines, you are eligible for this warranty protection provided that:
Your car or light-duty truck fails an approved emissions test; and
Your vehicle is less than 2 years old and has less than 24,000 miles (up to 8 years/80,000 miles for certain components); and
Your state or local government requires that you repair the vehicle; and
The test failure does not result from misuse of the vehicle or a failure to follow the manufacturers' written maintenance instructions; and
You present the vehicle to a warranty-authorized manufacturer representative, along with evidence of the emission test failure, during the warranty period.
During the first 2 years/24,000 miles, the Performance Warranty covers any repair or adjustment which is necessary to make your vehicle pass an approved, locally-required emission test and as long as your vehicle has not exceeded the warranty time or mileage limitations and has been properly maintained according to the manufacturer's specifications.
B. Design and Defect Warranty
The Design and Defect Warranty covers repair of emission related parts which become defective during the warranty period. The Design and Defect warranty for model year 1995 and newer light-duty cars and trucks is outlined below.
Design and Defect Warranty Coverage for 1995 and newer light-duty vehicles:
Emission control and emission related parts are covered for the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of vehicle use; and
Specified major emission control components are covered for the first 8 years or80,000 miles of vehicle use.
According to federal law, an emission control or emission related part, or a specified major emission control component, that fails because of a defect in materials or workmanship, must be repaired or replaced by the vehicle manufacturer free of charge as long as the vehicle has not exceeded the warranty time or mileage limitations for the failed part.
Design and Defect Warranty coverage may vary depending on the type of vehicle you have (e.g., heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles or recreational vehicles have different time and mileage requirements). To determine the length of warranty coverage that applies to your vehicle, look for the emissions warranty information in your owner's manual or warranty booklet. If you own a California vehicle, you may be entitled to additional warranty coverage.
The owner's manual or warranty booklet will also provide you with guidance on the procedures for obtaining warranty coverage. If you have questions about the emissions warranties on your vehicle or need help in filing a warranty claim, contact your local car dealer or the manufacturer's zone or regional representative listed in your owner's manual or warranty booklet.
What Emission Control and Emission Related Parts Are Covered by The
Design and Defect Warranty?
An emission control part is any part installed with the primary purpose of controlling emissions. An emission related part is any part that has an effect on emissions. Listed below are some examples of parts or systems which fall under these definitions. A more complete list can be found in your owner's manual/warranty booklet. If any of the parts listed below fail to function or function improperly because of a defect in materials or workmanship, causing your vehicle to exceed federal emission standards, they should be repaired or replaced under the emissions warranty if your vehicle is less than 2 years old and has been driven less than 24,000 miles. One manufacturer may use more parts than another, so the following list is not complete for all vehicles.
Emission Control Parts
Exhaust Gas Conversion Systems
dual-walled exhaust pipe
Exhaust Gas Recirculation System
thermal vacuum switch
EGR spacer plate
EGR backpressure transducer
Sensor and switches used to control EGR flow
Evaporative Emission Control System
fuel filler cap
vapor storage canister and filter
Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) System
Air Injection System
diverter, bypass, or gulp valve
anti-backfire or deceleration valve
Early Fuel Evaporative (EFE) System
thermal vacuum switch
heat riser valve
Fuel Metering System
electronic control module (unit) or EFI air flow meter, module
computer command module or mixture control unit
deceleration controls, electronic choke fuel injectors, fuel injection units and fuel altitude compensator sensor
bars or rails for EFI or TBI systems mixture settings on sealed fuel mixture control solenoid, diaphragm or other systems
fuel metering components that achieve closed
other feedback control sensors
loop operation switches and valves
Air Induction System
thermostatically controlled air cleaner air box
electronic spark advance timing advance/retard systems
high energy electronic ignition
hoses, gaskets, brackets, clamps and other accessories used in the above systems
Emission Related Parts
These are examples of other parts of your vehicle which have a primary purpose other than emissions control but which nevertheless have significant effects on your vehicle's emissions. If any of these parts fail to function or function improperly, your vehicle's emissions may exceed federal standards. Therefore, when any of the parts of the following systems are defective in materials or workmanship and have failed in a way that would be likely to cause your vehicle's emissions to exceed federal standards, they should be repaired or replaced under the emissions warranty:
Fuel Injection System
Air Induction System
ignition wires and coil
hoses, gaskets, brackets, clamps, and other accessories used in the above systems.
What Are Specified Major Emission Control Components?
There are three specified major emission control components, covered for the first 8 years or 80,000 miles of vehicle use on 1995 and newer vehicles:
The electronic emissions control unit or computer (ECU).
The onboard emissions diagnostic device or computer (OBD).
Catalytic converters are critical emission control components that have been installed on most cars and trucks manufactured since 1975. Since engines don't burn fuel completely during the combustion process, the exhaust contains a significant amount of harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen. The catalytic converter aids the conversion of these pollutants to less harmful substances such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen, and oxygen before the exhaust is expelled into the environment.
The electronic emissions control unit or computer monitors certain powertrain functions and controls various operating parameters to help the vehicle run efficiently and with the lowest possible emissions. Ignition, transmission function, air injection, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), engine operating temperature and fuel system parameters are some of the systems monitored and/or controlled by the electronic emissions control unit.
The onboard emissions diagnostic device monitors the operation of a vehicle's emission control system and alerts the driver with a dashboard light when malfunctions occur. The system will record where the problem is occurring and assist automotive technicians in diagnosing and repairing emission control malfunctions. Since some emission control malfunctions do not have an adverse effect on vehicle performance, they can go undetected by the driver for quite some time. The onboard diagnostic device will help catch malfunctions early, preventing a significant output of harmful exhaust emissions from your vehicle, and possibly in time to be covered by the emissions control warranty. Often this "device" is part of the electronic control unit mentioned above.
In the future, there may be other parts or components that qualify for this coverage. Check your owner's manual or warranty book for possible additional coverage.
How Long Do the Emissions Warranties Apply to Individual Parts of My
For 1995 and newer model year vehicles, emission control and emission related parts are warranted for the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of vehicle use. Specified major emission-control components are warranted for the first 8 years or 80,000 miles of vehicle use.
Parts with a stated replacement interval, such as, "replace at 15,000 miles or 12 months," are warranted up to the first replacement point only.
How Do I Know Whether I Am Entitled to Coverage Under the Emissions
If you or a qualified automotive technician can show that an emission control or emission related component, or a specified major, emission-control component, is defective, the repair or replacement of the part is probably covered under the Design and Defect warranty. If your vehicle failed a federally approved emissions test and has not exceeded the time and mileage limitations for the Performance warranty, any repairs or adjustments necessary for your vehicle to pass should be covered by the manufacturer if the failure was not caused by improper maintenance or abuse. When you believe you have identified a defective part, or your vehicle fails an emissions test, you should follow the procedures for making a warranty claim as identified by the manufacturer in your owner's manual or warranty booklet. When taking your vehicle in to have repairs performed under the Performance Warranty, be sure to have with you a copy of the I/M test report as proof of your emissions test failure.
May I Have My Regular Repair Facility Perform Warranty Repairs?
If you plan to have the manufacturer pay for a repair under either of the emissions warranties, you must take the vehicle to a facility authorized by the vehicle manufacturer for repair to give them the opportunity to diagnose and repair it. Note that if your regular repair facility is not authorized by the vehicle manufacturer, they are not obligated to advise you of parts that are covered under warranty. Before giving your automotive technician the "go ahead" to perform repairs, check your owner's manual/warranty booklet for possible warranty coverage.
Do the Emissions Warranties Apply to Used Vehicles?
Yes. It does not matter if you bought your vehicle new or used from a dealer or anyone else. As long as the vehicle has not exceeded the warranty time or mileage limitations, these warranties apply.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before buying a used vehicle, be sure that all of the emission control components as originally installed by the manufacturer are present and functioning properly. If emission control components are missing or have been tampered with, or the configuration of the exhaust system has been changed, the emissions warranties on this vehicle may be void. In addition, if you live in an area with an I/M program, the vehicle will probably not pass inspection and you will incur the expense of parts or repairs necessary for the vehicle to pass.
Can Any Portion of An Emissions Warranty Repair Be Charged to Me?
If you have valid warranty claim, you cannot be charged for any costs associated with the diagnosis or repair of the problem, including labor charges, parts, or miscellaneous items that are necessary to complete the repair. For example, if a manufacturer agrees to replace a catalytic converter under the emissions warranty, you should not be charged for the diagnosis of the bad converter, or any pipes, brackets, adjustments, or labor needed to complete the replacement.
What Reasons Can the Manufacturer Use to Deny a Warranty Claim?
If your vehicle is within the age and mileage limits for the applicable emissions warranty, the manufacturer can only deny coverage if evidence shows that you have failed to properly maintain and use your vehicle, causing the part or emission test failure. Some examples of misuse and malmaintenance include the following:
vehicle abuse such as off-road driving or overloading; or tampering
with emission control parts or systems, including removal or intentional
damage of such parts or systems; or
improper maintenance, including failure to follow maintenance schedules and instructions specified by manufacturer, or use of replacement parts which are not equivalent to the originally installed parts.
What Should I Do If My First Attempt to Obtain Warranty Coverage Is Denied?
If your first attempt to receive emissions warranty coverage is denied, you should do the following:
Ask for a detailed explanation, in writing as to why emissions warranty
coverage was denied; and
Ask for the name(s) of the person(s) involved in the decision to deny coverage, including anyone from the manufacturer's regional or zone office; and
Ask for the name(s) of the person(s) with the manufacturer you should contact to appeal the denial of coverage under the emissions warranty.
Contact and, if necessary, write to the person mentioned above requesting coverage and giving the basis for your request. Repeat and continue the appeal process until you are satisfied or have exhausted all means of appeal.
What If the Dealer Claims That My Vehicle Can Pass the I/M Test Without Repair?
The law does not require that you fail every I/M test in order to trigger the warranty. If a valid test shows that you have an emission problem or there is a defective part, you should get it fixed, while your vehicle is still within the warranty period. Otherwise, you might fail a future test because of the same problem and have to pay for the repair yourself. If you doubt your original test results or the dealer's results or diagnosis, you can always get another opinion from another dealer or your I/M program.
How Can Maintenance Affect My Emission Warranty Coverage?
Performance and the cost of scheduled maintenance are your responsibility. You may either perform scheduled maintenance yourself or have a qualified repair facility perform it for you.
If a part fails as a direct result of your vehicle not being properly maintained or being used in a manner inconsistent with the manufacturer's recommendations, or a part fails as a result of the vehicle being involved in an accident, the manufacturer may not be required to repair or replace the failed part under warranty. For example, failure to replace the spark plugs at the intervals specified in the maintenance schedule can lead to misfiring and eventual damage to your catalytic converter - a very expensive part to replace. If the maintenance is not performed properly as recommended, the manufacturer may deny warranty coverage.
To ensure maximum air pollution reduction from the emission control system, as well as to ensure continued warranty coverage, better gas mileage and performance, and longer vehicle life, you should have all maintenance performed as recommended by the manufacturer's schedule. A list of scheduled maintenance for your vehicle can be found in the owner's manual or warranty booklet.
Do I Have to Show Any Maintenance Receipts Before I Can Make an Emissions
No. Proof of maintenance is not required in order to obtain coverage under the emissions warranty if an emission control or emission related component, or a specified major emission control component, is found to be defective in materials or workmanship. However, when it is likely that the lack of proper maintenance has caused the particular part to fail, you may be asked to show that scheduled maintenance was performed.
If you perform scheduled maintenance yourself, you should keep a detailed log of work performed and any receipts for parts purchased to perform the maintenance. In some instances, you may be asked to qualify your ability to perform such maintenance. Vehicles should always be maintained according to manufacturers' specifications.
Are Dealers the Only Persons Allowed to Perform Scheduled Maintenance
Recommended by the Manufacturer?
No. Scheduled maintenance may be performed by anyone who has the knowledge and ability to perform the maintenance and repair. You may even maintain the vehicle yourself, as long as the maintenance is performed according to the manufacturer's instructions provided with the vehicle.
For your protection, before taking your vehicle to a repair facility to have any maintenance performed, check your maintenance booklet and make a list of the scheduled maintenance to be performed at that time. We suggest that you present this list to your auto technician as opposed to merely asking for a "tune-up" or a "12,000 miles servicing." Your receipt should list all the maintenance performed and should be kept for your records.
If you maintain the vehicle yourself, you should keep receipts for parts and a maintenance log to verify your work.
If I Need Replacement Parts, Must I Use the Vehicle Manufacturer's Parts
No. A manufacturer cannot require the use of any specific brand of parts in the maintenance of your vehicle. However, the manufacturer can require you to use parts that are of equal quality to the original parts.
If I Buy a Used Vehicle, How Do I Know Whether It Has Been Maintained
According to The Maintenance Schedule?
The best way to learn whether the vehicle has been maintained according to its schedule is to ask the seller for receipts proving that all of the scheduled maintenance was performed. Having the receipts on hand will provide necessary evidence if the question of maintenance arises when considering repairs under warranty. To prevent any loss of your vehicle's emission performance, you should continue to follow the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual or warranty booklet.
If the seller does not have the owner's manual, warranty booklet or maintenance schedule, you can obtain them from the manufacturer.
How Will I Know If My Claim Has Been Accepted As Valid?
After you present your vehicle for a Performance Warranty claim, the manufacturer has 30 days to either repair the vehicle or notify you in writing that the claim has been denied. If you are making a Performance Warranty claim and your I/M program imposes a shorter repair deadline, the manufacturer must meet the deadline. Because of the significance of these deadlines, you should get written verification from the dealer showing that they acknowledge the date by which repairs must be made.
There are no specific requirements for Defect Warranty claims, however, manufacturer responses should be made within a reasonable time period.
What Happens If the Manufacturer Does Not Respond to My Performance
Warranty Claim Within the 30-Day Deadline?
You may agree to extend the deadline, or it will be automatically extended if the delay was beyond the control of the manufacturer. Otherwise, a missed deadline means the manufacturer forfeits the right to deny the claim. You may then have the repair performed at a facility of your choice, at the manufacturer's expense. (This requirement only applies to Performance Warranty claims.)
What Do I Do If the Manufacturer Will Not Honor What I Believe to Be
a Valid Emissions Warranty Claim?
If you believe the manufacturer has not honored a valid claim and your vehicle has not exceeded the time and mileage limitations, you should contact an authorized warranty representative and follow the procedures outlined in your owner's manual or warranty booklet. If the authorized dealer denies your warranty claim, contact the manufacturer's regional or zone office for further assistance. If you are still not satisfied, follow the appeals procedure outlined in your manual or warranty booklet.
Of course, you are entitled to pursue any independent legal actions you consider appropriate to obtain coverage under the emissions warranties. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized to investigate the failure of manufacturers to comply with the terms of these warranties. If you have followed the manufacturer's procedures (including those for appeals) for making a warranty claim as set out in your owner's manual or warranty booklet, have received a written denial and you are not satisfied with the manufacturer's determination, you may submit a letter to EPA at the following address. It should provide details of the situation including the basis for the claim, a copy of the written denial, copies of your letters to the manufacturers, and copies of any receipts for emission control parts and repairs you have paid for:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Vehicle Programs & Compliance Division (6405J)
Attn: Warranty Complaints
401 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20460
Other sources of assistance may be your local or State consumer protection agency or office of the Attorney General. You also should be aware that low-cost or free legal assistance may be available through a local legal aid office, the State bar association, or a law school clinic staffed by law students.
If an emission control or emission related part, or a specified major emission control component is defective, or if your vehicle fails an I/M test, and your vehicle is within the time and mileage limitations for emissions warranty coverage present a warranty claim to an authorized warranty representative.
If your warranty claim is denied ask for the reason for denial, in writing. Follow the appeal procedures in your owner's manual.
If you are not satisfied with the manufacturer's decision contact the EPA, which will investigate the denial of a valid emissions warranty complaint.
Keep This With Your Vehicle for Future Reference.