The Periodic Smoke Inspection Program
The Periodic Smoke Inspection Program was adopted into state law in 1990 to control excessive smoke emissions and tampering in all California-based on-road diesel trucks and buses. With enforcement focused more heavily on the trucking industry, the PSIP was enacted to promote self-inspection of on-road diesel vehicles. While the state allows "self-inspection", there are specific standards that must be met that would likely make it more cost effective for small fleet owners to take the vehicles to a facility (PDF) that offers the PSIP test instead of conducting a "self-inspection."
Owners of on-road diesel vehicles are not required to inspect vehicles that are powered by diesel engines until their fourth model year. For example, 2007 model-year engines must have their first test completed by Jan. 1, 2011. All testing must conform to the Society of Automotive Engineers J1667 snap-acceleration test procedure and all testing must be performed using an SAE J1667 smoke meter.
In October 2010, a number of changes were made that essentially break the PSIP into four different ways to regulate your vehicles depending on the age and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your diesel vehicles. You only need to comply with the one option that applies to your situation. The new changes are listed below in the first two points. If neither of these scenarios applies to you because of the size of your vehicle or where you live, then the third or fourth point (which is the original PSIP program) would apply.
- If you own one or more 1998 and newer diesel powered on-road vehicles garaged in an air quality non-attainment area of the state with a GVWR of 6,001 to 14,000 pounds, you are NOT subject to the requirements of the PSIP any longer. You ARE now subject instead to biennial smog check inspections. You will receive the notification of your smog check requirement through the DMV registration process as you do with your passenger cars. The smog check requirement applies to every diesel vehicle of this size and age while all the other PSIP requirements apply only if you own two or more vehicles that are NOT exclusively for personal use.
- If you own two or more 1998 and newer diesel powered on-road vehicles garaged in an air quality attainment area of the state with a GVWR of 6,001 to 14,000 pounds, you are NOT subject to biennial smog check inspections but you ARE required to have a passing PSIP inspection on a BIENNIAL basis. Vehicles with a VIN ending in an odd number will be tested during years ending with and odd number and vehicles with VINs ending with an even number will be tested during years ending with an even number. By living in a region with cleaner air (air quality attainment area) you only have to have a PSIP test every two years instead of annually.
- If you own two or more 1997 model year or earlier diesel powered on-road vehicles with a GVWR over 6,001 pounds you are still subject to the ANNUAL PSIP inspection and record keeping requirement regardless of where you live. Diesel and bus fleet owners must conduct annual inspections, repair vehicles with excessive smoke emissions and maintain two years of inspection/repair/retest records. Those records could be requested for review during random audits conducted by a representative of the California Air Resources Board.
- If you own two or more diesel powered on-road vehicles with a GWVR greater than 14,001 pounds you are still subject to the ANNUAL PSIP inspection and record keeping regardless of the model year or where you live. Diesel and bus fleet owners must conduct annual inspections, repair vehicles with excessive smoke emissions and maintain two years of inspection/repair/retest records. Those records could be requested for review during random audits conducted by a representative of the California Air Resources Board.
Emission Control Labels Required
All of these diesel truck engines need to be equipped with an "Emission Control Label" that verifies that the engine meets California emission standards. These labels are put on the engines when they are manufactured. If the label is missing or not readable, regulators may impose an additional penalty. An authorized dealer should be able to help replace an engine label if one is needed.
Who is exempt from PSIP?
If you only own one on-road diesel vehicle weighing over 6,001 GVWR then you are exempt from the annual PSIP regardless of your model year or where the vehicle is garaged (where you live). PSIP is required when you own two more on-road diesel vehicles over 6,001 GVWR that are used for non-personal uses.
Example: if you had one on-road diesel vehicle that weighed 7,000 GVWR and you used exclusively for personal use and one on-road diesel vehicle that weighed 26,500 GVWR that is used on the farming operation then neither of these vehicles would need a PSIP. But if you have two diesel vehicles over 6,001 GVWR that are used at any time for non-personal, commercial purposes (i.e. your farming operation) then both vehicles would need an annual PSIP.
Smog Check and PSIP are different programs
Smog check will still be required of every on-road diesel vehicle from 6,001 to 14,000 GVWR that are 1998 or newer after their fourth model year regardless of use that is garaged in a nonattainment area. For example, a 2007 model year would have to be smog checked in 2011. You will be notified through your registration when you need to obtain a smog check.
For more information visit PSIP or the Truck Stop page of the California Air Resources Board for on-road diesel vehicle inspection programs and requirements. Online information includes an instruction manual, self-certification forms and instructions, lists of smoke testing facilities and more. If you have general program questions, contact David Gray at the CARB Sacramento office: (916) 327-9473.