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California exhaust noise bill goes into effect

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 08:00
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California Assembly Bill (A.B.) 1824, which was signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown in June of 2018 went into effect on January 1, 2019. The bill has generated significant concern amongst the online enthusiast community. Despite what is being circulated, enactment of A.B. 1824 does not change existing laws pertaining to exhaust noise or sale and installation of aftermarket exhaust systems.

Under existing law, exhaust systems installed on motor vehicles with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of less than 6,000 pounds, other than motorcycles, may not exceed a sound level of 95-decibels when tested under Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) test procedure J1169 (May 1998). This was not changed by A.B. 1824.

A.B. 1824 amended how excess exhaust noise violations are handled by law enforcement. Beginning this year, a vehicle cited for violating the current exhaust noise law will no longer receive what is known as a “fix-it” ticket. Instead, violations will result in an immediate fine.

Consumers in receipt of a violation still have the option of seeking a certificate of compliance from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) demonstrating that their exhaust emits no more than 95-decibels. This SEMA-sponsored program allows courts to dismiss citations for exhaust systems that have been tested and for which a certificate of compliance has been issued.

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