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      07-14-2021, 12:57 AM   #1
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California Smog Check Will Fail ECU Tunes Starting July 19, 2021

Any tune that's not from the factory or CARB-approved will cause your car to fail a smog check starting next Monday. Go to "Smog Check Results" on the BAR Smog FAQ then scroll down to "My vehicle failed a Smog Check for having modified software. What can I do?"
https://www.bar.ca.gov/Consumer/Smog...-check-results

Up until the 19th, smog on modern cars (2000 and up) used to include just a visual inspection and a OBDII check that looks for check engine lights and that basic emissions equipment was functional. There also had to be a certain number of miles driven since the codes were cleared or ECU was flashed (drive cycle) in order to pass. That meant aftermarket tunes, while technically not allowed, would not cause a problem if the rest of the emissions equipment is still stock. Under the new procedure, the OBDII check will fail a car that has a non-approved tune too. Some smog shops are already doing the new check.

As for how this system will work, over the last 10 years the state has created a database for what various ECU values should be in specific cars. Additionally, the Calibration Verification Number (also called checksum) will be compared against what it should be for that car from the manufacturer. Checksums for CARB-legal tunes are whitelisted. It is very difficult, but not impossible, to tune a car without changing the checksum. Any aftermarket tune will change the checksum unless it was designed specifically not to. https://tiremeetsroad.com/2021/07/13...led-smog-test/

I suspect this will be most relevant to N54 and N55 owners, because those cars have reached the age where they must be smogged and tunes are very popular. The earliest S55 and B58 cars will be reaching that age soon.

For many people this means that they will have to flash their car back to stock for at least one drive cycle before getting their smog check. It will be more of an issue for those with highly modified engines that may not run well or actually throw codes on a stock tune.

There are options for CARB-legal flashes, piggybacks, and engine parts for most BMWs but they often cost more than non-approved options. This new change in enforcement will likely make these offerings significantly more attractive.

In terms of shops who were already breaking the law and doing 'hot smogs', it remains to see if they will be able to get around this new system.

If we could please keep discussion completely off politics and have it focused on cars/BMWs I would appreciate it.
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      07-14-2021, 01:03 PM   #2
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Some more articles on this:

https://www.roadandtrack.com/news/a3...g-smog-checks/

https://www.carbibles.com/california...ks-this-month/

Also as a bonus, a website for checking smog history of any car:

https://www.bar.ca.gov/services/Vehicle/PubTstQry.aspx
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      07-14-2021, 01:32 PM   #3
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good news, not a big deal for us S65 owners since our drive cycle takes fucking ages, but i recommend to stock to oem tune at least a month in advance to ensure you don't get flagged, so you get some miles on that drive cycle.
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      07-17-2021, 11:46 AM   #4
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Looks like a CA resident that wants a "stop light grand prix" winner will need to go electric--or a Model S Plaid (lol) for a Canyon carver.
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      07-17-2021, 02:16 PM   #5
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Another reason to say bye bye to CA
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      07-17-2021, 03:21 PM   #6
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Add this to the list of reasons I'm glad I don't live in CA. A few day trip can be fun but I couldn't put up with that state full time
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      07-17-2021, 05:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92inPHX View Post
Add this to the list of reasons I'm glad I don't live in CA. A few day trip can be fun but I couldn't put up with that state full time
No doubt. These legislators are freaking nuts. at this point all I can do is laugh. It’s not like these residents are stuck there like the poor Cubans or North Koreans. I can’t believe anyone would live in that state at this point.
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      07-17-2021, 07:52 PM   #8
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The right to repair includes programming. Base programming for an ECU doesn't mean it's the most efficient. It must account for and adjust for a variety of altitude, humidity, octane, etc. But a tune can be much more efficient... So a "tune" in itself is not indicative of any emission failure or bypass. It's very unfortunate, but hey, that's California, land of "live like we tell you!"

But those that live there elect these morons who enact these laws. So they have nobody to blame but themselves.
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      07-17-2021, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patton250 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by E92inPHX View Post
Add this to the list of reasons I'm glad I don't live in CA. A few day trip can be fun but I couldn't put up with that state full time
No doubt. These legislators are freaking nuts. at this point all I can do is laugh. It’s not like these residents are stuck there like the poor Cubans or North Koreans. I can’t believe anyone would live in that state at this point.
Higher quality of life and a better economy in CA compared to most of the other states in the US is probably what makes it a popular state. Highest GDP and highest GDP per capita among the big states. CA 'per capita' GDP is almost 50% higher than Florida for instance.

So the Cuba and North Korea analogy does not work for CA. Economically it is the most successful state.
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      07-17-2021, 10:51 PM   #10
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For performance/gains/HP+ is cool, but If your ECU tune is what makes the car sound crackle/gun shot pop/fart aloud, then YES.. you fail.
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      07-17-2021, 11:11 PM   #11
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Blame the catless assholes and straight pipes crowd. If it wasn’t so obvious that people were getting around emission regulations then this wouldn’t have been done. You can smell those cars all over, and dieselgate further highlighted the role of software. CARB doesn’t care about your car making more power, it only cares about emissions.
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      07-18-2021, 08:49 AM   #12
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That's California for you
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True cross-continent road trip journal from S. Carolina BMW PCD to Alaska in my new 2021 X7 M50i in this thread HERE!
Wilderness road trip journal to Eastern Alaska in this thread
And road trip journal to Denali and the Arctic Circle here in this thread!
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      07-18-2021, 09:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Blue View Post
That's California for you
Despite all that craziness a state that has managed to create an economy the size of Germany with half the population. Amazing what failure looks like. Right?

From what I can tell, fast growing regions like Austin, TX are more similar to CA in their local policies than their more 'traditional' state brethren areas…
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      07-18-2021, 09:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCX5 View Post
Despite all that craziness a state that has managed to create an economy the size of Germany with half the population. Amazing what failure looks like. Right?

From what I can tell, fast growing regions like Austin, TX are more similar to CA in their local policies than their more 'traditional' state brethren areas…
Not sure what an economy has to do with a nanny state that regulates private life more than any other state in the union. Is smog checking ECU tunes supposed to prop up the economy? Out of respect for the OP, I'll leave it there.
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      07-18-2021, 11:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Blue View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by FCX5 View Post
Despite all that craziness a state that has managed to create an economy the size of Germany with half the population. Amazing what failure looks like. Right?

From what I can tell, fast growing regions like Austin, TX are more similar to CA in their local policies than their more 'traditional' state brethren areas…
Not sure what an economy has to do with a nanny state that regulates private life more than any other state in the union. Is smog checking ECU tunes supposed to prop up the economy? Out of respect for the OP, I'll leave it there.
A system works as a whole. Everything is connected. Some people care about climate, others don't. The least regulated states are also the poorest and have the lowest quality of life. So one needs to see the system as a whole. It is easy to just pick apart things in isolation. Plus, the regulation does not target tuning itself, it is looking at reducing pollution.

Also, I see a lot of people looking down on CA, the fact is that CA is one of the most successful by most measures. That is just a fact. Loved your road trip though…

Ah and the 'most American' cars (Model 3 and Y) are also made in CA. FWIW. As is the most valuable car company in the world….founded and built in CA. Bringing all this up since many here are in awe of Germany, but CA is just as impressive, if not more so. 😉
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      07-18-2021, 08:47 PM   #16
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On a new vehicle in California, the first smog test isn't required until the vehicle is 7 years old.
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      07-19-2021, 10:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCX5 View Post
As is the most valuable car company in the world….founded and built in CA.
And has since moved to Texas due to dissatisfaction with CA...
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      07-19-2021, 02:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobsM3Coupe View Post
On a new vehicle in California, the first smog test isn't required until the vehicle is 7 years old.
Which is ridiculous if they cared about the environment, they are ignoring a large percentage of the tuner community. People buy new cars, flash them/modify them, and sell them at up to 7 years, rinse/repeat.

Whether you agree or disagree with the laws, the laws that legislators write don't affect themselves on purpose. If they were, they wouldn't write them. The laws as written are to appease themselves, their families, and special interest groups/donors.
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      07-19-2021, 02:11 PM   #19
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Virtue signaling nonsense. Just pissing in the wind while China pollutes more than all other industrialized nations combined.
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      07-20-2021, 01:44 PM   #20
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Virtue signaling nonsense. Just pissing in the wind while China pollutes more than all other industrialized nations combined.
Maybe you don't remember what LA smog was like in the 80s?
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      07-20-2021, 01:57 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris719 View Post
Maybe you don't remember what LA smog was like in the 80s?
Here's a classic! 1955

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      07-20-2021, 02:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by chris719 View Post
Maybe you don't remember what LA smog was like in the 80s?
LAX, 1980

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