Editor’s Note: This is a multi-part letter from Attorney William Ferreira, known as one of the top attorneys in California working in cases against the Bureau of Automotive Repair. To read the full letter in PDF format, click here. If you as a Station Owner or as a Technician may be facing a possible action by the Bureau of Automotive Repair whether for a SMOG check problem or a STAR program problem, please reach out for a consultation today.
To: Members of the Emission Testing Community
From: William Ferreira
Re: Epidemic of Simulators in California Smog Check Inspections
Take Action to Protect Yourself
My feeling is you better get that technician taking money or personally using a simulator before you try and take their livelihood. Do some surveillance, send an undercover. I’m tired of seeing technicians with 40 years’ experience dragged into this.
The BAR however, feels different.
I am personally recommending to every shop, every technician, every individual who is in school or thinking of ever performing a smog check inspection to immediately buy a scanner capable of transmitting live data. Plug in and hit the throttle to see live data to make sure the RPM’s fluctuate. This is the current sure fire way to ensure you are plugging into the PCM’s DLC and NOT a Simulator installed.
The current simulators do not hook into live RPM data. I’m sure after reading this they will adjust, but you can look at sensors, etc., If you don’t see live data fluctuation where you should, do some more investigation. If you trace the DLC connector and find the simulator, pull it out.
My advice is to immediately stop the test, call the police, secure the simulator, and call the BAR.
This is probably not the first time they have brought this in. There are likely other tests you have done unknowingly. Once word got out that you didn’t catch it, others will come. The BAR is building a file on you. If you have the simulator, that is the first thing I would put in front of the judge saying I found this, I secured it, called the BAR, called the police, and busted this person. You need to make sure you defend yourself.