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BAR News Release: Clunker Cars Repurposed in the Classroom

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has issued a news release on the new Cars for Schools program. The program provides retired vehicles to public high schools, community colleges, and regional occupation programs, offering students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience under the hood. Read the news release to learn more.

January 28, 2020
To: All Members
From: Johan Gallo
Subject: BAR Advisory Recap – January 23, 2020

Good day, we attended our first BAR Advisory for 2020 and we had a full agenda followed by a workshop with Allan Morrison with the Department of Food & Agriculture’s Division of Weights and Measures Enforcement on Automatic Transmission Fluids and Fluid Additives.

First Agenda Item: - Welcome and Introductions – Chief Dorais – No handout was given

Chief Dorais opened the meeting and introduced his staff noting that Dough Ballatti has retired and they will be working with the Governor’s office to see whom the Governor wants to appoint to the vacant position. Chief Dorais also noted they still need to fill the position of Deputy Chief of Enforcement which became vacant when Tim Corcoran returned to the DMV for a new position. He then introduced the New Director for the Department of Consumer Affairs and his new boss.

Second Agenda Item: - DCA News and Updates – Director of Consumer Affairs – No handout was given

DCA Director Kim Kirchmeyer gave us a brief background on her experience at DCA and various board and bureaus that spans 30 years. She outlined her three priorities and knows there will be more to follow. Her three priorities are as follows:

1)      Client services must be a focus to improve the internal and external customers they serve from the board and bureaus to the external stakeholders and license and registration holders to be sure their needs are met.

2)      Foster a team environment the encourages teamwork and a collaboration throughout the department.

3)      Streamline the application process and information gathering to stop the duplicative actions that exist today.

Her main focus beyond the three priorities will be to explore ways to expediate the formulation and passage of regulations, because the current timeline for getting new or revised regulations in place takes too long. The director has formed a new department whose sole responsibility will be to move regulations faster which include a share point system the takes the regulation through the entire process with “flags” that appear on someone’s system when it’s their turn to review the regulation and move it to the next phase. This should expedite the process and move regulations through more efficiently.

She’s working on the Vis Cal Reports and Financial processes to improve transparency and improve timelines for when and how things get done. They will also ensure the department is ADA compliant, including their website. Another focal point will be to see that legislation implemented and passed is being followed and implemented and not ignored. She will review how cases and managed in an effort to move the cases along and ensure that some past “process” such as running 3 undercover vehicles is eliminated and reduced to just one. She has already engineered a process to improve efficiencies and to analyze processes and procedures to ensure the “new” programs and processes are followed. DCA has already centralize the Legal Affairs Department to improve workful and efficiencies.

There were comments about possibly bringing back the Notice of Violations (N.O.V. Program) to create an interim step between a station report and the potential for license probation or suspension.

Third Agenda Item – 2019 -2020 Program Updates – See handout for more detail.

2019 -2020 Program Updates from the various department managers and supervisors.

Gary Goodman covered the information that’s in the handout material and a key takeaway was they are improving their ability to trace OEM software hacks on emission systems with the exception of Subaru and Ford F-150 Trucks as well as a few other high profile fraudulent smog check that fit the pattern. They are working on a biometric system for the Smog Check Equipment that will stop the amount of fraudulent smog checks that are being done. The biometric system may include a palm print to access it.

Field Enforcement reviewed the consumer complaints for 2019 and they received 13,050 complaints for a total of 36,085 shops, in short that amounts to less than a half a complaint per ARD per year. Our argument has been that when you compare the number of complaints to the number of transactions, we’re doing far better than anyone gives the automotive repair industry credit for. Our example at the BAR Advisory meeting was that if you look at an ARD shop that is open 6 days a week that 312 days a year. If they see 30 cars per day (which is very conservative when some dealerships see well over 200 cars per day) That’s 9,360 cars per year. Now multiply the 9,360 cars the average shop sees per year times 36,085 ARD shops, that’s a total of 337,755,600 cars serviced per year and the same number of transactions per year. When you compare the number of total transactions 337,755,600 to 13,050 complaints, it’s insignificant.

When you turn to page 15 in this handout, you will see Michelle Wolken is working on the inhouse training for the staff, which is clearly needed given the number of retirements etc. There was a point made that BAR training shouldn’t just be internal but external to the repair shops.

There will be other processes and programs put in place to expedite the licensing process, move case reviews forward with Share Point so that everyone sees what’s out there and how they can complete their portion and then more it to the next person.  

Fourth Agenda Item – Legislation and Regulation – See handout and note key dates for 2020.

The Legislation and Regulation Handout covers the bills in more detail and it’s important to note a few bills we’ve been tracking such as AB 1263 Consumer Complaints (Low), AB 755 California Tire Fee (Holden) and are being worked. AB 210 Smog Check Exemption is being replaced with another bill in 2020 and is being pushed by SEMA and car enthusiasts to exempt 1983 and older vehicles. This will be a bill many repair shops would oppose because it impacts the smog check volume. AB 390 Exhaust Noise Violations is attempting to shift the current program back to “fix it” tickets for loud exhausts.

The Regulatory Proposals are on page 7 of that handout with details included and we plan to watch what they are doing to improve the efficiency and timeliness for processing new ARD Applications. The Laws and Regulations Training is also something else we will be working and tracking/

5 Agenda Item – Vehicle Inspection Program Presentation from Auto Care Association. – See handout.

CalABC is in support of the Auto Care Association seeking funding to do a study on the feasibility of running a statewide vehicle inspection program to determine is such a program is warranted and who would get the authority to run the program. We know in the past (Early 60s to early 70s) it was the CHP that ran the roadside inspections and they aren’t looking to take on that program again. It will have to be another agency to run it.

5 Agenda Item – Vehicle Inspection Program Presentation from Auto Care Association. – See handout. – Continued

Auto Care Association was asked to get more detail on the states who currently run a safety program, who manages their program etc. Molodanof brought up the concerns over salvage vehicles being bought back into service. Gallo suggested that BAR should look at how the old state run Smog Check program was run and if they could do something similar for the Vehicle Inspection Program, where the state provides oversight for the program and they inspect the cars and then provide drivers with a list of shops authorized to do the repair. That would be a simple solution.

6 Agenda Item – Automotive Repair Dealer Inspection System (ARDIS) – See handout.

This is detailed in Jack’s report below and is a software-based solution that replaces a stand-alone system that was built in 1990s.

7 Agenda Item – Enforcement Statistics Update – See handout.

This is a handy report when you compare your internal complaints to the external complaints that went to BAR because it pinpoints training opportunities with your technicians to avoid repeating the same complaints with adequate training. It’s clear on page 2 of the report the Engine Repair and Engine Performance is still the highest complaint generator at 34% followed by General Repair and Maintenance. More details are provided in the report.

8 Agenda Item – Public Comment

During the Public Comment period, I again mentioned that CalABC wants to work with BAR in developing a Cite and Fine program that works, even if it means codifying the Notices of Violations Program and bringing it back so that site inspectors had the option of the Station Inspection – Notices of Violations Program (for the more serious and egregious cases) and the Actions by the Attorney General that could lead to probation of the suspension of the Automotive Repair Dealers License.


Afternoon Workshop Session with Allan Morrison from the Department of Food and Agriculture – Weights & Measures Division.

Morrison went through the explanation that his staff is limited and currently when they find an error in the testing of the various fluids to determine whether the problem occurred at the end user, supplier or manufacturer’s level with the fluids before they invoke a citation and fine. The goal for the workshop it to begin the drafting of a regulation that everyone can work through and live with. Molodanof has more details in his summary of the workshop and we will work to obtain a copy of the presentation since none was available at the meeting.

As in the past, Jack Molodanof, our lobbyist has summarized his notes of the meeting and workshop and they are on the following pages.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, suggestions or additions you feel need to be in the report.

Below is a summary of my notes from the BAR Advisory Group meeting and workshop held on January 23, 2020 in Sacramento. 

1) DCA News and Updates.  The new DCA Director, Kim Kirchmeyer provided a summary of her goals including focusing on having regulations move faster and streamlining the time frame for licensee investigations.

2) 2019-20 Program Updates.  BAR managers and supervisors provided an update of accomplishments re: programs for the year and goals for 2020. Some the highlights included: performing 13,461 roadside inspections, replacing 68 vehicles in BAR fleet with 57 Plug-In Hybrid vehicles and 11 Hydrogen vehicle to meet ZEV goals; the CAP program retired 52,556 and repaired 2,450 vehicles; developed program for schools to acquire retired cars for teaching; implemented permanent DTCs for smog check; transitioned BAR-97 to internet connectivity; handled 13,050 consumer complaints, issued 794 smog citations; filed 384 administrative cases; continued to provide in-house technical and training for program representatives; completed the Cal-VISTA project; redesigned BAR website.  Goals for 2020 include continue modernization of licensing processes, developing requirements for smog check stations to use biometrics including handprints instead of passwords and to update DAD specifications. The presentation will be posted on website. See link. https://www.bar.ca.gov/About_BAR/BAR_Advisory_Group.aspx

3) Legislation and Regulations update.   Two years bills pending:  AB 161 (Electronic Receipts); AB 210 (Smog Exemption); AB 390 (Violations for muffler noise); AB 755 (Tire Tax);  AB 1263 (Consumer Complaints); AB 1359 (Towing); AB 1616 (Expunged Convictions); SB 59 (Automated Vehicle Technology); SB 460 (Biennial Registration). Regulations: Rehabilitation Criteria for licensure; Laws/Regulations training; STAR Program clean up; Smog Check Repair Assistance; Licensing applications; Smog Check Training Providers; Brake Lamp Stations and Adjusters updates. For more information contact Lucy Sarkisyan or Holly O'Conner at Lusine.Sarkisyan@dca.ca.gov or Holly.Oconner@dca.ca.gov.

4) Vehicle Safety Inspection Presentation.  Thomas Tucker of Auto Care Association (ACA) provided an excellent summary of vehicle safety inspection programs in the united states and how the data shows that safety inspection programs save lives. The inspections ensure that all cars on the road adhere to a "minimum safety standard". There are currently about 15 states that have safety inspection programs. Some of these states have introduced legislation to eliminate the programs however they have all failed. Vehicle defects is a major contributor to accidents/fatalities, average age of vehicles is increasing, deferred maintenance is another contributor factor to failures. Technology is advancing rapidly (e.g. ADAS) and proper calibrations not taking place. ACA is requesting that California support funding request to conduct a state study on the safety and economic benefits of a vehicle inspection program in California. The presentation will be posted on BAR website. Tom Tucker email: tom.tucker@autocare.org

5) Automotive Repair Dealer Inspection System (ARDIS) Presentation.  This project was created to replace the antiquated gas audit software created in the 1990's. The ARDIS used by gas audits and fleets staff to perform gas audits will generate required documents including station reports and integrated DocuSign functionality. According to BAR this will make the process faster, better and cheaper.  BAR is planning to expand this system to field operations and other areas within BAR.  For more information contact Gary Goodwin at Gary.Goodwin@dca.ca.gov

6) Enforcement Statistics Update. Consumer Complaints to BAR are as follows: Engine Repair/Performance 34%; General Repair Maintenance 18%; Auto Body 15%; Transmission 8%; Smog 6%; Used Car Transactions 4%; Vehicle Warranty 3%; Unlicensed Activity 4%.  For more information contact: Bill Thomas at Bill.Thomas@dca.ca.gov

All presentations will be posted on website at https://www.bar.ca.gov/About_BAR/BAR_Advisory_Group.aspx

Next BAR Advisory Group meeting is Thursday, April 23, 2020.


 The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) - Division of Measurements Standards along with BAR held a workshop after the BAG meeting to discuss regulatory concepts related to specifications for transmission fluids.  Repair facilities rely on representations made by the producers/distributors and information on the product labels.  According to CDFA, producers and additive suppliers developing products make claims of meeting OEM performance requirements but are failing to meet the requirements.  One of the CDFA ideas is to require all producers to provide CDFA with the data/testing (blueprint) supporting claims made on the product labels.  CDFA will begin drafting regulations.  We will continue to work with CDFA on these new regulations. The CDFA presentation will be posted on the BAR website.  For more information contact Allan Morrison at Allan.morrison@cdfa.ca.gov


Johan Gallo
Executive Director 



Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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