Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 12. EQUIPMENT OF VEHICLES [24000 - 28160]

  ( Division 12 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 5. Other Equipment [27000 - 28160]

  ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

ARTICLE 2. Exhaust Systems [27150 - 27159]
  ( Article 2 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

27150.
  

(a) Every motor vehicle subject to registration shall at all times be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise, and no muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass, or similar device.

(b) Except as provided in Division 16.5 (commencing with Section 38000) with respect to off-highway motor vehicles subject to identification, every passenger vehicle operated off the highways shall at all times be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained so as to meet the requirements of Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 27200), and no muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass, or similar device.

(c) The provisions of subdivision (b) shall not be applicable to passenger vehicles being operated off the highways in an organized racing or competitive event conducted under the auspices of a recognized sanctioning body or by permit issued by the local governmental authority having jurisdiction.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 558.)

27150.1.
  

No person engaged in a business that involves the selling of motor vehicle exhaust systems, or parts thereof, including, but not limited to, mufflers, shall offer for sale, sell, or install, a motor vehicle exhaust system, or part thereof, including, but not limited to, a muffler, unless it meets the regulations and standards applicable pursuant to this article. Motor vehicle exhaust systems or parts thereof include, but are not limited to, nonoriginal exhaust equipment.

A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 569, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2003.)

27150.2.
  

(a) Stations providing referee functions pursuant to Section 44036 of the Health and Safety Code shall provide for the testing of vehicular exhaust systems and the issuance of certificates of compliance only for those vehicles that have received a citation for a violation of Section 27150 or 27151.

(b) A certificate of compliance for a vehicular exhaust system shall be issued pursuant to subdivision (a) if the vehicle complies with Sections 27150 and 27151. Exhaust systems installed on motor vehicles, other than motorcycles, with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of less than 6,000 pounds comply with Sections 27150 and 27151 if they emit no more than 95 dbA when tested in accordance with Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J1169 May 1998.

(c) An exhaust system certificate of compliance issued pursuant to subdivision (a) shall identify, to the extent possible, the make, model, year, license number, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle tested, and the make and model of the exhaust system installed on the vehicle.

(d) The station shall charge a fee for the exhaust system certificate of compliance issued pursuant to subdivision (a). The fee charged shall be calculated to recover the costs incurred by the Department of Consumer Affairs to implement this section. The fees charged by the station shall be deposited in the Vehicle Inspection and Repair Fund established by Section 44062 of the Health and Safety Code.

(e) Vehicular exhaust systems are exempt from the requirements of Sections 27150 and 27151 if compliance with those sections, or the regulations adopted pursuant thereto, would cause an unreasonable hardship without resulting in a sufficient corresponding benefit with respect to noise level control.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 569, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2003.)

27150.3.
  

(a) A person may not modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle with a whistle-tip.

(b) A person may not operate a motor vehicle if that vehicle’s exhaust system is modified in violation of subdivision (a).

(c) A person may not engage in the business of installing a whistle-tip onto a motor vehicle’s exhaust system.

(d) For purposes of subdivisions (a) and (c), a “whistle-tip” is a device that is applied to, or is a modification of, a motor vehicle’s exhaust pipe for the sole purpose of creating a high-pitched or shrieking noise when the motor vehicle is operated.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 432, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2004.)

27150.5.
  

Any person holding a retail seller’s permit who sells or installs an exhaust system, or part thereof, including, but not limited to, a muffler, in violation of Section 27150.1 or 27150.2 or the regulations adopted pursuant thereto, shall thereafter be required to install an exhaust system, or part thereof, including, but not limited to, a muffler, which is in compliance with such regulations upon demand of the purchaser or registered owner of the vehicle concerned, or to reimburse the purchaser or registered owner for the expense of replacement and installation of an exhaust system, or part thereof, including, but not limited to, a muffler, which is in compliance, at the election of such purchaser or registered owner.

(Added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1769.)

27150.7.
  

A court may dismiss any action in which a person is prosecuted for operating a vehicle in violation of Section 27150 or 27151 if a certificate of compliance has been issued by a station pursuant to Section 27150.2, or if the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe that the exhaust system was in good working order and had reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle was not operated in violation of Section 27150 or 27151.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 569, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2003.)

27151.
  

(a) No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of the vehicle so that the vehicle is not in compliance with the provisions of Section 27150 or exceeds the noise limits established for the type of vehicle in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 27200). No person shall operate a motor vehicle with an exhaust system so modified.

(b) For the purposes of exhaust systems installed on motor vehicles with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of less than 6,000 pounds, other than motorcycles, a sound level of 95 dbA or less, when tested in accordance with Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J1169 May 1998, complies with this section. Motor vehicle exhaust systems or parts thereof include, but are not limited to, nonoriginal exhaust equipment.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 92, Sec. 10. Effective January 1, 2002.)

27152.
  

The exhaust gases from a motor vehicle shall not be directed to the side of the vehicle between 2 feet and 11 feet above the ground.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

27153.
  

No motor vehicle shall be operated in a manner resulting in the escape of excessive smoke, flame, gas, oil, or fuel residue.

The provisions of this section apply to motor vehicles of the United States or its agencies, to the extent authorized by federal law.

(Amended by Stats. 1971, Ch. 739.)

27153.5.
  

(a) No motor vehicle first sold or registered as a new motor vehicle on or after January 1, 1971, shall discharge into the atmosphere at elevation of less than 4,000 feet any air contaminant for a period of more than 10 seconds which is:

(1) As dark or darker in shade as that designated as No. 1 on the Ringelmann Chart, as published by the United States Bureau of Mines, or

(2) Of such opacity as to obscure an observer’s view to a degree equal to or greater than does smoke described in paragraph (1) of this subdivision.

(b) No motor vehicle first sold or registered prior to January 1, 1971, shall discharge into the atmosphere at elevation of less than 4,000 feet any air contaminant for a period of more than 10 seconds which is:

(1) As dark or darker in shade than that designated as No. 2 on the Ringelmann Chart, as published by the United States Bureau of Mines, or

(2) Of such opacity as to obscure an observer’s view to a degree equal to or greater than does smoke described in paragraph (1) of this subdivision.

(c) The provisions of this section apply to motor vehicles of the United States or its agencies, to the extent authorized by federal law.

(Amended by Stats. 1973, Ch. 216.)

27154.
  

The cab of any motor vehicle shall be reasonably tight against the penetration of gases and fumes from the engine or exhaust system. The exhaust system, including the manifold, muffler, and exhaust pipes shall be so constructed as to be capable of being maintained and shall be maintained in a reasonably gastight condition.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

27154.1.
  

(a) The flooring in all motor vehicles shall be substantially constructed, free of unnecessary holes and openings and shall be maintained so as to minimize the entrance of fumes, exhaust gases, or fire.

(b) Floors shall not be permeated with oil or other substances likely to cause injury to persons using the floor as a traction surface.

(Added by Stats. 2015, Ch. 451, Sec. 54. (SB 491) Effective January 1, 2016.)

27155.
  

No motor vehicle shall be operated or parked upon any highway unless the filling spout for the fuel tank is closed by a cap or cover of noncombustible material.

(Amended by Stats. 1965, Ch. 453.)

27156.
  

(a) No person shall operate or leave standing upon a highway a motor vehicle that is a gross polluter, as defined in Section 39032.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) No person shall operate or leave standing upon a highway a motor vehicle that is required to be equipped with a motor vehicle pollution control device under Part 5 (commencing with Section 43000) of Division 26 of the Health and Safety Code or any other certified motor vehicle pollution control device required by any other state law or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to that law, or required to be equipped with a motor vehicle pollution control device pursuant to the National Emission Standards Act (42 U.S.C. Secs. 7521 to 7550, inclusive) and the standards and regulations adopted pursuant to that federal act, unless the motor vehicle is equipped with the required motor vehicle pollution control device that is correctly installed and in operating condition. No person shall disconnect, modify, or alter any such required device.

(c) No person shall install, sell, offer for sale, or advertise any device, apparatus, or mechanism intended for use with, or as a part of, a required motor vehicle pollution control device or system that alters or modifies the original design or performance of the motor vehicle pollution control device or system.

(d) If the court finds that a person has willfully violated this section, the court shall impose the maximum fine that may be imposed in the case, and no part of the fine may be suspended.

(e) “Willfully,” as used in this section, has the same meaning as the meaning of that word prescribed in Section 7 of the Penal Code.

(f) No person shall operate a vehicle after notice by a traffic officer that the vehicle is not equipped with the required certified motor vehicle pollution control device correctly installed in operating condition, except as may be necessary to return the vehicle to the residence or place of business of the owner or driver or to a garage, until the vehicle has been properly equipped with such a device.

(g) The notice to appear issued or complaint filed for a violation of this section shall require that the person to whom the notice to appear is issued, or against whom the complaint is filed, produce proof of correction pursuant to Section 40150 or proof of exemption pursuant to Section 4000.1 or 4000.2.

(h) This section shall not apply to an alteration, modification, or modifying device, apparatus, or mechanism found by resolution of the State Air Resources Board to do either of the following:

(1) Not to reduce the effectiveness of a required motor vehicle pollution control device.

(2) To result in emissions from the modified or altered vehicle that are at levels that comply with existing state or federal standards for that model-year of the vehicle being modified or converted.

(i) Aftermarket and performance parts with valid State Air Resources Board Executive Orders may be sold and installed concurrent with a motorcycle’s transfer to an ultimate purchaser.

(j) This section applies to motor vehicles of the United States or its agencies, to the extent authorized by federal law.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 325, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)

27156.1.
  

The installation, prior to January 1, 1974, of an auxiliary gasoline fuel tank for use on a 1973 or earlier model year motor vehicle, which vehicle is required, pursuant to Part 5 (commencing with Section 43000) of Division 26 of the Health and Safety Code or the National Emission Standards Act (42 U.S.C., Secs. 1857f-1 to 1857f-7, inclusive), to be equipped with a fuel system evaporative loss control device, shall not be deemed a violation of Section 27156 of this code. As used in this section, the term “auxiliary gasoline fuel tank,” has the same meaning as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 43834 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Amended by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957.)

27156.2.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any publicly owned authorized emergency vehicle operated by a peace officer, as defined in Section 830 of the Penal Code, any authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165 and used for fighting fires or responding to emergency fire calls pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) or pursuant to subdivision (c) or (d) of that section, and any publicly owned authorized emergency vehicle used by an emergency medical technician-paramedic, as defined in Section 1797.84 of the Health and Safety Code, is exempt from requirements imposed pursuant to California law and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto for motor vehicle pollution control devices.

(Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 595, Sec. 1.)

27156.3.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any motor vehicle of mosquito abatement, vector control, or pest abatement districts or agencies, any authorized emergency vehicle as defined in Section 165, except subdivision (f) thereof, and any ambulance used by a private entity under contract with a public agency, is exempt from requirements imposed pursuant to California law and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto for motor vehicle pollution control devices.

(Added by renumbering Section 27156.2 (as added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 669) by Stats. 1982, Ch. 466, Sec. 116.)

27157.
  

The State Air Resources Board, after consultation with, and pursuant to the recommendations of, the commissioner, shall adopt such reasonable regulations as it determines are necessary for the public health and safety regarding the maximum allowable emissions of pollutants from vehicles upon a highway. Such regulations shall apply only to vehicles required by Part 5 (commencing with Section 43000) of Division 26 of the Health and Safety Code or any federal law or regulation to be equipped with devices or systems to control emission of pollutants from the exhaust and shall not be stricter than the emission standards required of that model year motor vehicle when first manufactured.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 373.)

27157.5.
  

The State Air Resources Board, after consultation with, and pursuant to the recommendations of, the commissioner, shall adopt such reasonable standards as it determines are necessary for the public health and safety for the emission of air pollutants from the exhaust of motor vehicles of 1955 through 1965 model years. These standards shall be based on the normal emissions of such cars when the timing and carburetor are in proper adjustment and the spark plugs are in proper operating condition.

(Added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1095.)

27158.
  

After notice by a traffic officer that a vehicle does not comply with any regulation adopted pursuant to Section 27157, no person shall operate, and no owner shall permit the operation of, such vehicle for more than 30 days thereafter unless a certificate of compliance has been issued for such vehicle in accordance with the provisions of Section 9889.18 of the Business and Professions Code or unless the department has checked the vehicle and determined that the vehicle has been made to comply with such regulation adopted pursuant to Section 27157. A certificate of compliance issued for such vehicle shall, for a period of one year from date of issue, constitute proof of compliance with any regulations adopted pursuant to Section 27157 provided that no required pollution control device has been disconnected, modified, or altered or has been adjusted by other than a licensed installer in a licensed motor vehicle pollution control device installation and inspection station subsequent to the issuance of the certificate of compliance. The provisions of this section shall apply to the United States and its agencies to the extent authorized by federal law.

(Amended by Stats. 1974, Ch. 769.)

27158.5.
  

After notice by a traffic officer that a motor vehicle does not comply with any standard adopted pursuant to Section 27157.5, no person shall operate, and no owner shall permit the operation of, such motor vehicle for more than 30 days thereafter unless a certificate of compliance has been issued for such vehicle in accordance with the provisions of Section 9889.18 of the Business and Professions Code or unless the department has checked the vehicle and determined that the vehicle has been made to comply with such standard adopted pursuant to Section 27157.5. A certificate of compliance issued for such vehicle shall, for a period of one year from date of issue, constitute proof of compliance with the standards determined pursuant to Section 27157.5.

(Amended by Stats. 1974, Ch. 769.)

27159.
  

Any uniformed member of the California Highway Patrol may order a vehicle stored when it is located within the territorial limits in which the member may act if requested by a representative of the State Air Resources Board to remove the vehicle from service pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 44011.6 of the Health and Safety Code. All towing and storage fees for a vehicle removed under this section shall be paid by the owner.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1433, Sec. 24.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH2