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New Aftermarket Catalytic Converter Requirements & Used Catalytic Converter Prohibition

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it legal to sell or install a used catalytic converter after June 1, 2013?

A: No. The sale, offering for sale, advertisement and installation of used converters will be prohibited on all vehicles in New York State effective June 1, 2013. This prohibition does not apply to the sale of used catalytic converters for recycling purposes.

Q: What are the new aftermarket catalytic converter requirements?

A: New York State regulation requires California Air Resources Board (CARB) certified new aftermarket catalytic converters (AMCC) for certain vehicles (see applicable model years below) certified to California or 50 state emission standards. The new CARB-certified AMCCs are required to achieve the same emissions standards to which the vehicle was originally certified. Additionally, the new AMCC will be warranted to be free from defect for a period of 5 years or 50,000 miles (whichever occurs first). The new AMCC must also be compliant with onboard diagnostic (OBD II) systems for 1996 model year and newer vehicles. Lastly, the new AMCC must display a permanent label, stamp, or etching showing the CARB Executive Order approval number, manufacturer part number, manufactured date, and proper direction for installation. AMCC manufacturers will be required to submit warranty information to the Department.

Q: What vehicles are subject to the new aftermarket catalytic converter requirements?

A: Effective June 1, 2013, all catalytic converter replacements for model year 1993, 1994, 1996 and newer vehicles certified by CARB or by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a 50 state vehicle must be either an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement part or a CARB certified new AMCC.

EPA certified AMCCs may still be used on EPA federally certified vehicles.

Q: Is it legal to sell or install an EPA federally certified AMCC after June 1, 2013?

A: The sale, offering for sale, advertisement, and installation of EPA federally certified AMCC will only be allowed on vehicles that have been certified to federal emissions standards, rather than CARB or EPA 50 state emissions. This includes 1995 and pre-1993 model year vehicles. The sale and installation of federally certified AMCC on CARB and EPA 50 state certified vehicles is prohibited, but the Department will not enforce this requirement during the period between June 1 and January 1, 2014. Installers are encouraged to install AMCCs certified by CARB when available.

Q: How do I determine the emissions certification of the vehicle?

A: The vehicle's emissions certification can be found on the vehicle emission control information (VECI) label located in the vehicle's engine compartment. The VECI will include emissions certification, engine family or group, engine displacement, OBD, model year, fuel type, and catalyst information. Sample VECI labels are shown below. The CARB certified and CARB/EPA 50 State certified vehicles (Examples 1-4) are subject to CARB certified AMCC requirements, while the EPA certified vehicle (Example 5) is not.

Example 1 - Sample CARB Certified VECI Label

Image of CARB Certified VECI label

Examples 2, 3, and 4 - Sample CARB/EPA 50 State VECI Labels

Image showing CARB/EPA 50 State VECI labels

Example 5 - Sample EPA Federal Only VECI Label

Image showing EPA Federal Only VECI Label

Q: How do I determine the emissions certification of the vehicle if the VECI label is missing?

A: The vehicle make, model, model year, and engine size information may be used to locate similar vehicles on CARB's searchable AMCC database and determine the appropriate AMCC to be installed on a particular vehicle. The OEM dealer may also be contacted to purchase a replacement VECI label containing the correct test group or engine family information.

Q: When can an AMCC be legally installed?

A: A new AMCC may be installed when the vehicle is beyond its warranty period and a legitimate need for replacement has been established and documented. Most vehicles in New York State are covered under the federal emissions warranty of 8 years or 80,000 miles. A legitimate need for replacement may be established through an annual vehicle inspection performed by a licensed inspection/maintenance (I/M) technician. Non-I/M program related reasons for replacement may include damage resulting from vehicle accidents, cracked or melted substrate, exhaust leaks, or converter malfunctions. Non-I/M program related AMCC replacements must still be established and documented by the installer.

Q: Can a missing catalytic converter on a vehicle still under the warranty period be replaced with an AMCC?

A: No. An OEM catalytic converter must be installed because the vehicle is still under the emissions warranty. AMCC may only be installed on vehicles beyond the warranty period.

Q: How can I tell if the vehicle is still under warranty?

A: By checking the vehicle owner's manual or warranty booklet or contacting an OEM representative. The vehicle's model year and odometer reading can then be compared to the warranty period and covered mileage.

Q: I have determined that my vehicle requires either an OEM replacement catalytic converter or a CARB-certified AMCC. How do I determine the correct AMCC for my vehicle?

A: There are various sources of information for determining the correct new AMCC to install on a vehicle. AMCC manufacturers have hardcopy and electronic versions of their product application guides for both CARB and federal AMCCs. These application guides include the AMCC part number, make, model, model year, and engine displacement. CARB also maintains a website with lists of approved and exempted AMCC. The CARB website is available at www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermktcat/aftermktcat.htm. These lists contain the CARB Executive Order number, AMCC part number, vehicle make, model, model year, and engine displacement. There may be more than one certified AMCC available for your vehicle.

Q: What if a CARB certified AMCC is not available for a particular vehicle model?

A: There may be instances where a CARB certified AMCC is not available. In these limited instances, the only option may be an OEM replacement part.

Q: What if there are no AMCC or OEM replacement options for a particular vehicle?

A: This would occur in those infrequent cases where there are no longer any OEM replacement catalytic converters available (e.g., the Make was discontinued), and none of the AMCC manufacturers has received a CARB Executive Order. The Department anticipates this will be very infrequent. The Department will need to be contacted as a suitable replacement option may exist for a similar vehicle application. Any questions related to compliance with the AMCC standards in Part 218 should be directed to:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Air Resources
Bureau of Mobile Sources
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-3255
Telephone: (518) 402-8292
Email: DARWeb@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Q: Can a repair shop sublet the AMCC replacement to another business?

A: Yes. The replacement can be sublet to another business such as a muffler shop. The sublet business is required to establish and document a need for replacement even if this was done by the original repair shop.

Q: How is a legitimate need for AMCC replacement documented?

A: The installer is required to state the reason for replacement of the existing catalytic converter on the warranty card and also on the repair invoice. If the need for replacement was an I/M inspection failure, the installer should include a copy of the NYVIP Vehicle Inspection Receipt (VIR), repair invoice(s), and any additional documentation along with the warranty card. The vehicle owner or consumer must also sign their name on a statement indicating they understand the reasons for replacement of the catalytic converter.

Q: Are installers required to fill out a warranty card or is the repair invoice sufficient documentation?

A: Installers are required to completely fill out the warranty card in triplicate. The original copy is given to the customer, one copy is kept by the installer, and the last copy is mailed to the AMCC manufacturer.

Q: What is the procedure for filling out the warranty card when the repair shop sublets the AMCC replacement to another business?

A: The warranty card will still be completed in triplicate with one copy to the customer, one copy to the installer, and one copy to the AMCC manufacturer. The repair shop would then make a fourth copy for its records. The repair shop may request the customer to sign the warranty card before the vehicle is sent to the business actually installing the AMCC. The repair shop also has the option of signing a warranty card after the work has been completed by the business installing the AMCC. In this case the repair shop must leave room for the customer to sign the warranty card as well.

Q: How long must the installer retain a copy of the completed warranty card?

A: Installers are required to retain a copy of the completed warranty card for a minimum of 4 years from the date the new AMCC was installed.

Q: What is covered by the emissions warranty?

A: All CARB certified AMCCs are warranted for 5 years or 50,000 miles (whichever occurs first) from defects in workmanship or materials. The warranty covers loss of conversion efficiency, OBD system malfunctions, converter shell and pipe corrosion, and faulty welds that may occur during normal usage. The warranty does not provide coverage for defects due to overfueling, engine misfire, or physical damage caused by road debris or accidents.

Q: What happens if an AMCC designed to meet the previous standards was installed prior to June 1, 2013 but failed after that date and an equivalent replacement in no longer legal for sale and installation? How is the cost difference of upgrading to a compliant AMCC handled?

A: There are two options for honoring the warranty. The AMCC manufacturer or installer could provide a new compliant AMCC at no charge to the consumer. Another option would be to provide a credit to the consumer that could be applied to the purchase of the new compliant AMCC.

Q: What are the warranty reporting requirements for AMCC manufacturers?

A: The warranty reporting requirements in New York are identical to those required in California, with the exception of sales data. AMCC manufacturers will be required to submit data for the AMCC produced for sale in New York in their semi-annual warranty reports. The Department is not requiring AMCC manufacturers to submit quarterly quality control reports at this time.

Q: Are taxi cabs exempt from the new AMCC standards?

A: No.

Q: Why do the CARB-certified AMCCs cost more?

A: The cost of new AMCC is higher compared to a federal or noncompliant AMCC primarily due to the increased catalyst loading required to meet the new standards. This increased purchase price is partially offset by more robust warranty coverage.

Q: Can NYS vehicle owners take their vehicles to a neighboring state (after June 1, 2013) to have noncompliant AMCC installed?

A: This practice is not allowed by 6 NYCRR Part 218, and may be subject to enforcement. Note that while the purchase price of the noncompliant AMCC may be less expensive, they are not required to provide the warranty coverage of CARB-certified AMCCs. Vehicle owners may also encounter problems in being able to pass the annual New York State motor vehicle emissions inspection.

Q: What is the penalty for a violation of the new AMCC standards?

A: The penalty structure for violations of the new AMCC standards incorporated in 6 NYCRR Part 218 are set forth in New York State Environmental Conservation Law §71-2103 and §71-2105. Violations are subject to minimum penalty of $500 for a first violation, and up to $26,000 for each subsequent violation. This penalty structure is identical to the one which is used to enforce new vehicle sales under Part 218. A violation would be each non-compliant converter sold and/or installed. Failure to maintain complete records or submit reports may also result in a violation. The Department periodically conducts audits at facilities to ensure compliance with the requirements of Part 218.

Q: Who is responsible for the violation if a noncompliant AMCC is sold or installed after January 1, 2014?

A: The Department will most likely pursue enforcement against the installer of the noncompliant AMCC. However, Part 218 states "It is unlawful for any person to install, sell, offer for sale, or advertise ..." which would enable the Department to pursue enforcement against any person responsible for the sale and installation of the noncompliant AMCC.

Q: As a vehicle owner, what are my options if my vehicle's catalytic converter needs to be replaced after June 1, 2013?

A: For the subject model year CARB and EPA 50 state certified vehicles, all catalytic converter replacements should be either an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement part or a CARB certified new aftermarket catalytic converter. Federally certified new aftermarket catalytic converters may still be used on vehicles with a federal only certification. Used, salvaged, or recycled catalytic converters cannot be installed after June 1, 2013 on any vehicle.

To allow for a period of transition, DEC will not enforce the prohibition on the installation of EPA certified catalytic converters on CARB and EPA 50 State certified vehicles until January 1, 2014. However, DEC strongly encourages the installation of OEM and CARB certified catalytic converters, which provide greater emission reductions and may have a longer warranty than other catalytic converters.

Q: Is there any way for an AMCC manufacturer to speed up the CARB certification process?

A: CARB has stated that the AMCC certification process typically takes 6-12 months to complete. CARB indicated that manufacturers can aid this process by ensuring that all required emission testing is completed and that all files submitted electronically to CARB are accurate and in the correct XML file format to be entered into CARB's searchable AMCC database.