California Bureau of Automotive Repair

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Bureau of Automotive Repair
California Bureau of Automotive Repair logo 1.png
California Bureau of Automotive Repair Rancho Cordova.jpg
BAR headquarters in Rancho Cordova
Bureau overview
Formed 1972
Jurisdiction California
Headquarters Rancho Cordova, California
Employees 594
Bureau executive
  • Patrick Dorais, Bureau Chief
Parent department California Department of Consumer Affairs

The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) is a division of the California Department of Consumer Affairs that enforces the Automotive Repair Act and associated regulations and administers the California Smog Check Program.[1][2]


The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) was established within the California Department of Consumer Affairs in 1972 with the enactment of the Automotive Repair Act.[3] The act mandated a statewide automotive repair consumer protection program, including the requirement that automotive repair dealers (ARDs) be registered and regulated by BAR. The act also gave BAR the authority to license and regulate official stations and mechanics in the areas of lamp, brake, and smog device inspection and repair. The act protects consumers by requiring all ARD's, including lamp, brake, and smog stations, to provide written estimates, to obtain written work authorization from their customers prior to commencing any repair services, and to provide customers with itemized invoices that detail the parts provided and the labor performed. The act requires BAR to mediate complaints, investigate violations, and take action against ARDs or brake and lamp stations and technicians that fail to comply with the act or associated regulations. BAR pursues these same consumer protections against licensed or unlicensed individuals.

In 1984, BAR also implemented a biennial Smog Check Program, also known as the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program, pursuant to authority granted by Senate Bill 33 of 1982 (SB 33).[4] SB 33 authorized BAR to implement, maintain, and enforce the Smog Check Program, which licenses Smog Check stations and technicians to reduce air pollution from vehicles through mandatory testing of vehicle emission control components. Smog Check stations must also be registered as ARDs to ensure that consumers receive protection associated with vehicle repairs. In addition, BAR ensures that the equipment used to perform Smog Check inspections and the inspections performed at Smog Check stations by Smog Check Inspectors or Technicians will achieve reductions in vehicle emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen. Recently, BAR's authority to protect consumers subject to the Smog Check Program was enhanced by Assembly Bill 2289 of 2010 (AB 2289).[5] AB 2289 authorizes BAR to certify high performing Smog Check stations and technicians as STAR certified, which allows them to inspect and repair vehicles that are likely to be high polluters. Shortly after implementation, BAR was recognized for outstanding environmental achievements in government for the STAR Program and was named one of the 2013 Best of California Award winners and received The Green IT Award. AB 2289 further increased the citation amounts for program violations by stations and technicians.

In addition to consumer protection functions, including licensing and enforcement, BAR administers the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP). CAP provides income eligible consumers whose vehicle fails a biennial Smog Check up to $500 in emissions-related repairs. CAP will also compensate consumers up to $1,500 for the voluntary retirement of an eligible vehicle that has failed its Smog Check. In 2010, CAP began administration of the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP), which was created by Assembly Bill 118 of 2007 (AB 118).[6] EFMP offers eligible consumers up to $1,500 in compensation to voluntarily retire an eligible vehicle regardless of Smog Check history. In the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air districts, EFMP also offers consumers who volunteer to retire their vehicle a voucher worth up to $2,500 toward the purchase of a newer, cleaner vehicle in a program administered by the Air Resources Board.


BAR is headed by a Chief, who is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. The Chief serves at the pleasure of the Governor and under the direction and supervision of the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs. BAR actively seeks the advice of consumers, educators, the automotive and Smog Check industries, and other governmental agencies through the formation of two voluntary ad hoc advisory groups – the BAR Advisory Group (BAG) and the Educational Advisory Committee.

Smog Check Operations, Engineering, Research, Administration

  • Technology Services Branch
  • Engineering and Research Branch
  • Consumer Assistance Program
  • Licensing Program & Administration Branch

Field operations & Enforcement Division

  • Field operations & Enforcement Division (Northern California Region)
  • Field operations & Enforcement Division (Southern California Region)
  • Field operations & Enforcement Division (Enforcement Planning & Oversight)
  • Forensic Documentation Program

List of bureau chiefs[edit]

  • Patrick Dorais (2013-2015)
  • John Wallauch (2012-2013)
  • Sherry Mehl (2007-2012)
  • Richard Ross (2004-2007)
  • Patrick Dorais (2003-2004)


  1. ^ "Bureau of Automotive Repair History and Overview". Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ "About us: DCA Boards/Bureaus". Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ Automotive Repair Act, Senate Bill 51 (SB 51), Chapter 1578, Statutes of 1971; codified at Business and Professions Code, Chapter 20.3, Section 9880, et seq.
  4. ^ Senate Bill 33 (SB 33), Chapter 892, Statutes of 1982; codified at Health and Safety Code, Chapter 5, Section 44000 et seq.
  5. ^ Assembly Bill 2289 (AB 2289), Chapter 258, Statutes of 2010
  6. ^ Assembly Bill 118 (AB 118), Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007

External links[edit]