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State Laws Catalytic Converters

In 1990, after a lengthy period of inactivity, the federal government believed that they should again revise the Clean Air Act due to growing environmental concerns. The Clean Air Act of 1990 addressed five main areas: air-quality standards, motor vehicle emissions and alternative fuels, toxic air pollutants, acid rain, and stratospheric ozone depletion. In many ways, this law set out to strengthen and improve existing regulations.

To any person repairing or installing any exhaust system, the Clean Air Act, as amended 1990, requires that: AFTERMARKET CATALYTIC CONVERTERS MAY ONLY BE INSTALLED IN THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS:

1. If the vehicle is missing a converter; *
2. If a State or local inspection program has determined that the existing converter has been lead-poisoned, damaged, or otherwise rendered ineffective and needs replacement. Retain a copy of this statement from any government inspection or enforcement agency for your records;
3. If the vehicle is over five (5) years old, or has more than 50,000 miles, or eight (8) years old or 80,000 miles for 1995 and newer model vehicles, AND a legitimate need for replacement has been established and documented.* This situation normally would include only plugged converters or those damaged to the point where unrepairable exhaust leaks are present.

Catalytic converters are emission control devices which are designed to last the life of the vehicle and do not normally require replacement. Furthermore, if the vehicle is properly used and maintained, original converters are covered by the emissions control warranty for 5 years/50,000 miles, or 8 years/80,000 miles for 1995 and newer models. Federal law prohibits any person from replacing these devices except under limited circumstances (ABOVE).

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