Many states have incorporated the OBD testing method as part of the vehicle emissions inspection for '96-and-newer vehicles. These OBD tests replace tailpipe tests by identifying emissions problems through information stored in the vehicle's on-board computer system. Some states have even proposed only testing vehicles with the OBD test, limiting the vehicles that need to be tested to those manufactured in 1996 and later. The I/M 240 is an enhanced emissions testing program, with 240 representing the number of seconds that the tailpipe portion of the test lasts. I/M 240 tests require visual inspection of emissions control devices, an evaporative emissions test, and a transient drive-cycle exhaust emissions test, performed while the vehicle is running on rollers. Many state programs mistakenly fail vehicles in the visual test based on the presence of aftermarket engine products or force older collector vehicles to undergo some type of testing.

Policy makers must properly focus inspection procedures and not confuse legitimate aftermarket parts with emission defeat devices and tampering violations. The hobby must also pursue proactive legislative initiatives to establish exemptions from inspections for low-mileage vehicles, classic vehicles (defined as 25 years old and older), and newer vehicles. It is useful to remind legislators that the emissions from this small portion of the vehicle fleet are negligible. This is especially true when you consider the low miles typically driven by hobby vehicles and the excellent condition in which these vehicles are maintained.

Equipment Standards And Inspections
The federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the right to set, enforce, and investigate safety standards for new motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. These Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) are performance-based. They do not dictate design elements. For example, the federal lighting standard prescribes the photometric requirements for a headlamp but doesn't dictate shape or size.

The FMVSS covers basic types of equipment (tires, rims, headlamps/taillamps, brake hoses) and establishes vehicle crashworthiness requirements (front and side impact, roof crush resistance, fuel system integrity).

Emissions and emissions-related parts are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and various state agencies, primarily the California Air Resources Board (CARB). For products sold in California (and states that have adopted the California standards), manufacturers must conform to standards issued by CARB.

Federal law prohibits states from issuing motor vehicle safety regulations that conflict with federal standards. However, states are free to enact and enforce safety and equipment regulations that are identical to the FMVSS or, in the absence of a federal rule, establish their own laws and regulations. The most frequent examples of individual state rules cover parts like "optional" or "accessory" lighting equipment, noise levels for exhaust and stereo systems, suspension height, and window tinting. States also establish rules on how a vehicle is titled and registered. State and local jurisdictions have the authority to regulate inoperable vehicles or determine whether an enthusiast is engaged in a business versus private activity. State and local law enforcement officials issue tickets and inspect cars.

State laws have evolved over many generations and they continue to change. Some laws are better than others, and there is a constant need to remind state policy makers not to be biased in favor of the vehicle's original equipment, such as lighting, tires and wheels, suspension components, and bumper/frame height. For example, some state laws allow motorists to be ticketed when an officer has made a subjective noise level determination that the exhaust system is "louder than what came with the car". Opposing arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive equipment and inspection laws is a constant challenge.