Smog Check Repairs and the HEROS Program


Remote sensors are placed within a certain air district in California to detect gross polluters, and then incentives are provided to the polluters to get their vehicle repaired or scrapped. Gross polluters are vehicles that emit up to 100 times more pollution than the average vehicle does, either because of tampering with the emissions system or because of poor maintenance. The program was started as a way to supplement the Smog Check program and reduce smog levels in the region.

The HEROS (High Emitter Repair or Scrap) program is intended to help owners who have had a history of Smog Check repairs. The goal is to help owners fix the vehicles, but incentives are provided to scrap the vehicle if repairs are too expensive. Gross polluters are not necessarily very old cars – some are relatively new.

Remote sensors can measure the level of emissions of vehicles at various hidden locations in just a split second, and a video camera captures the license plate information. This information supplements the Smog Check program, because it seems that many cars produce high levels of smog at some point in between their smog checks. This way owners can make the necessary repairs or scrap their cars prior to their next required Smog Check.

As far as the financial incentive goes, the AQMD offers $500 to repair a vehicle or $1000 to scrap it, for example. If you fit into the low-income guidelines, you can receive an additional $1000 to scrap the vehicle and buy a used car that is certified as a Low Emission Vehicle.

Up to ten percent of all vehicles in the AQMD area will be tested by the sensors, and only one to two percent of those vehicles are invited to participate in the HEROS program. The location of the remote sensors are not disclosed. In order to take part in the program, owners must have registered their vehicle in the air district for the past two years, and must be more than three months away from their next required Smog Check.

Again, this program does not replace the Smog Check program – it merely supplements it. The HEROS program is unlike any other program in the country because of its unique use of remote sensors and monetary incentives to owners to reduce emissions. Millions of dollars have been earmarked for the sensing, repairs, and scrapping. The contact number for more information is 1-909-396-3044.