SACRAMENTO – LKQ Corporation, a Chicago-based provider of alternative and specialty automotive parts, has agreed to pay a $294,000 penalty for selling illegal, used diesel particulate (soot) filters, violating California’s Aftermarket Parts and Diesel Particulate Filter Verification Regulations.
It is illegal to sell or install a used diesel soot filter for use in heavy-duty trucks in California. It is also illegal for a business to install one of these filters without being authorized by the filter manufacturer.
In a related case in 2017, West Coast Diesel, a Fresno repair shop caught selling and installing illegal parts, agreed to a settlement that included additional monetary penalties should they violate the terms of the agreement by installing even one diesel particulate filter. Several other Central Valley diesel repair shops are now under investigation for selling and installing illegal filters.
“The sales of illegal diesel particulate filters in California needs to stop, and I hope the actions announced today demonstrate the seriousness of these violations,” said CARB Enforcement Chief Todd Sax. “These companies sold cheap, illegal filters, harvested from other vehicles to unsuspecting truckers.”
Diesel filters in trucks trap soot that causes cancer, and so they are very important to protecting public health. California law requires truck owners to keep their diesel particulate filters in working order and to replace the filter if it is damaged and not working properly. Only CARB -certified filters may be sold, installed, or operated in California. Using an uncertified or improperly installed filter can damage an engine and expose those around the truck to toxic diesel soot.
Today’s announcement sends a critical message to business owners as well as consumers that CARB is actively enforcing the state’s landmark Truck and Bus Regulation, which requires truck owners to clean up their fleets by installing 2010 or newer engines by 2023, as well as its regulations governing the use and sale of diesel filters.
“Truckers need to understand the compliance process and take responsibility for properly maintaining their vehicles, including their soot filters,” said Sax. “We encourage truckers to check our CARB Truckstop website for information. Truckers can also call us at 1 866 6DIESEL and we will explain the requirements and what needs to be done.”
Sax also stressed that truckers need to take responsibility when it comes to choosing a repair shop for vehicle maintenance. These shops should be selling new, CARB-authorized filters, and their personnel should be properly trained by the filter manufacturer on the installation process.
“Truckers should make sure that when installing or replacing their diesel particulate filter that a CARB-approved device is being used,” said Sax. “When shopping for a filter, remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Sax also noted that it may be more cost-effective to buy a newer truck, since putting on a filter only ensures compliance for a couple of years at best, according to the Truck and Bus regulation phase-in schedule. Truckers can call CARB to find out if they might be eligible for loans or other financial incentives to help purchase new or newer equipment.
To settle its case and avoid legal action, LKQ agreed to pay $294,000 to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research and education. In addition, the company updated its website and is no longer selling or advertising used filters for the California market.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and more than 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death, and other health problems.