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California law allows the limited use of used engines from vehicles first sold in Japan when the engine is used strictly as a "replacement part". In order to qualify as a replacement part, an engine from a vehicle first sold in Japan must:

  • Be functionally identical to the original vehicle engine
  • Be clearly identified as identical to the specific application* it is sold for. Listing must be in a public accessible website or printed catalog published by the importer or distributor
  • Allow the installation of any California-specific emission control equipment
  • Not included any components or modifications that are not part of the original California Certified vehicle
  • Not cause any OBD system failure, cause the Check Engine indicator to light, or prevent the system from operating (OBD readiness check)

* Application is specific vehicle year, make, model, engine size and Engine Family Number or Test Group

Important Notes

Non-USA engines, including engines originally sold in Japan CANNOT be used perform any engine change.

Use of Non-USA engines not meeting the requirements for "Replacement Parts" are subject to laboratory testing requirements for direct import vehicles. This process typically exceeds the value of most vehicles.

Distributors or importers of non-USA specification engines must verify any questions of legality prior to retail sale in California. Distributors are fully responsible for any engines sold that are later determined not to be Identical replacement parts.

Any vehicle registered in California may be converted to a 100% electric drive, as long as all power is supplied by on-board batteries. All combustion and fuel system components must be removed prior to inspection by a California Bureau of Automotive Repairs Referee station. The vehicle must arrive at the inspection site under its own power, and the referee will also visually inspect to ensure that the vehicle has adequate battery storage capacity for 100% electric operation. Once the inspection is complete, the referee will sign a DMV "statement of Facts" form so that the vehicle can be registered as an EV and removed from the periodic smog inspection program. The statement of fact form is returned to the California department of motor vehicles. To schedule an appointment with California Bureau of Automotive Repairs Referee station, please call (800) 622-7733.


Individually converted vehicles do not qualify for any incentive programs for Certified Zero Emissions Vehicles, including HOV stickers. 

At this time, conversion to 100% electric power does not replace requirements for Direct Import or non-USA vehicle compliance laboratory testing. These requirements apply to vehicles originally sold outside the United States and the required modification and testing typically exceeds the value of the vehicle to complete.

BAR's California Engine Change Policy


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