The SEMA Emissions Compliance Center

SEMA News—August 2016


By Carr Winn

The SEMA Emissions Compliance Center

A Few Minutes With SEMA’s Peter Treydte

  Peter Treydte
Peter Treydte is the manager of the SEMA Compliance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in the performance industry and is an expert at the process required to obtain an Executive Order from the California Air Resources Board.

Peter Treydte is the manager of the SEMA Compliance Center, where his role is to provide a bridge between SEMA members and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Treydte spent more than 20 years working for a member company, where a large portion of his responsibility was making sure that products were emissions-compliant. As a result, Treydte has substantial experience in working with CARB. SEMA News recently spent some time with Treydte, during which he explained the basics of emissions compliance, including products that require testing, first steps and test vehicles, as well as the cost and time for the entire process.

SEMA News: What kinds of products require emissions testing?

Peter Treydte: Generally speaking, when we’re dealing with emissions compliance, we’re dealing with any aftermarket product that will affect air flow through the engine, fuel delivery to the engine, or anything related to the tuning of the engine. Common products that we deal with include cold-air intake systems, exhaust headers, superchargers, turbochargers and tuning devices. Those are representative of the common types of products that we might work with. There are other products for which you need to think about emissions compliance, however, even though they may not be as common. Examples include camshafts, auxiliary fuel tanks and
fuel injectors.

SN: What’s the first step?

PT: Once you know you have a product that is going to require a demonstration of emissions compliance, the traditional method would be to fill out an application for a CARB Executive Order (EO). The reason that the CARB EO process is the go-to method is that it generally satisfies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements for emissions compliance. Obtaining a CARB EO demonstrates that a product is emissions-compliant for vehicles used on public roadways in California and across the country. Even companies that are out of state or outside of the United States can utilize the CARB EO process to ensure that their products are legal for sale in the United States. The CARB EO application will include information about the product and key aspects of the product, descriptions of how the product works and the types of vehicles that it fits.

SEMA Garage
SEMA Chairman of the Board Doug Evans (second right) cut the ribbon last August when the SEMA Compliance Center officially opened. Evans was joined by SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (right), Vice President of OEM and Product Development Programs Mike Spagnola (left) and AVL North America Chairman and CEO Don Manvel.

SEMA has developed an alternative program that is designed to expedite the process with CARB. Rather than submitting your information to CARB, the SEMA Program involves first contacting the SEMA Compliance Center. We will gather product and vehicle application information from you and help with the paperwork process. Rather than submitting the information to CARB and waiting for a response, we can proceed directly to product testing which saves a tremendous amount of time.

When a member company contacts me, one of the first things I’m going to do is ask for information about the product, a basic description, and a list of the vehicles that it fits. That’s going to include year, make, model and engine size. Those are the basic essentials. From there, I can do a bit of research and make some determinations about the next steps.

Once I’ve had a chance to review that information and essentially prepare the application documentation on the SEMA member’s behalf, we’re going to make a determination as to whether that product requires testing in an emissions lab or whether we’ll be able to achieve a CARB EO simply with a sufficient amount of paperwork. In cases where testing is required, SEMA has a CARB-recognized emissions-compliance laboratory for doing tailpipe-emissions testing.

I make a distinction about tailpipe testing because there are really two different types of testing. There’s tailpipe testing, and there’s evaporative testing. The vast majority of the products that SEMA members make require tailpipe testing, not evaporative testing. However, there are rare instances where evaporative testing is required. In those instances, we would refer clients to another laboratory that has that capability.

SN: Does the company need to provide a test vehicle?

PT: The test vehicle will always be very specific based on the list of vehicles that you’ve provided that your product applies to. SEMA has a test fleet of vehicles that may accommodate some of those products. For example, SEMA owns a ’15 EcoBoost Mustang, ’15 V8 Camaro 6.2L and ’15 Jeep Wrangler. Those are all vehicles that we know are commonly used for aftermarket testing. So those are available to our SEMA members for the purpose of testing. In those cases, you wouldn’t need to provide a test vehicle. In other cases, you may need to provide one, or we may take some efforts to find a rental or loaner that can be used for testing purposes. And we are adding to that fleet on a regular basis as we find need for additional vehicles.

Even if we don’t have the vehicle in our fleet, we can often find one locally, so even in those cases, the SEMA member doesn’t have to be in proximity to the lab. The member company can simply send its product to the lab, and we can handle procuring the vehicle, installing the product and then doing the test.

SN: How much does this process cost?

PT: The only cost associated with the SEMA Compliance Center is the actual cost of the testing. There isn’t any fee for filling out CARB paperwork for SEMA members; that’s a free benefit.

  SEMA Garage Emissions
The SEMA Compliance Center features state-of-the-art equipment to conduct tailpipe-testing for emissions compliance. The Center also boasts a test-vehicle fleet that includes a ’15 V8 Camaro.

CARB doesn’t charge anything for submitting an application. The only costs associated are the actual testing costs. Testing can range in price depending on the type of product and how many vehicles you need to test to get EO coverage, but in rough numbers, I tell people that it’s generally going to cost between $3,000–$5,000 to do a round of testing. That round of testing can cover a broad selection of part numbers, depending on the type of product and the vehicle application ranges.

SN: How long will it take?

PT: When you’re doing the application process on your own with CARB and finding a laboratory, test vehicles and going through the process yourself, we’ve heard stories of the whole process taking anywhere from six months to two years. This is due to a number of factors. For instance, it could be that the application was not filled out correctly initially. It could also be a backlog in the time available at emissions labs, or it could be a backlog at CARB.

At the SEMA Compliance Center, we’re operating at a pace of about two months from beginning to end. That is from the time you get your paperwork to me and we start talking through the basics, allowing some time for scheduling in the lab, allowing about a week for the actual testing time, because it takes about a week to complete a round of testing, and then about a month for the paperwork to get through CARB.

SN: Why did SEMA create the Compliance Center?

PT: Performance products are arguably the lifeblood of this industry. Certainly the very first products that the industry was formed around were performance products—camshafts, intake manifolds, carburetors and so forth.

Performance products affect every segment of the sales chain. They don’t just affect the manufacturers of those products; they also affect wholesalers, distributors, retailers, marketing firms and even the media. There are all sorts of ancillary segments of our industry that are affected by the performance-product segment.

SN: How are visitors responding when they tour the facility?

PT: The thing that stands out the most is the professional nature of the lab. It’s a very capable facility with brand-new, state-of-the-art equipment, and we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure that the facility is clean and that SEMA members feel welcome coming here. We’re also very cognizant of those members’ privacy when they are here. We make sure that their product is kept confidential when it is being tested. The results are kept confidential, and the actual product is kept confidential, so when people come to this lab, they know that their privacy is being respected.

SN: Are there any future plans to upgrade or expand the equipment at the SEMA Compliance Center?

PT: We’re constantly looking at what the next upgrades to the lab will be. We currently operate a two-wheel-drive dyno, and we’re able to test only gasoline-powered vehicles. We anticipate the addition of diesel-testing equipment. We also anticipate the addition of a four-wheel-drive dyno and even the possible addition of evaporative emissions-testing equipment. All of these are dependent on the needs of SEMA members. As we progress and as we learn what our SEMA members need in terms of testing, we will add equipment accordingly.

SN: How do people reach the lab?

PT: I encourage people to e-mail me directly at

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