I went to American Tire and Auto care to get a state inspection on Aug 3rd. After performing the inspection and charging me $69 for it they failed me claiming that my exhaust was too loud. I asked the inspector “Ken” what is the state specified decibel level to pass inspection. He was unaware of it and showed me the book where it said the exhaust must not be significantly louder than a stock exhaust. The inspection book did not mention anywhere that the exhaust has to be stock. I asked Ken that my car is a sports car (Subaru WRX) and it has a boxer engine which is inherently louder than your typical car like camary. So how will you define the exhaust is louder when you dont have a stock WRX/STI beside mine. I told him the only way to determine this is through a sound test. He said they do not have the equipment to do a sound test. I went away from there and got a silencer from my exhaust manufacturer and got that securely installed at the dealer. Then I did some research and found that in New Jersey the law N.J. Stat. 39:3-70 (2002) governs the noise level of a car. The law clearly states that “NO PERSON SHALL MODIFY THE EXHAUST SYSTEM OF A MOTOR VEHICLE IN A MANNER SO THAT THE EXHAUST SYSTEM EMITS IN EXCESS OF NINETY-FIVE DECIBELS AS MEASURED BY THE SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERS (SAE) STANDARD J1169 (May 1998). IT SHALL NOT BE A VIOLATION OF THIS SUBSECTION UNLESS PROVEN BY PROPER AUTHORITIES THAT THE EXHAUST SYTEM MODIFICATION RESULTS IN NOISE AMPLIFICATION IN EXCESS OF NINETY-FIVE DECIBELS UNDER THE PRESCRIBED SAE TEST STANDARD. A COURT MAY DISMISS ANY ACTION FOR WHICH A PERSON IS PROSECUTED FOR OPERATING A VEHICLE IN VIOLATION OF THIS SUBSECTION IF IT IS FOUND THAT THE DEFENDANT HAD REASONABLE GROUNDS TO BELIEVE THAT THE VEHICLE WAS NOT OPERATED IN VIOLATION OF THIS SUBSECTION. ” So I found the test method specified and as per SAE J1169 a sound meter is placed 20 inches from the exhaust outlet at a 45 degree angle and the engine is revved to three quarters of maximum rated horsepower. The highest decibel reading is then recorded. The arithmetic mean of the highest readings is then taken. I also found specs on my car and the maximum HP is attained at 6500rpm. So I had a SAE J1169 run on my car exhaust at 4500rpm (75%). The car clocked between 74-78 db with the mean around 76db. Much lesser than 95db. As per Subaru specs a stock WRX/STI with cat makes around 76db with a turbo boost of 14Psi. I run my car on economy map and it only boosts 5Psi. My car makes the same sound as a stock WRX. So armed with all this proof I went back to the place for a reinspection. I showed him the tests, the specs and the new silencer I have installed. He conceded that the car is markedly quieter now but refused to pass it. I showed him that as per even his book my car is making exactly the same amount of sound as a stock car. But he refused to pass me. I said then he should conduct his own test and only then he can fail me if I am in violation. He does not have the test equipment to conduct the test. He says he “feels” that car is louder. He has probably never seen a stock WRX/STI in his life so how can he even know how the stock sounds. All the proof I produced was not good. So I demamded that either he fails me after conducting a state mandated SAE J1169 test or takes my test and passes me or refunds my money since he does not have the test equipment. He refuses to pass me, nor does he have the correct equipment to measure the sound nor will he refund me my money. A total rip off!!
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