Understanding North American Regulatory Requirements for Vehicles, Equipment, and Engines



Excavator Equipment

Manufacturers of on- and off-road vehicles, off-road equipment, and engines intended for use in such vehicles or equipment seeking to market in North America must comply with complex regulatory requirements enforced by government agencies including the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and Environment Canada (EC).  In general, only vehicles, equipment, and engines that have received emissions certification from the appropriate agencies pursuant to these regulations may enter the North American market, although certain exclusions, exemptions and “flexibility” provisions are available.

In order to receive certification, manufacturers or importers must perform emissions testing using facilities, equipment, and testing procedures that strictly conform with regulatory requirements.  In addition, manufacturers and importers must submit extensive documentation regarding the design and operation of their products to these government agencies, ensure proper labeling, provide warranties for emission control systems and related parts, monitor their products for defects, and comply with extensive reporting requirements.

It is also important to understand that modifications to certified vehicles, equipment, and engines including the installation of replacement engines that differ from the original engines, and the installation of “aftermarket” or “performance” parts that can affect emissions are generally prohibited unless they have been approved in advance by the appropriate regulatory agencies.

Sierra Research, a Trinity Consultants company with offices in Sacramento, CA and Ann Arbor, MI, has extensive experience assisting vehicle, equipment, and engine manufacturers and importers with associated regulatory requirements.  For more information, contact Jim Lyons.