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Section 17

Division 12, Safety Equipment


brake drum photo

17.3 Safety Equipment List

  1. The following are among the safety items a dealer must check and make operational before selling a vehicle:
    1. Brakes must work (including the parking brake) and be tested as per Vehicle Code §§26450-26451. In general you must have both the service (pedal) and emergency brake systems fully operational and effective.
      1. Condition of Brakes
        Vehicle Code section 26453 states that all brakes and component parts shall be maintained in good condition and in good working order. The brakes shall be adjusted to operate as equally as practicable with respect to the wheels on opposite sides of the vehicle.
      2. Vehicle Code section 26454 sets the following brake performance standards:
        1. The service brakes of every motor vehicle or combination of vehicles shall be adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle or combination of vehicles under all conditions of loading on any grade on which it is operated.
        2. Every motor vehicle or combination of vehicles, at any time and under all conditions of loading, shall, upon application of the service brake, be capable of stopping from an initial speed of 20 miles per hour according to the following requirements:

          Vehicle Description/Type Maximum Stopping Distance (feet)
          (1) Any passenger vehicle 25
          (2) Any single motor vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 lbs. 30
          (3) Any combination of vehicles consisting of a passenger vehicle or any motor vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 lbs. in combination with any trailer, semitrailer or trailer coach 40
          (4) Any single motor vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs. or more or any bus 40
          (5) All other combinations of vehicles 50

          In no event shall testing of brakes be done on a public road at speeds in excess of 25 mph. For further information on brake standards go to http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/tocd12c3a2.htm.

    2. Bumpers (front and rear) [V.C. §28071]
    3. Horn [V.C. §27000]
    4. Lights-all (including proper adjustment) [V.C. §24250 et. Seq.]
    5. Muffler [V.C. §27150]
    6. Rearview Mirrors (center and left, and right if center is obstructed) [V.C. §26709]
    7. Vehicle Code section 27465 requires the following amount of tire tread for all vehicles sold at retail:
      (1) One thirty-second (1/32) of an inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves at any location of the tire, except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3).
      (2) Four thirty-second (4/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on a tire on the steering axle of any motor vehicle specified in Section 34500, and two thirty-second of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on all other tires on the axles of these vehicles.
      (3) Six thirty-second (6/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on snow tires used in lieu of tire traction devices in posted traction device control areas.
      The measurement of tread depth shall not be made where tie bars, humps, or fillets are located.

    8. California Tire Recycling Fee Program - The tire recycling fee is a $1.75 per tire fee collected from customers who purchase new tires from California retailers. The fee is paid to the Board of Equalization. If you sell new tires (including selling used vehicles with new tires on them, or new spare tires), then you must register for the Recycling Program with the Board of Equalization and file returns with them. Sellers of new tires can retain 3% of the recycling fee as reimbursement for their costs in collecting the fee (don't plan on funding your retirement with this program!). The balance of the recycling fee is paid to the Board of Equalization. Note: The California tire fee, like sales tax and reg. fees, may be excluded from the advertised price of a vehicle.
    9. Windshields (no dangerous crackscracks – cracks where the windshield wipers sweep) [V.C. §§26700, and 26710]
    10. Wipers [V.C. §§26706, and 26707]
    11. Seatbelts (and seatbelt buzzer warnings) [V.C. §§27314, and 27314.5]
    12. Smog [V.C. §27156]
    13. Federal safety standards: Must comply
    14. Air Bags: Vehicle Code Section 27317 states that “Any person who installs or reinstalls for compensation, or who distributes or sells any previously deployed air bag that is part of an inflatable restraint system, if the person knows that the air bag has been previously deployed, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by confinement in the county jail for one year or by both that fine and confinement.”

  2. Division 12 safety equipment cannot be waived. [V.C. §24007] This means you should never sell someone a vehicle that has a safety defect, unless it is being sold as scrap and is not register-able. Even if the buyer knows about the defect and is willing to sign a document stating they will be responsible for repairing the defect, or damage that results because of it, do not sell them the vehicle until you have repaired it. You cannot transfer your responsibility for selling a safe car to the buyer. Signing a document trying to make the buyer responsible only proves that you sold a dangerous car, and that you, not they, are responsible for all damages caused by the safety defect.


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