Estimate write it right 

1. When is an estimate3 required? An estimate is required for an automotive repair dealer to perform repairs to a motor vehicle. B&P § 9884.9

2. When is an estimate not required? An estimate is not required for an automotive repair dealer to perform any of the preventative maintenance services defined in B&P § 9880.1(j) if the customer authorizes the service and either of the following occur:

1. The service is performed free of charge. B&P § 9884.9(e)(1)

2. The total price for parts and labor necessary to perform the service is displayed in a conspicuous manner or is made available to and acknowledged by the customer.

If a job involves both repairs and preventative maintenance services, an estimate is required to perform the repairs. Although not required, it is best practice to list the preventative maintenance services on the estimate. 

3. What is required in an estimate? An estimate must contain a description of the specific job and the estimated price for all parts and labor. Each part listed in the estimate shall be new unless specifically identified as a used, rebuilt, or reconditioned part. B&P § 9884.9, CCR § 3353

4. Is sales tax included in the estimate? No, sales tax is only included in the invoice. B&P § 9884.8, CCR § 3356(c)(5)

5. Are toxic waste disposal costs included in the estimate? Yes, any charges associated with the handling, management, and disposal costs of toxic wastes or hazardous substances directly related to the specific job must be itemized separately in both the estimate and the invoice. If a disposal fee is charged, the estimate and invoice also must both include the automotive repair dealer’s Environmental Protection Agency identification number. B&P §§ 9884.8, 9884.9(a), CCR § 3357

6. Is the labor rate included in the estimate? No, the labor rate is not included in either the estimate or the invoice. However, brake and/or lamp stations must post conspicuously a list of prices for their services as either a fixed fee or an hourly rate on a time-and-material basis. Additionally, Smog Check stations must post conspicuously a list of prices for their services and an hourly labor rate for repairs. CCR §§ 3307(d), 3340.15(d)

7. Can the customer be charged for shop supplies? No. Charging for items generally noted as shop supplies or miscellaneous parts is prohibited. The customer may only be charged for the supplies used on their vehicle. The cost of these supplies must be included as part of the estimate and all supplies must be itemized in the invoice. B&P § 9884.9, CCR § 3356(g)

8. Are replaced parts required to be returned to the customer? Yes, if requested by the customer at the time the estimate is authorized. However, parts that are sold on an exchange basis and parts that must go back to the supplier under a warranty or core arrangement (e.g., battery) are not required to be returned to the customer. In these circumstances, the customer must be offered the opportunity to see the replaced parts. Any replaced parts that cannot be returned to the customer must be recorded on the invoice. B&P § 9884.10, CCR §§ 3355, 3356(i)

9. Can repairs be sublet? Who is responsible for the sublet repairs? Yes, sublet repairs can be performed with the consent of the customer. The automotive repair dealer must include with the estimate a statement of any sublet repair to be performed on the vehicle. The automotive repair dealer is responsible for all sublet repairs in the same manner as if it had performed the repairs. At the request of the customer, the name and location of the facility performing the sublet repairs must be disclosed. B&P §§ 9884.7(a)(9),

10. Can Smog Check inspections and/or repairs be sublet? Smog Check inspections cannot be sublet. However, Smog Check stations performing repairs may sublet the following: • Exhaust Systems: Repairs of a vehicle’s exhaust system that are normally performed by muffler shops, provided the malfunction has been previously diagnosed by the Smog Check station originally authorized by the customer to perform repairs to the vehicle. CCR § 3340.15(h)(1) • Defective Components: Repairs of those individual components that have been previously diagnosed as being defective and that have been removed by the Smog Check station originally authorized by the customer to perform repairs to the vehicle. CCR § 3340.15(h)(2) • Diesel-Powered Vehicles: Repairs of diesel-powered vehicles, provided the Smog Check station has obtained authorization from the customer to sublet repairs to the vehicle. CCR § 3340.15(h)(3) • Transmissions: Repairs to a vehicle’s transmission, provided the Smog Check station has obtained authorization from the customer to sublet repairs to the vehicle. CCR § 3340.15(h)(4) • On-Board Computer System Software: Corrections to the vehicle’s on-board computer system software, provided that the malfunction has been previously diagnosed by the Smog Check station originally authorized by the customer to perform repairs to the vehicle. 


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