Is Your GM 2.4L A Federal Or California Emissions Engine?

There are two different types of 2011-2015 GM 2.4L engines:

  1. A California emissions engine
  2. A federal emissions engine

If you’re not sure which type your 2011-2015 GM 2.4L engine is, this video will help you figure it out:

If you’re replacing your engine, it’s important to know which kind you have. They are not interchangeable. So if you’re doing a direct replacement, you need to find out which emissions standards your engine is built for.

The Difference Between A CA Emissions Engine And A Federal Emissions Engine

A common misconception is if you don’t live in California, you have a federal emissions engine. It’s not always true. Where you live has nothing to do with whether you have a California or federal emissions engine. You could live in, say, Maine and still have a California emissions engine. It all depends on the standards to which your GM vehicle was manufactured.

So what’s the difference between a California emissions engine and a federal emissions engine?

A California emissions engine adheres to California’s stringent emissions standards. A federal emissions engine adheres to the U.S. federal government’s emissions standards. California has much stricter emissions standards than those set by the federal government. It’s because California passed the Clean Air Act in 1963 to help combat air pollution. 12 other states (plus Washington D.C.) follow California’s emissions standards. These states are:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

That’s a big reason why vehicles running on California emissions engines aren’t only located in California.

How To Find Out If Your Engine Is A CA Or Federal Emissions Engine

If you have a 2011-2015 GM 2.4L engine, there are a couple ways to find out which emissions standards your engine is built for.

The Hard Way

Look at the exhaust ports on the side of the cylinder head. Are there also four small holes above the exhaust ports? These are called smog holes.

If the answer is yes, you have a California emissions engine. If you don’t see any smog holes in that area, you have a federal emissions engine.

Here’s the problem, though: you’d have to tear apart your engine to find the smog holes. So unless you have a brand new engine sitting in front of you (rather than in your vehicle), you can find out the much easier way.

The Easy Way

Great news! You can find out which emissions standards your engine is built for by looking at your VIN.

Does your VIN contain the code “NU6”? If so, it’s a California emissions engine. If it doesn’t, it’s a federal emissions engine. It’s that simple!

If you have further questions, please give us a call at 888-842-0023.

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