Merced-area drivers who have owned a car for more than six months may qualify for free vehicle emissions testing and diagnostic inspection Saturday.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and Valley Clean Air Now, a nonprofit, will offer the free service as part of their Tune In and Tune Up car cleanup event.
It will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, at the 11th Street parking lot.
The event will handle up to 525 vehicles. Owners of cars that do not pass the test but can be repaired will receive a $500 voucher for work at a participating STAR smog shop. The event only will provide screenings; no smog certificates will be issued.
Eligible vehicles must be legally registered in California, and owners must be San Joaquin Valley residents.
Organizers estimate that people can expect a two-plus-hour wait. Free food and drinks will be available.
The event is part of an outreach effort that aims to eliminate mobile-source pollutants generated by out-of-tune cars. According to the Valley CAN website, the Valley is home to a large number of older vehicles, many of which do not have up-to-date smog certificates.
According to event organizers, the more vehicles that are tested and repaired, the cleaner the air will be for residents. That also represents about $262,000 that can be captured within the local economy, organizers added.