Sunday, October 23, 2011
North Carolina Vehicle Safety & Emission's Inspection
The other day I noticed my tags were past inspection. Trying to do the right thing, and to avoid a ticket, I went to a local service station to get my truck inspected. If your car is newer than 1996, and your county requires it, then in addition to the yearly vehicle safety inspection, they hook up your vehicle to a computer and run an emission's inspection. In North Carolina the emission's inspection is on a county by county basis. Meaning some counties require emission's inspection while others do not. There is a county that is twenty minutes away from where I live. This county does not require emission's inspection. So basically if I lived twenty minutes down the road, I would not be required to endure this additional test, and additional fee's. This seems irrational to me, but I do not make up the rules. I first arrived around 12:00 pm. The mechanic told me he was busy, and request I come back in thirty minutes. I was already off of work, so I ran a few errands. I came back 45 minutes later, only to sit and watch him work on someone else's car. After being there for fifteen minutes, he said "it's gonna be a few minutes". Twenty minutes later he pulled my truck around back where they perform inspections. Lights, brakes, horn, and turn signals. Check, check, check, and check. Then he did something I have never seen done. He jacked up the front end and started wiggling the tires. He shook them front to back, and side to side. I asked him what he was doing, since I had never seen this before. He said he was checking the bearings, and to see if there was any play in the steering. I have had my vehicle inspected every year since I was sixteen. Well over fifteen years. This was the first time ever seeing this. Then he proceeds to tell me there is to much play in the steering, and he will not pass my inspection. Then he said I need four new tires. In my opinion, I could drive on these tires at least six more months. Already knowing he will not pass my truck, he then proceeds with the emissions test. "Well no emission's or computer problems", he says. I asked him what was wrong with the steering. He said there was to much play, and I must have it repaired before he will pass it. I asked him what part needs replacing. He said "the main linkage". I asked him three times before I left the name of the part. Every time, the same reply "the main linkage". I also asked him how much it would be to let him fix it. He stated $70 for the part, and $130 to put it on. I was flabbergasted. Then he handed me a piece of paper that said North Carolina Vehicle Inspection - FAILED. "That will be $27". I wanted to punch this asshole in his face. I paid him and left. On the way home I thinking, $200 to fix the steering. $200 for some used tires. This is going to cost me at least $500 to fix my truck, get a passed inspection, and get my tags for one more year. This would take me at least three weeks to be able to come up with $500 extra dollars. Meanwhile I would be driving illegally, hoping not to get a ticket. Once I got home, I checked the truck out. I determined what part was a little loose. I would not say it was loose enough to be dangerous at all. I got on a auto parts store website to price the replacement. To my surprise there is NO part named the "Main Linkage". After tracking down the schematics, to my truck. I realized the part was named the idler arm. To my elation, I found a replacement part for $10.99. I replaced it today, and will be heading in the morning to get some used tires. I will go and get my truck inspected again tomorrow, but I will never go back to that dumb asses shop.