Posted by: raesalley | July 28, 2005

Fully Legal

My car, that is.

The check engine light and I have been having a love-hate relationship. It started a while ago, which immediately qualifies me for bad owner. It would be on for a bit, then off, then on then off. It went off when I sent a fuel additive through the system with an oil change…but came back on a week later. With these antics, I tried to figure out what was wrong. Then, the thermostat died back in March and then light was out for three whole days. If I had been thinking, I would have gotten the car tested right then for its annual inspection. Nope.

Then, March passed and I renewed my plates. For some idiotic reason, the ability to renew your plates is not directly tied to your inspection. So, I can have a legally registered car but not be legal due to the dead sticker. Okay…screwball state. However, if you go to renew your plates again and your inspection sticker is dead more than four months, they hit you with a $250 fine and you can’t renew until you get inspected. I wasn’t there yet.

In May, I get stopped at a drunk driver check and am informed of my expired inspection. I play dumb…and really, I am used to a state where it’s every other year based on model year – so in my head, I’m not due until March 06. I decide to try to get that taken car of when I actually pay someone to change my oil – something I haven’t done in three years at that point, since a $5 filter and $2/qt oil (and about 5 qt/car) does NOT equal $45 Jiffy Lube fee. But Dan didn’t have time and I really needed to do it before I drove to Asheville. At Jiffy Lube, they tell me that they can not inspect the car because the check engine light is on. Fine. Dandy, even. And off I go to Asheville.

My next attempt is with D. He takes it somewhere and they tell him before they plug it in that they can’t do it because of the light. However – he does need to replace some lights before it would be able to pass and the alert code has something to do with the fuel system. Thanks guys. I drive off to Boone and back with my light still on and my un-inspected status, but now with a letter saying I tried.

The state also sends me a letter – this one saying I have to get the car inspected by 7/31 or they are levying a $250 fine on my car. Bastards. Now I have a deadline. But first – another road trip! Off to DC I go & back again within 36 hours. But I have seven days left to get the car fixed. D has off Wednesday, and I call to make arrangements to get the car in Wednesday. Piece of cake.

First, he gets told that I don’t have an appointment. I call them and tell them that yes, Siggy is supposed to be there – possibly for a recall but definately to get that damn light out because it has to be out to get inspected and I’d rather not give the state my money just yet. D goes back in with Siggy and leaves her there. An hour later, I get a call saying that it will be roughly $480 to get two sensors replaced, my air filter replaced (which, was last done June 2002 – according to my records), the car run around a bit for a full cycle to happen, the car inspected, and all the labor & disposal & shop fees. Ouch. But, it’ll be done by 10p that day. Do it.

I get Siggy back around 8:30p. No check engine light. Brand new sticker. And a task in my PDA saying to get inspected in March 2006.

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