Saturday, March 10, 2007

Test Only? What's the Point?

Last weekend, I took my car to be smog tested. I don't know if this is the law in other states (or countries), but in California, you have to get the emissions on your vehicle checked every couple of years before the state will let you re-register. It's a good law, and pollution here has improved enormously over the past 10-15 years. I went to my usual service station where my car typically gets smogged (walking distance, only a few blocks away) only to be turned away and sent to a "test only" center inconveniently located several miles from home.

WTF?

Come to find out, when a car in California reaches a certain age (looks like it must be 10 years, based on the age of my car), they are sent to these special test only smog check centers, the purpose of which I have yet to determine. It was a royal pain in the ass, and I don't understand why these "test only" centers are a benefit to the consumer when they are much fewer and farther between than normal smog check businesses. If memory serves, the price was the same ($50, including certificate and electronic transfer to the DMV), and the process appeared to be identical. Anyone know anything about this before I'm forced to write to the Governator?

17 Comments:

At Saturday, March 10, 2007 6:21:00 PM, Blogger v said...

Sorry I have no clue about this. But I think you should write the Governator. While you're writing him a letter, can you also ask him why he can't come up with more money for public education? And also why T3 was kinda, pretty much crappy?

 
At Saturday, March 10, 2007 6:22:00 PM, Blogger EditThis said...

When I lived in Oregon, you had to get your car smogged, too. And if I remember correctly, the only people who did it were state run facilities. You couldn't take it to Joe Schmo's Car Shop and get it tested...you had to go to a division of the DMV. I remember sitting in a very long line.

 
At Saturday, March 10, 2007 8:44:00 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

I remember 2 cars ago I had to go to a "Test Center Only" and my car didn't pass. I asked the operator why it failed, since it was a new car, and he said he wasn't at liberty to say. He told me that I had to go to a regular SMOG Test facility to get a diagnosis for the problem. I still to this day haven't figured out why. I went to have my car looked at and the reason I failed is some jackass stole my gas cap that week,and that is why I failed. I had no clue!

 
At Saturday, March 10, 2007 8:54:00 PM, Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

I had to get my driveclean certification last year. If you drive your car for 30 minutes before getting it tested, you're almost always guaranteed a passing grade.

Let us know if you get a letter back from Arnold!

 
At Saturday, March 10, 2007 9:15:00 PM, Blogger GetFlix said...

If I was to venture a guess, it's economics. Did your previous station also repair autos? If it did, realize that while your car was being smog checked, a mechanic was not repairing a car @ 100/hr. (Or more.)

At a Check Only center, the individuals do one thing, and one thing only. At a lower hourly rate. (Also I would venture the building has a lower monthly rent.)

No need to write Arnold.

 
At Sunday, March 11, 2007 12:16:00 PM, Blogger LA said...

Flix - I totally understand what you are saying, but my question remains unanswered. I understand why it is a benefit to business, but how is it a benefit to the taxpayers, i.e., the "customers" of the state and the DMV to have a test only station? I'm actually now even more fired up to write the Governator!

Ryan - That SUCKS! My car totally passed, and all my emissions levels were well within normal limits. My car has really low mileage for its age considering I've been telecommuting for almost five years.

 
At Sunday, March 11, 2007 12:39:00 PM, Blogger Diane said...

does test only just mean that they won't also do the repairs? if that is the case, there may be a consumer benefit b/c there is not the temptation to have a car fail and then do the work to repair it at the same station

 
At Sunday, March 11, 2007 9:03:00 PM, Blogger GetFlix said...

They're punishing you because you won't spend and consume and buy a new(er) vehicle. But why should you? Older cars, if maintained, run as well as a new one. Sometimes better. And you don't have a car payment.

 
At Monday, March 12, 2007 8:26:00 AM, Blogger prunella jones said...

In Tennesse we have to smog test every year. At only one location, all monies going to the state. These sort of things are just designed to make money for the goverment and annoy everybody.

 
At Monday, March 12, 2007 12:23:00 PM, Blogger EditThis said...

Ryan - the same thing happened to me once. But the guy said, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but hypothetically, if you happen to be missing your gas cap, you could hypothetically go buy one at that auto parts place across the street."

 
At Tuesday, March 13, 2007 3:43:00 AM, Blogger prettykitty said...

i remember one time, i drove my car in to the smog center. not only did i run out of gas, but the oil was so nonexistent, the entire engine was smoking through the tailpipe. the creepy guy who ran the test asked me what nationality i was and said he loved "exotic chicks." needless to say, i passed with flying colors.

 
At Tuesday, March 13, 2007 9:16:00 AM, Blogger Omar Cruz said...

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At Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:20:00 AM, Blogger Toad734 said...

Thats why I buy a new car every 5 years. That sounds like a royal pain in the arse.

 
At Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:55:00 AM, Blogger Karen said...

hmmmm, that's interesting...

don't have that law here in Michigan but then, there's not much smog, in fact, there's not much of anything left here.

btw, saw you over at Diane's. :+)

 
At Saturday, March 17, 2007 11:11:00 AM, Blogger joy said...

Another perk to living in California.

 
At Saturday, March 17, 2007 1:23:00 PM, Blogger Not-So-Naughty Voyeur said...

Well, maybe for newer cars there is an easier way to test emissions versus older cars? Like a chip they can read with their computers... versus having to do some sort of actual external test? And maybe some stations no longer keep the tools on hand to test older cars? Perhaps? I don't know, we don't do them in MO. That I know of.

 
At Thursday, June 07, 2007 1:59:00 PM, Blogger Addison said...

Hi, Found a cool news widget for our blogs at www.widgetmate.com. Now I can show the latest news on my blog. Worked like a breeze.

 

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