Friday, May 20, 2011

I can't win

Here's my dilemma. The registration on my car is expired, by a few weeks. I blame the US Postal Service. Why aren't you forwarding my mail from my old address? Specifically my Vehicle Renewal Form? I have better things to do than remember when my tags expire.

Anyway, no big deal, I can easily renew my tags online, right? Wrong. Not when your vehicle has to be emissions tested.

OK, still no big deal, I could do that during lunch today, no problem. Wrong again. According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's emissions testing website, under the helpful "Testing Tips" section: "1996 and newer vehicles with on-board diagnostic (OBD) equipment will not pass emissions testing if the check engine light is on. It is advisable to have the vehicle tested to determine the reason for the light being illuminated."

First, because pointing out someone else's mistake will make me feel better, let's take a look at the grammar mistake in the first sentence. You never start a sentence with a number (in this case "1996").

OK, second, my check engine light has been illuminated for the better part of the year. Why? Because only recently was I able to determine what is wrong with my car. Apparently coolant is leaking into the engine through a cracked head. So why don't I get it fixed? Because at a minimum, it's likely to cost me around $1,800-$2,000. Sure, no one wants to pay that, but I'd bite the bullet if I thought it was worth it. Here's the deal, though, my car is probably worth $2,000. Why would I put that much money into my car when it won't increase its value? Why don't I trade my car in and add the cost of repairs as a down payment on a new one?

Because then I'd have a car payment, that's why.

Maybe it's time to get a second opinion on those repairs. And/or buy a bike. And/or move somewhere with good public transportation. I'm leaning toward one of the latter....


  1. the last time I had to get my car registered...

    I had to get a WA license,

    so I went to the closest DMV, 20 min away.

    the first time I forgot my wallet.

    the second time I did not have all the right verification (their website and in-location lists differed from one another.)

    the third time I finally get my temporary license.

    then I had to get emissions tested.

    then I went to a third location to get it registered.

    (all with two young children)

    then I received my license and my hair color, eye color, and weight were all incorrect.

    super fun, huh?

  2. catch 22! This just shows that our possessions truly are a burden.

  3. Myke, my suggestion is something I am trying to do myself.

    Sell car. Buy scooter. It gets (so as not to begin a sentence with a number) 90 miles/gallon, much cheaper repairs, and you can find good ones for $2,000 new ( The only issue is whether you can get away with not using freeways in your daily activities, as their top speed is typically 50mph and lower. You can spend a little more money to get a faster one, but I'm still not sure they're freeway-legal.. and at that point, you may as well be considering a motorcycle.

  4. Chelsea, the whole process makes you wonder if having a car is worth it.

    Holli, that seems to be the lesson life has been teaching me lately.

    Trev, I've seriously considered the scooter route (one with a sidecar).

  5. How difficult is it to just disable the check engine light, if only temporarily? Or does ADEQ consider that to be fraud?

  6. Yeah, I'm worried about them thinking that's cheating.

  7. I am in the same boat, My car failed emmissions 2 weeks ago, I took my car to a auto shop it has a bunch of problems with it. I am just debating taking out a loan and getting a recently used car.

  8. I know a lot of BYU-I alumni who still register their plates with the Gem State. It costs about $40, there are no emissions tests, and it prevents photo radar tickets from arriving in the mail. I am not suggesting you take action in this form, I'm just letting you know there are people who do that. (I'm not smart enough to be one of them)

  9. Quinn, can I use your folks' address in Idaho to do that?