Our 2001 Dodge Stratus is on the 4-year plan, namely, we need to keep it running until we're off the tuition train. And that train has at least another 4 years to go.
So it's time for our annual renewal of license plates, this time involving a safety and emissions test. The check engine light has been on for some time, but the car is running strong and there's no visible exhaust coming out of the tail pipe. So it burns a little oil.
Anyway, our mechanic is having a problem getting it to pass the emission test. And today, I'm afraid the updated situation won't be much better. My hunch is that there's some issue with the catalytic converter. Apparently, a car can't pass an emission test with the check engine light on. Or maybe it's a transmission problem.
I have no idea how much it costs to replace a catalytic converter, but from what I've heard, it ain't cheap. And if that's indeed the issue, then I guess we're faced with the lousy choice of sinking a lot of money into an old car, or junking it? And if it's something major with the transmission, well, we know that's a fortune.
I thought there was some limit on how much the state could force you to pay to repair a car under the emission testing requirements? Maybe not.
So, from the sound of this, if indeed we're faced with a choice of repairing the car or junking it, we're in a way dealing with a case of eminent domain - unfortunately with no compensation.
The state may indeed be forcing our otherwise strong running car off the road, with no compensation to us, all for the benefit of the public welfare. Correct? I'll update the post as the situation unfolds...