Wednesday, March 30, 2011

But, but, but, bt, bt....

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...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sink the money in it. It more costly over the next 5 to 10 years purchasing a new auto than repairing an old one

Anonymous said...

You can clear the check engine light using a code reader. An auto parts store might be able to do it for you or you can buy them on ebay for cheap. The exact kind you need depends on the model and year of your car but it's a simple process. It'll usually stay off for a few trips before coming back on again, so just turn it off before going to get tested. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and yes there is a spend limit which will get you a waiver. See the last section here:
http://www.dnr.mo.gov/gatewayvip/v-owner/failed-vehicles.htm

Anonymous said...

I've gone to Affton Muffler and Brake Stop for exhaust stuff since about '92. Reasonably priced, and super fast work. They'll read the code for you to make sure it's exhaust related and clear it as well. Two years ago I needed two new converters on my car, and I was back at the inspection station in under an hour.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the safety inspection racket is alive and well still.

And everyone still tries to cheat and get out of the purpose of the safety inspection. No wonder there are so many unsafe beaters still on the roads.

Like maybe the inspection is the right thing to do till it's personal

Who'd a thunk it

Machelle said...

Wow. . .wish I would have had all of this information when my check engine light was on and the VW people refused to pass my car (only five years old). Of course, since I was pitching a fit about the repairs, they offered up a sales man to sell me a brand new car. Now I'm getting ticked all over again. . .anyway. . .good to know.

Alex said...

Don't know about your car, but you can clear the check engine light in an '01 Civic by holding down the tripometer, then turning the key one stop, waiting 10sec, turning another stop, waiting 10 sec - holding the tripometer reset down the whole time.

Anonymous said...

Find a friend who lives outside the emissions testing area and register your car at their house.