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Emissions & Inspections

Depending on where you live, in order to register and drive your vehicle on the road you can be subjected to all sorts of government mandated tests and inspections.  The most common are a state safety inspection and emissions testing.  Both can be a giant pain in the butt.  When I lived in Virginia I was subject to both.  I drove a Chevy Van at the time.  If you know anything about full size vans, you have to remove interior panels to do just about anything to the engine (like change spark plugs or the air cleaner).  Of course once you had the interior taken apart it was easy.  Well, I took the van in for the require emissions check.  The "technician" (and I use that term quite loosely here) couldn't get the engine hooked up to the machine since he couldn't reach into the engine compartment.  His solution was to fail the vehicle.  Naturally I called bs on it and after much discussion he had another guy at the place look at the van and he was able to hook it up and of course it passed.  I've often considered state inspections just a way for garages to sell unnecessary repairs to unsuspecting motorists.  I've been quite fortunate over the years when I lived in areas with inspections to with the exception of the one incident involving emissions I have never had any "issues".

The thing is that safety inspections aren't really a bad thing.  Many people don't know how to check their own brakes and have no idea a ball joint is failing until a front wheel falls off. 

As far as emissions equipment goes, I can't remember how many people have suggested to me that I simply strip it all from the vehicle.  Well here's a newsflash - IT'S ILLEGAL - PERIOD!  With my background I seriously doubt I could use the "I didn't know" excuse.  Removing a catalytic converter is against federal law.  I can understand people 30 years ago wanting to disable emissions control gear since when it first came out it was pretty bad.  With the advent of electronic fuel injection however, cars are designed to run well with the emissions equipment in place.
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