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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vehicle inspection tricks



New Hampshire, like many states, requires an annual vehicle inspection. It doesn’t take much for a car to fail. All the safety equipment can be fine, but too much body rust or a “check engine” light and the car doesn’t pass.

It’s no secret that people around here don’t have a lot of money to spend on cars. Getting an old junker up to state specs can be just too expensive. Who wants to spend $1000 in repair on a car worth $200? Then again, who can afford the fines for driving an uninspected vehicle?

One of my rusty cars once passed inspection because I waited until after after an ice storm. The vehicle had a good coating of ice, but I even packed more snow into the rust holes. When I pulled into the garage, the guy didn’t want all that snow and ice melting into his shop. He did a really quick inspection -so quick that the snow and ice never melted. When the weather warmed up a couple months later, I patched the holes.

The NH inspection sticker goes right in the middle of the windshield just under the rear view mirror. It’s large enough that cops can spot it easily. One guy I know in the next town over hid his expired sticker by carrying a canoe on his old station wagon at all times. He drove that car that way for years without ever getting caught. It looked a little funny in the middle of the winter, but not weird enough to get stopped.

The “check engine light” indicator caused my daughter’s car to fail inspection. It was a 4 cylinder gas economy car. On a whim, I added a good dose of commercial grade diesel injector cleaner to the fuel tank. Within 15 minutes the light went out. My guess is that the additive cleaned up a dirty sensor. She had no problem passing inspection after that.

I’m not advocating driving unsafe vehicles, but perfectly safe vehicles can fail the inspection. Sometimes we do what little tricks we have to do to survive.



-Sixbears

32 comments:

  1. I don't think any state really gives a rat's backside about safety or they'd patch more potholes and put up more guardrails. I think it's all a racket for more money and more control.

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, Gorges, you might be onto something there.

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  2. They are famous for emissions inspections around this area.
    (insert profanity here)
    One of my best tricks for cars that don't quite make it through is to dump a bottle of STP in the oil. I couldn't tell you how many cars I got to pass doing only that.

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  3. There was a time where I could only drive my car at night for a few months.

    I used to dread inspection season.

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    1. Good thing the winter nights are so long.

      Inspection season was always a gamble. You never knew what might break the budget.

      It used to be that you could garage shop. If one didn't pass you, another might. Now everything is computerized so as soon as you funk one garage, you are in the state system.

      Now it's a matter of finding a garage that will tell you what needs to be done without putting your car in the system.

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  4. You got it Gorges. I recently served papers to a court telling them to go (insert profanity here, as Sixbears says) with their court charges. While waiting to file the papers, I observed the long line of people waiting with checkbooks. There were about 12 signs in the courthouse room I was in and all said, "Make checks payable to.."

    I watched a bit recently about automatic license plate readers used by "parking Natzis" in Detroit. They've discussed dozing over half the city, but they can afford to spend untold thousands on technology to read every license plate parked on a street? It's such an obvious money game it's laughable once you see it.

    Sixbears said, "Tricks to survive". I love it! Food and shelter comes before taxation. How many tricks are we willing to use before it becomes voluntary non-compliance?

    Briarpatch

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    Replies
    1. It is a huge money game.

      Plenty of people in non-compliance these days -and getting away with it.

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  5. In TX if you have a vehicle more than 24 yrs old you can apply for an "antique" registration. Only $65 every 5 yrs...no inspection reqd, no ins required. BUT you can only legally drive to car shows/meets and to repair shops. Most cops don't mess with you though if you aren't. My '85 F250 diesel has an antique tag. Of course most US cars from the 80's are POS. Not sure how long the state will leave this quasi-loop hole open.

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    Replies
    1. We still have to get antique cars and farm use inspected in VA but much of the antique stuff is grandfathered if the car is old enough.

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    2. NH still has antique plates, but they've tightened the regs a lot. If you've got any sort of farm, ag plates can be the way to go.

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  6. My inspection guy just asks me if everything works. Some times I tell him to check the brakes just to be sure as you want stuff like that to be in good shape. I hope he stays in business a few more years as he is getting old.

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    1. It used to be that way around here, but the state has really cracked down.

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    2. Read, "It used to be that way around here, but the state has grown more desperate for money."

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  7. Another tip on that "check engine light". One of the other common things that will trigger it in older but maintained cars is the emission sensor. A bad sensor has no effect on engine operation as far as I could find out, so it is not a safety issue. The part, for my suv, costs about $40.00. The garage wanted $189.00 to replace it. I pulled it, cleaned it, and off went the light.

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    Replies
    1. To save $189, I'd be motivated to pull the dash and remove the light!

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  8. Six, thanks for the diesel injector cleaner trick. I'll give it a try on my 95 S-10 that has its' check engine light on. It runs fine but I just don't want to spend $95.00 for someone to tell me what's wrong with it!

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    1. My check engine light comes on frequently and usually goes off after a couple fill ups. I have it read for free at the local auto parts store and the diagnostic is for the catalytic converter. I'll bet that diesel injector cleaner will do wonders for me.

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  9. Kentucky doesn't yet have inspections. I wonder when they will jump on that revenue bandwagon...

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    Replies
    1. If they don't it'll be because they found a better way to stick it to citizens.

      Delete
  10. I lived in the Detroit area back in '79 or '80 and there was no inspection there, but you had to constantly swerve to miss stuff falling off the cars in front of you.

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    Replies
    1. I see the same thing in Fl. They aren't cars but parts traveling in formation.

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  11. " They aren't cars but parts traveling in formation. ".

    LMAO!!!

    That's a keeper.

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  12. Well, I put a cut out switch on the electric fuel pump on my Jeep and ran her on pure hydrogen ported into the intake before the venturi through a bubbler to get it to pass the E-check. That and some no smoke in the crank case got it through for 6 years before it died. The floor was all road signs and the fenders and kick panels were all tiger hair topped off with a liberal coat of bed coating. There must have been 20 lbs of duct work screws holding it all together. The check engine light always seems to get lost on my vehicles. But, I always use after market gauges anyway, The brakes are always top quality as well as the lines due to a hard lesson of flipping a van which was caused with wet pavement and bad brakes. I always have the spares on hand bought ahead of time for most of the little stuff as I'm never sure when my next payday is. I ran wood gas, actually made with starbucks coffee grounds for the last year with the jeep with almost no problems. You had to get used to running at high rpms though. Now days I run HHO added through a bubbler to the intake. I use a military 24 volt alt and batteries to provide power to the HHO generator assy, keeping the 12 volt system to power the car. The cars computer leans up the fuel through the EFI resulting in a good performance VS economy. It always passes the E-check now.
    Lastly I added some extra hangers to all the cars I have owned. It saves in the long run.

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    1. Quite the trick to run woodgas with any reliability.

      Brakes and exhaust systems I keep in good shape. Who wants to die?

      You should make some of your conversions available online, if you haven't already. I'd love to look at them in detail. Seems to me they'd be worth a few bucks to someone.

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    2. On the wood gas I (copied) up sized this one here with 50% bigger burner.It rode on the bed rails in the jeep pickup...http://youtu.be/cTqXYp28DDc
      They have a Yayhoo wood gas group. Cut through the crap and find the info you want and leave. Thats what I did.
      HHO, is tougher, Key to producing any quantity of HHO gas is high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity. Think like a ballast for florescent lights....That I can't teach....There's some good You tube videos on the subject. My problem is keeping enough water in the reactor.
      Safety is of extreme importance, as you can start to make large quantities of hydrogen. The key is to only make as much as you can use up as soon as it is made with a small margin. Essentially, I'm running a pancake Tesla coil under water in a container that will contain the whole shooting match. I have deadman cutouts that kill the volts if the carafe goes down to 1/3 of volume. Or it all goes BOOM! But, I'm nuts.... The carafe is 55 gallons. There is a reason I don't post pictures and videos on it.

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    3. Thanks for the wood gas links.

      HHO is something I thought about for years. The safety issue has gotten more important to me as I've gotten older and learned that explosions really can kill me. It's not the direction I'm heading it these days, but I'm fasinated with the people who've made it work.

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  13. Bear, I'm trying the Diesel cleaner trick. I read that the O2 sensor gets dirty along with other gunk collected via ethanol.
    After reving the engine up to 3000-4000 RPM to get tthe cleaner circulated and up to the engine. Today I did some city driving and it seems the mini-van engine is running smoother as it would have a little hesitation and that seems to be gone.
    Took the battery offline to reset the check engine light and will do another treatment if needed.

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