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Old 08-05-2008, 10:49 AM   #1
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IMHO, the "safety" inspection on a diesel powered MH in Texas has been pretty much of a joke. In the four years that we've owned ours, the inspection has been perfunctory at best. One inspector started the engine, said "yep, its a diesel and slapped a sticker on it. No light test, no horn test, no nothing. The other times, they at least looked at the wipers, checked the horn and all of the lights and made a show of looking underneath at the exhaust system. None of them followed these procedures.

Now, the joke is on me. I tried 3 times this morning, two times at stations which had previously done the inspections and none would take me. Here are the excuses:
1. "It has to fit inside the bay and yours won't"
2. "We don't have enough parking for something that big"
3. "Our inspector hasn't done motor homes and doesn't feel comfortable doing one" When told that I would help him find any part that he couldn't, the answer was "you are forbidden by law to provide any assistance."
4. "We are only licensed to do cars and motor cycles"

What was interesting was that none of them acknowledged that they had ever read this:

03.45.00 INSPECTION REFUSALS
No Official Vehicle Inspection Station during approved business hours shall refuse to inspect a vehicle that is presented for inspection. Official Vehicle Inspection Stations will be required to inspect only those types of vehicles authorized by the endorsement(s) to their Certificate of Appointment

Of course, asking to see their Certificate of Appointment showed no evidence of of any limitations claimed.

One of the employees let the real reason slip. At $14.50, they all loose money on doing my type of inspection. They love doing the emissions inspections at $39 because of all of the repair fallout from it. So, the part of the inspection process that they want to follow applies but not the other parts.

By checking with one of the local MH dealers, I was able to locate a station who agreed to do the inspection and it was completed. I now have my sticker and a place to go in the future. My initial thought was to file formal complaints against the 3 stations that refused to take me but I'd decided that it isn't worth the effort.

One of the most interesting conversations was with the owner/supervisor of the first station. He said "the inspector has to have done a motor home before he can do another one." When I asked where each inspector was supposed to get that experience, his reply was "in someone else's shop." I reminded him that his shop had done two of my previous inspections and that neither of those inspectors had ever seen a motor home before and told me that. He replied "I know, we've had trouble about that."

So, I don't know whether this is all about increased pressure from the Texas DPS on the inspection stations or the simple economics of the low mandated fee. No one in this State should feel safer now as a result of my current inspection sticker because the inspections that I regularly do on my RV are 50 times more thorough than what I paid to have done today. I don't disagree with the premise of having inspections. The problem is that the current implementation, at least in this State, does little to insure the public of anything except a lighter wallet.
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:49 AM   #2
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IMHO, the "safety" inspection on a diesel powered MH in Texas has been pretty much of a joke. In the four years that we've owned ours, the inspection has been perfunctory at best. One inspector started the engine, said "yep, its a diesel and slapped a sticker on it. No light test, no horn test, no nothing. The other times, they at least looked at the wipers, checked the horn and all of the lights and made a show of looking underneath at the exhaust system. None of them followed these procedures.

Now, the joke is on me. I tried 3 times this morning, two times at stations which had previously done the inspections and none would take me. Here are the excuses:
1. "It has to fit inside the bay and yours won't"
2. "We don't have enough parking for something that big"
3. "Our inspector hasn't done motor homes and doesn't feel comfortable doing one" When told that I would help him find any part that he couldn't, the answer was "you are forbidden by law to provide any assistance."
4. "We are only licensed to do cars and motor cycles"

What was interesting was that none of them acknowledged that they had ever read this:

03.45.00 INSPECTION REFUSALS
No Official Vehicle Inspection Station during approved business hours shall refuse to inspect a vehicle that is presented for inspection. Official Vehicle Inspection Stations will be required to inspect only those types of vehicles authorized by the endorsement(s) to their Certificate of Appointment

Of course, asking to see their Certificate of Appointment showed no evidence of of any limitations claimed.

One of the employees let the real reason slip. At $14.50, they all loose money on doing my type of inspection. They love doing the emissions inspections at $39 because of all of the repair fallout from it. So, the part of the inspection process that they want to follow applies but not the other parts.

By checking with one of the local MH dealers, I was able to locate a station who agreed to do the inspection and it was completed. I now have my sticker and a place to go in the future. My initial thought was to file formal complaints against the 3 stations that refused to take me but I'd decided that it isn't worth the effort.

One of the most interesting conversations was with the owner/supervisor of the first station. He said "the inspector has to have done a motor home before he can do another one." When I asked where each inspector was supposed to get that experience, his reply was "in someone else's shop." I reminded him that his shop had done two of my previous inspections and that neither of those inspectors had ever seen a motor home before and told me that. He replied "I know, we've had trouble about that."

So, I don't know whether this is all about increased pressure from the Texas DPS on the inspection stations or the simple economics of the low mandated fee. No one in this State should feel safer now as a result of my current inspection sticker because the inspections that I regularly do on my RV are 50 times more thorough than what I paid to have done today. I don't disagree with the premise of having inspections. The problem is that the current implementation, at least in this State, does little to insure the public of anything except a lighter wallet.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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It all still comes back to the so called customer service we get today. The easy answer is to just tell the customer no and hope that they will go away and bother someone else.

You do need to take the time to report the inspection stations that are not providing the services they have contracted with the state to provide. They do not get to pick and choose the inspections. They inspect per their certificate.

Ken
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:55 AM   #4
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I promise you that my singular complaint will receive a form letter response from the DPS. I've previously contacted then when trying to get the correct information about what level of license I required to drive my MH. Like many other heavily bureaucratic, understaffed governmental agencies, they are very uninterested in my problems.

I may yet elect to file one or more complaints. Before I do, I would be well served to go back to each of the stations and ask to examine their Certificates of Appointment closely. It might also be better to call a DPS trooper and have them with me if I return to the stations. I wouldn't expect to get a warm welcome when I start to examine the State Inspection documentation.
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:17 PM   #5
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I ran into the same problem trying to find an inspection station in the Houston area who would inspect our 5th wheel. Even the Jiffy Lube who finally agreed to inspect it didn't know where on their computer to find the trailer inspection section - I had to coach the inspector (it's with the motorcycles). It absolutely beats me how an inspection station can refuse to inspect a vehicle that requires a Texas inspection sticker!

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Old 08-05-2008, 12:22 PM   #6
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The business of it does not fit in the bay....does not fly. How do they inspect a travel trailer...never had to pull in to a bay for this so called inspection.

I have seen some of the inspection stations that I could barely get my F350 CC dually into the parking lot, let alone a trailer or a motorhome.

As a minimum, the DPS should post a list of inspection stations which can accommodate larger vehicles.

Ken
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:58 PM   #7
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I didn't mean that you shouldn't make the post. I meant that you should also make the formal complaints. It's the same as complaining about the government and not making the effort to participate in the process of helping select the people that represent us in the government. Some complain but don't even vote.
JMHO!
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:07 PM   #8
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Too many folks take the attitude that I am just a small voice and no one will pay attention to me. If enough people complain the voice will be heard. More people need to make their concerns heard at the voting booth.

I have a place near me that is a small garage and does inspections. He also owns the RV storage yard and there is plenty of room to get in and out.


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Old 08-05-2008, 02:29 PM   #9
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Texans

Bob Graham, former Senator from Fla as well as Govenor, based part of his campaign on doing away with the "Joke" of inspections in Florida when he ran for Governor. I believe it helped him considerably in winning the election.

Back in my younger years, I had a VW Bug and the inspector told me my lights were to high, so I drove home and put a case of bottle cokes in the front trunk and drove thru again, It passed. Its just another tax/vendor money maker that would be hard to get removed, but we did in Florida. You gotta love it. s/Toby
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:46 PM   #10
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Our DP was inspected at the dealership we bought it from. Is it possible that large RV dealers, Camping World etc can perform these duties for you?

How can a large dealer or RV consignment lot move as many MH's as they do (esp. in Texas)with issues like this? They must have found a solution.
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:46 PM   #11
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When I was in college in Texas and a resident of New Mexico, my mother had a copy of my registration. When she went in for her inspection sticker she would show them copies of my registration, my dad's, and other siblings and get stickers for all of us for $5 each. The only problem you would have was that sometimes stickers were hard to find because stations would hold them back for their friends. A few years later NM did away with their inspection program due to recognition it was a fraud.

At least when I have had my vehicles inspected in Texas, they did check lights, horn, tires and brakes (to see if the brakes would stop the vehicle while rolling...).
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:52 PM   #12
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OAN, in Hawaii, a safety check is required and all performing companies follow the rules and have to fill out and sign the checklist along with the driver. If a driver has an accident with a current safety check sticker and their vehicle is found to be deficient, the signing station will lose their license, the resulting money and will be fined heavily (along with the driver).

You can drive a 69 Camaro around with a big block and a 8-71 blower sticking out of the hood, cheater slicks, roll cage, harnesses etc...but the lights, horn and brakes must all funtion properly, it must have seat belts (of some sort), a windshield, functioning mufflers etc.

Most of the HPD officers I new growing up had built big block Mopars and Buicks with blowers etc. for their everyday patrol cars.

Digressing a bit again but they all had to have the proper safety precautions certified before they could get reconstruction stickers or their safety check stickers. Without these, no registration.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:11 PM   #13
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Ken, I agree that the "fit in the bay" excuse was bogus. In fact, all that I heard today was bogus.

For the record, I've voted in every election for many years. I have a long list of complaint letters that I've written and even gotten some resolutions from them. The problem with the State Inspections is systemic. The DPS does not have enough manpower to execute on all of their responsibilities, even if they wanted to. I had three inspection stations today all doing the same thing, regardless of their individual excuses. The fact is that the State has mandated a situation that is not economically feasible and this is simply the business owners rebelling against it. Those owners know as well as I do that they probably have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than having the DPS show up at their station because they refused me service. It would take a ground swell of people yelling about this issue to get DPS to change it. As an RV community, I just don't think we collectively have the clout to make that change happen, even if every registered RVer in Texas were involved. Stop by one of the truck enforcement checkpoints and look at the number of truck violations that DPS has to deal with. They simply have bigger fish to fry than to worry about my piddling refusal of service problem. DPS simply is not going to take action against every station the is violating the Inspection process. Based on my experience, there wouldn't be many inspection stations left.

My only hope on something like this would be to get a politician involved. Were I really looking for a solution, I'd probably reach out to my one of my local State representatives. Something in the back of my mind, however, keeps telling me "be careful what you wish for." The "fix" to my situation could make the overall inspection situation even worse. My opinion is that it is bad enough already.
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:54 PM   #14
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Chasfm11,
Rick Perry is too busy working with his special interests which prevents him from actually doing the job he was elected to do. Between postering for a possible VP bid or rebuilding the Governors mansion he is one busy man.
Another poster hit the nail on the head. There's no money is a $14.50 inspection when they can make $39.00 on a passenger vehicle and do 2 or 3 of them in the time it would take to "really" inspect a MH.
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