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Old 04-12-2007, 09:09 PM   #1
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Today, the State of Texas told me that I'm unsafe and that I have only 15 days before its going to be illegal for me to drive on any road in the State.

Actually, I took my toad for its annual state inspection and it flunked. No problems with the tires, brakes, steering, windshield, emission controls, horn or any of the other things that I routinely look at. Nope, what was unsafe was my accessory drive belt on the engine. Hmmmm. Just how is that unsafe you might ask? Because... (warning: politically incorrect statements to follow) the snot nosed kid who took a course on doing inspections but has never actually worked on a car decided that the belt was worn too much and that if it broke, it would be a safety problem since my power steering pump would no longer be operative and I could have a wreck.

Don't get me wrong - I have no desire to have a belt break. The fact is that examining that belt is part of my normal maintenance and the last time that I looked at it, I did see that the top surface was shiny. But to make me illegal if I didn't change it in 15 days???? I've been doing my own maintenance on passenger vehicles for over 35 years, have had a number of vehicles over 100K miles (current E-150 is 19 years old and has 150K miles on it) and I have NEVER broken a belt. I tend to change them out on time, not appearance and error on the side of sooner rather than later. I quickly recognized that I wasn't going to have any kind of a reasonable discussion with the State certified hangman, (oops) I mean inspector so I drove quickly and carefully to my Saturn dealer, bought a new belt and rushed home to put it on before catastrophy struck and I became a menace on the road. It was a bit unnerving that I could remember the wrench size (14mm) that I needed for the automatic tensioner from the last time that I did the job.

Just why is that a well intentioned program like annual inspection of vehicles:
- leaves all kinds of junkers with visible problems on the highway - with and without current inspection tags and with seeming impunity
- makes a maintenance oriented guy like me jump through hoops.

A side note - my friend the inspector was only too happy to tell me after he conveyed the bad news that his service organization could ease my burden for a mere $79 plus tax and he was somewhat surprised that I would drive off without taking advantage of his kind offer. I paid $32 for the belt at Saturn, took 10 minutes to pull the front wheel and fender well cover to access the belt tensioner and was back for my free re-inspection in less than an hour. No words were needed from either party.
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:09 PM   #2
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Location: DFW Area, TX
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Today, the State of Texas told me that I'm unsafe and that I have only 15 days before its going to be illegal for me to drive on any road in the State.

Actually, I took my toad for its annual state inspection and it flunked. No problems with the tires, brakes, steering, windshield, emission controls, horn or any of the other things that I routinely look at. Nope, what was unsafe was my accessory drive belt on the engine. Hmmmm. Just how is that unsafe you might ask? Because... (warning: politically incorrect statements to follow) the snot nosed kid who took a course on doing inspections but has never actually worked on a car decided that the belt was worn too much and that if it broke, it would be a safety problem since my power steering pump would no longer be operative and I could have a wreck.

Don't get me wrong - I have no desire to have a belt break. The fact is that examining that belt is part of my normal maintenance and the last time that I looked at it, I did see that the top surface was shiny. But to make me illegal if I didn't change it in 15 days???? I've been doing my own maintenance on passenger vehicles for over 35 years, have had a number of vehicles over 100K miles (current E-150 is 19 years old and has 150K miles on it) and I have NEVER broken a belt. I tend to change them out on time, not appearance and error on the side of sooner rather than later. I quickly recognized that I wasn't going to have any kind of a reasonable discussion with the State certified hangman, (oops) I mean inspector so I drove quickly and carefully to my Saturn dealer, bought a new belt and rushed home to put it on before catastrophy struck and I became a menace on the road. It was a bit unnerving that I could remember the wrench size (14mm) that I needed for the automatic tensioner from the last time that I did the job.

Just why is that a well intentioned program like annual inspection of vehicles:
- leaves all kinds of junkers with visible problems on the highway - with and without current inspection tags and with seeming impunity
- makes a maintenance oriented guy like me jump through hoops.

A side note - my friend the inspector was only too happy to tell me after he conveyed the bad news that his service organization could ease my burden for a mere $79 plus tax and he was somewhat surprised that I would drive off without taking advantage of his kind offer. I paid $32 for the belt at Saturn, took 10 minutes to pull the front wheel and fender well cover to access the belt tensioner and was back for my free re-inspection in less than an hour. No words were needed from either party.
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Old 04-13-2007, 01:49 AM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chasfm11:
Today, the State of Texas told me that I'm unsafe and that I have only 15 days before its going to be illegal for me to drive on any road in the State.

Actually, I took my toad for its annual state inspection and it flunked.

Just why is that a well intentioned program like annual inspection of vehicles:
- leaves all kinds of junkers with visible problems on the highway - with and without current inspection tags and with seeming impunity
- makes a maintenance oriented guy like me jump through hoops.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Simply the rules most often are written to deal with the lowest common denominator in mind, the bad guy. Unfortunately while the good guy like yourself will comply and get things fixed the bad guy will just scoff and try to find a way to get around it.

Where I grew up they gave you thirty days and then issued a warrent to have your now expired tag recovered. A state trooper would remove the tag from your vehicle and ticket you. If the vehicle was in a public area such as a street or parking lot when they removed the tag, then they would have it towed away to an impound yard. They also purchased used cars and made them non-complient and would randomly have them taken to various stations doing inspections to verify that the inspectors were doing their jobs and would not be bribed or coerced into passing a failed vehicle.
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:10 AM   #4
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chasfm11 I liked your story now all you have to do is watch out for all the noncomplience cars and trucks on the road.
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Old 04-13-2007, 05:08 AM   #5
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Neil & 007, thanks for the replies.

As you can tell, I was down to just above "simmer" from the boiling point I achieved after this incident or I would have included the following in my original post.

We had a random problem on our MH where, when the exhaust brake was turned on, the engine would immediately die. It took a few incidents of this and VMSpc (capturing the engine error code)to find and apply the engineering change to correct the problem. If my State inspection "buddy" thought that loosing the power steering on my 2,300lb toad was a safety issue, just imagine what he might have said if he had known that it happened to me in an 11 ton vehicle doing 60mph in heavy traffic. I guess it was (sarcasm on) just another miracle that I was able to avoid an wreck in MH without power steering. I certainly wouldn't want to tempt fate twice with a similar situation in the Saturn.
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