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New York State inspections..I failed!

I have a great car, its a 1994 Saturn with 145K miles and it is perfect for what I need it for which is back and forth to the train every day..

I just took it to a mechanic in New York city and he has failed me for my inspection..stating that I needed over 1900 USD worth of repairs..which is more than what the car is worth!

Does anyone know what the bare minimum requirements are for NYS inspections, he is telling me I need new struts, and a brand new exhaust system..this car has passed inspection for the last 14 years, with only minimal repairs required..I cant help but wonder if I am getting ripped off!
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Comments

  • edited March 2008
    Parts do wear out. These are both maintenance items, and if you have never replaced them before, they are most likely worn out by now. Struts wear out over time and the exhaust system eventually rusts out too.
  • edited March 2008
    And this mechanic would also be glad to schedule your car repairs - is that a credit or debit card?

    I don't know why states allow this kind of self-serving inspection (actually, it's probably lobbying).

    Is the exhaust leaking? (exhaust smell or noise?)

    If you push down hard on the corner/bumper of the car, does the car come back up and then do some up-down bouncing?

    If neither of these is true, I'd talk to another mechanic/inspection station.
  • edited March 2008
    While the prices seem awfully high, these items are normal wear and should be expected on a 14 year old car with 145K miles. You've done well to get this far with minimal repairs.

    Price-shop the work. I think his prices are high, but I admit to not being familiar with shop rates in your area.
  • edited March 2008
    NYC has very high labor rates. Can you give us an itemized list?
  • edited March 2008
    We have a similar arrangement here in MA. I have always disliked the conflict of interest issue with a repair garage doing state inspections. How convenient that you can get a repair estimate immediately for the non-compliant problems!

    I had a guy once tell me that my tires looked like they were ready to be replaced when the car was in for its second inspection (@ 1yr old) and had less than 10k miles on it. The nubs were still visible!!

    I would be very interested to hear what the test criteria for struts is and how they determined yours failed.
  • edited March 2008
    Is it possible to have the car inspected by a different mechanic, telling him that any repairs will be done at a different shop? That way, the inspector will not recommend unneeded repairs, as he will not get paid to do those repairs.
  • edited March 2008
    Yes NYC does have high labor rates $80/hr, but the parts are also expensive....
    new exhaustr system -- 595
    4 struts -- 200 ea
    + labor

    I understand that there is some liability here with the mechanic if he does pass me without making sure that my car is safe, he claimed he will get fined 10K..but I can't imagine there are not some work arounds...I gueess I am just venting and sad that I may lose my very realiable car..I will shop around and see if I can get away with less that these repairs just to pass the inspection and make it though the summer!

    If anyone knows of a good mechanic in the new york/LI area -- please let me know.
    Thanks!
  • edited March 2008
    Take it somewhere else for another inspection.
  • edited March 2008
    I think you have the right to have the work done at another shop, and I would do so. In fact, when I lived in states requiring inspections, any major flaws would never get done by the inspecting mechanic - I would go somewhere else, for a second opinion and to insure that the flaws were not self-serving. I also used the same mechanic for the annual inspections, when I could.

    Check Sears for struts on sale or free labor. Get lifetime guarantees so that you pay labor only for any future replacements. Keep your receipt.

    Any muffler shop can generally beat a mechanics's estimate on muffler and exhaust.

    If you have never had either of this work done, I would think the mechanic is being honest.
  • edited March 2008
    Those part quotes are way too high. I went to my favorite online store, just to get an idea, and the struts for this car should run under $300 for all four of them. Seriously. Look around.

    The muffler should be under $50; the catastrophic converter should be under $200 for a direct-fit.

    Seriously, I think this is a big-time gouge.

    Shop around. That's my advice.
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