Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

New York State inspections..I failed!



  • edited March 2008
    The minimum requirements should be available on the DMV web site. I think that the inspection stations are required to post them, and hand them out upon request. I always thought that the NYS safety inspection was a good thing. What I remember is checking headlight aim, suspension and steering for excessive play and wear, pull a front wheel and check the brake wear, exhaust leaks, lights work, horn works, you have the correct mirrors, and tires have useful tread. I am sure there are other things.

    I am sympathetic that you only drive this a few miles a week. Even if the inspector finds something that might make a wheel fall off in 5000 miles is two years off if you only drive 2500 miles a year, but they want to make sure innocent people are not killed by flying wheels. I am glad they do it. I almost got hit by a lose tire/wheel once.
  • edited March 2008
    You are getting burned on the parts even for NYC. The budget approach would be to check chain shops nearby for prices. Struts are fairly cheap should be about 60-90 each depending on the springs. The guy was going to gouge you. Also get another opinion because you could file a charge against the guy that would hit his inspection license if supported by another shop. Soliciting buisness like this is a low blow unless your car really is falling apart in which case he seems to charge too much and is a jerk.
  • edited March 2008
    just how are you being ripped off?
    a 15 year old car with 146k miles is more than likely to need all of those items; and if i was a gambling man i would safely bet a number of other problems could also be found.

    you were given a price quote on some items you quite likely need and you were given this quote up front. you chose to pass for now.
    a high price repair one does not like does not automatically mean ripoff.

    the analogy i use is having someone mow your lawn. the kid Bobby from next door charges 20 bucks and Bobby's Lawn Care Co. charges 200. is the latter a ripoff? not imho.
    all i can suggest is price the job around for a better deal.
  • edited March 2008
    If the struts are leaking, they fail inspection for sure. At 145K and 14 years of age, they probably are shot, especially considering what passes for roads in NYC. The exhaust system will likewise fail if it leaks.

    Tht being said, ask the mechanic if he can do any better on the price. The parts sound a little on the high side. Perhaps the quotes are for premium parts and you can get by with lower cost ones with shorter warranties.
  • edited March 2008
    You can always check the parts stores for strut prices and exhaust sytems. Calling three different parts stores under different 'flags' like NAPA, CarQuest and Krager, just as a for instance, will give you a decent idea on parts prices. Expect any repair shop to mark up the parts costs as they do have to spend time chasing down the parts, usually through their preferred parts place. I would second the suggestion of taking your vehicle in to an exhaust systems shop, but be wary of the large chains. Local independent shops are generally just as good, sometimes better, as they tend to keep their help longer than the large chains and tend to be more concientious about keeping customers happy. They also like to keep their reputations as quality work at fair prices. Return business is always an issue with repair shops--especially the independents. I would not do anything until you have taken it in for at least one other inspection. Maybe two inspections at different places? Then hook up with good independent shops to do the work. Before you authorize any work, get a written, signed estimate. That way you can also check prices for the totals. But rarely contract based just on the lowest price. Be vigilant and you'll most likely get quality work at a reasonable price.
  • edited March 2008
    That's a good price for NYC. Public transportation is probably cheaper than owning a car there. The other option is to find a car that passes. Next day...Now I see that you have found a car that passes, and it's your own.
  • edited March 2008

    Shocks/struts usually don't fail inspection unless they are leaking. If they aren't leaking then they'll pass inspection. Exhaust...well that's very possible on a car this old.

    But if you've NEVER replaced the struts before or exhaust then they are more then likely worn and need replacing. But I find his prices to be very very high. Find another mechanic to do the work.
  • edited March 2008
    Thank you all for your advice I can not believe the responses I have gotten. I just picked up my car from the mechanic and also received the "fail" inspection convenient that he somehow managed to get the emissions test to pass last night, and told me that the exhaust system was 'not as bad as he thought'...So in the end he failed me for a 1/2 crack in my windshield, and suspension problems..and then tried to double talk his way out of it..he looked suprised when I asked for the inspection report..guess he thought that b/c I was a woman who did not know much about cars he could get me to agree to the work over the phone and stick me with a huge bill..what he does not know is that I was armed with a cell phone and a Dad on the other line!
    I will look to see if I can get the struts replaced at a reasonble cost and hope that the car can last through the summer!
  • edited March 2008
    New struts are nice to have; but, do you really need them? If you aren't having vehicle control problems, and the struts aren't leaking, I don't see a big deal with the old struts. New struts will give you a firmer ride, and a bit more handling control, if those things are that important to you.
  • edited March 2008

    It's NOT a matter if they matter to's the FACT the car FAILED inspection because of them....
This discussion has been closed.