Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Americans Hate their Government - ADEQ Edition

A week ago I got my viehicle registration renewal form in the mail. It included the dreaded note : Emissions Check required.

This was expected actually.

In Arizona you have to get a smog check on your viehicle every two years if you live in either the Phoenix Metro or Tucson Metro area. Basically then, 90% of the population has to put up with this BS.

Step one; Drive 12 miles to the smog check location. Burn 1 gallon of gas in the process.

Millage of the truck when we started the smog check : 122,766 miles

Step two; Wait while the guys at the smog check place drive your car on the treadmill for the IM147 test. Here is the fun part, the operator has to drive a particular acceleration profile. If you miss the profile they have to try again.

My truck is a stick shift. My truck is a stick shift equipped with Fords old 300 CI in-line 6 cylinder engine. (all torque, no horsepower)

Guess how many times the guys had to drive the profile. Hint, it was more than 3 and less than 5.

The truck passed the emissions test with no trouble otherwise. After they run your car on the treadmill you get to

Step three: check to make certain your gas cap makes a good seal on the tank.

One of my gas caps failed. *grumble*

Pay $28 for the privilege of having your car tested.

The rest of the steps we shall leave unnumbered.

Drive 12 miles to Checker Auto. Pay $9 for a new gas cap. Drive 12 miles back to smog check place. Burn 2 gallons of gas in the process.

Wait in line. As expected, they have to do the entire test all over again, because the computer won't let them simply retest against the failed portion.

Run the profile. Miss the profile. Several times. Finally one of the guys figures out that the DOS computer is not talking to the Windows computer. (yeah the computer that measures the exhaust components for NOX and hydrocarbons is running DOS)

Back truck out of test land and into adjacent test lane.

Rerun the test about 12 times. It finally passed when the supervisor held the measurement probe against the exhaust pipe. Apparently the problem was fairly straightforward:

My exhaust was too clean. Yup, the hydrocarbons were coming in at 6 out of an allowed 25, so the computer kept rejecting the data as too low.

Finally they get to test the gas cap again. Pass - no surprise there.

Mileage when done testing 122,812 miles. Subtract out the 24 miles to get to Checker auto and back and they ran my truck for over 20 miles on the stupid treadmill.

In their defense, the technicians were very professional and apologetic about the whole thing, and worked very hard to keep the lines moving for everyone else.

Oh, and there are big signs stating that "enhanced testing is the result of Federal Law"; i.e. don't blame us, it's the Feds fault. Of course it's really jointly the Fed and ADEQ's fault for having such a poorly designed procedure.

So let's see, not counting getting there and back, we wasted about 50 miles of driving, 3 hours of my time, and a quarter tank of gas because my gas cap did not quite seal properly.

This is why we hate our government, because the whole process is inane and stupid. And since the test is over, I'm sure my readers can guess which cap is back on my rear tank.

No comments: