Twin_Cam SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:35 p.m.

Long story short: computers suck, make cars suck, and cost me money.

The end.

Long story as is: PA has two inspections that happen at the same time for your vehicle, safety and emissions. Safety inspection covers things that matter: tires, brake pads/shoes, bushings, seatbelts, headlights, horn. Emissions inspection covers things that shops and dealers can make money from: nameless computer bits that fail for no reason at all to cost you money. The emissions inspection for OBD-II cars involves plugging the car into another computer, and that computer looks for trouble codes, because OBD-II can apparently self-diagnose emissions levels and crap like that.

My car passed safety inspection, because I'm not an idiot and take care of my car. It failed emissions inspection because "readiness monitors were not set."

So get this: Me: "So there's nothing actually wrong with the emissions system on my car. You said monitors...it's not spewing toxic fumes into the air." Shop: "No." Me: "But my car failed anyway?" Shop: "Yes." Me: facepalm

So, because some shiny happy person engineer at Saturn with a 2-year computer programming degree from a community college wrote the ECU program, I have to drive around for another 100 miles to try to reset the readiness monitors, and then pay for my car to be inspected again. berkeleying wonderful.

So, how about you guys learn me pre-1975 cars and trucks?

Pumpkin Escobar SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:37 p.m.

move to a better state...preferably one where Ben Roethlisberger doesnt live.

mad_machine SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:38 p.m.

OBDii can only tell the computer that they cat is not working or that a sensor is not operating properly. It is assumed that if there are no codes.. what is coming out of the tailpipe is clean

TJ SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:42 p.m.

You can come live in Alabama where there are no car inspections at all. Not surprisingly, the number of cars that appear to be unsafe doesn't seem to be any higher than states that have inspections that I have previously lived in (West Virginia, Virginia).

I'm pretty sure inspections come into being when automotive repair lobbyists pose as environmentalists and persuade lawmakers to pass an inspection law "to save the children".

I hated the annual inspections in Virginia - they were just a moneymaking enterprise and nothing more. So when I had a choice I chose to move to another state.

Twin_Cam SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:44 p.m.
Pumpkin Escobar wrote: move to a better state...preferably one where Ben Roethlisberger doesnt live.

I'm either going to do that or buy this 1973 Ford F-250 I just found on Craigslist. 46K original miles, 390 ci, 4-speed. And emissions exempt in PA!!!!!

Aww man, they have inspections in WV? Too bad, I used to like that state.

BoxheadTim Dork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:47 p.m.

I like those old Ford Trucks. Don't think you'll get an excuse around here not to buy one.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:48 p.m.

So you're saying the emissions check doesn't matter? I don't think you have a very good understanding of how OBDII works, for what it's worth, but maybe you're just being coy. Being somewhat familiar with PA inspections, there are plenty of shops making money off safety inspection failures as well.

Long story short: PA inspections suck. My buddy failed inspection on a classic car because he didn't have his hubcaps on.

Bryce

oldsaw SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:48 p.m.

I think I'd be diving into PA's DOT bylaws to corroborate the inspection station's analysis/conclusion of that read-out.

Did you get a copy? If so, take the print-out to another station and see if you get the same response. And try a station that has earned a reputation for honesty.

SilverFleet HalfDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:50 p.m.

MA is like that too. Did you reset any CEL's recently? That would cause the "not ready" status.

Oh, and my mother's 1996 Nissan Maxima does this on its own. It also has a knock sensor code stored in the computer, and the CEL doesn't go on every time, but the registry's computer still picks it up. It's rocking the "Type R" sticker right now.

paul
paul Reader
Nov. 9, 2010 5:50 p.m.

Download/read/follow the saturn Sx2 rediness codes driving procedure... problem solved.

Brotus7 Reader
Nov. 9, 2010 5:52 p.m.

So, why was the computer memory cleared prior to the test? We have the same thing in CT, and the intent (not defending it, it is dumb, if it fails the electric test, they should sniff test it....) is to make sure that someone doesn't just clear the code on the car and take it down to be tested immediately. Believe it or not, it's universal to OBD2, not just your Saturn. My dad had the same problem with his Benz.

Also in CT, they give you a 'free' retest if you fail the first time.

Keith SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:54 p.m.

Exactly, any OBD-II car will give a "not ready" code if the ECU hasn't been able to check all the sensors since it was reset. Being able to plug into the ECU means the emissions station doesn't have to put your car on a dyno and check what's coming out of the tailpipe.

Ian F Dork
Nov. 9, 2010 5:56 p.m.

Did you recently have some emmissions work done? Parts replaced?

Nov. 9, 2010 6:02 p.m.

If the readiness isnt set you very well could ahve a problem that hasnt occured often enough to toss a mil light.

Readiness covers more than the cats.

Fuel trim, secondary air, evap, cats and a few others depending on the year of the vehicle and what systems it has.

If the readiness is not set another shop will just fail it again.

You need to figure out why the readiness isnt set. Saying nothing is wrong is like looking at your tires and saying that the proper pressures are set because they are not flat.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 6:07 p.m.
TJ wrote: You can come live in Alabama where there are no car inspections at all. Not surprisingly, the number of cars that appear to be unsafe doesn't seem to be any higher than states that have inspections that I have previously lived in (West Virginia, Virginia).

PA uses salt, Alabama does not.

mad_machine SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 7:12 p.m.
Nashco wrote: Long story short: PA inspections suck. My buddy failed inspection on a classic car because he didn't have his hubcaps on. Bryce

that sounds a bit far fetched...

tuna55 Dork
Nov. 9, 2010 7:16 p.m.
Nashco wrote:
TJ wrote: You can come live in Alabama where there are no car inspections at all. Not surprisingly, the number of cars that appear to be unsafe doesn't seem to be any higher than states that have inspections that I have previously lived in (West Virginia, Virginia).

PA uses salt, Alabama does not.

OK, the number of unsafe cars in Michigan isn't any higher than NY. They both use salt.

mad_machine SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 7:34 p.m.

I have family in the UP... they claim the cars up there are the friendliest in the nation.. the fenders wave at you when they pass

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
Nov. 9, 2010 8:03 p.m.
mad_machine wrote:
Nashco wrote: Long story short: PA inspections suck. My buddy failed inspection on a classic car because he didn't have his hubcaps on. Bryce

that sounds a bit far fetched...

That's what he and I thought. He couldn't get his antique plates until the vehicle had the proper hub caps on it (instead of steel wheels). Imagine how pissed he was!!!

tuna55 wrote:
Nashco wrote:
TJ wrote: You can come live in Alabama where there are no car inspections at all. Not surprisingly, the number of cars that appear to be unsafe doesn't seem to be any higher than states that have inspections that I have previously lived in (West Virginia, Virginia).

PA uses salt, Alabama does not.

OK, the number of unsafe cars in Michigan isn't any higher than NY. They both use salt.

I disagree. Cars in Michigan are some of the scariest, IMO...no-fault insurance, major amounts of salt, and treating cars as disposable is quite the trifecta, especially if you're somewhere around Detroit! Go shopping for 25 year old cars in New York, Michigan, and Alabama and try to tell me they're all equally safe.

I don't like inspections, at all, but I don't think their primary reason for existing is income to automotive repair shops. PA is so ridiculous with their inspections, I'm convinced it's just to piss people off.

Bryce

Knurled HalfDork
Nov. 9, 2010 8:06 p.m.
Keith wrote: Exactly, any OBD-II car will give a "not ready" code if the ECU hasn't been able to check all the sensors since it was reset. Being able to plug into the ECU means the emissions station doesn't have to put your car on a dyno and check what's coming out of the tailpipe.

The dyno test only measures how well the car runs on the dyno, while the OBD-II test actually deals with the pollutants that the car puts out.

What I like is, in Ohio, if you clear the check engine light out and take it to a smog station, they don't fail you for not having all of the monitors run. No, they run you on the rollers. If you fail the roller test, you have to pass the roller test. It's possible to have a car dirty enough to fail the roller test and pass a scantool test because the catalyst monitoring portion of the computer is... slack. So what should have been a $200 evap leak fix turns into a $1500 catalyst replacement.

I hardly ever see rusty cars in Michigan. When I was at Sno-Drift, I goggled at all of the clean old Japanese tin on the roads.

Rufledt Reader
Nov. 9, 2010 8:21 p.m.

I vote for WI. I may be partial, but whatev. Sure they use salt, but most counties have 0 inspections of any kind. They don't even look at the car to maek sure it has all 4 wheels. You could have a rusty, burnt out shell with no cats or seatbelts and an engine from who knows what, and as long as you have $75, it's registered.

Rob_Mopar Reader
Nov. 9, 2010 8:33 p.m.
Nashco wrote: That's what he and I thought. He couldn't get his antique plates until the vehicle had the proper hub caps on it (instead of steel wheels). Imagine how pissed he was!!!

Um, that's not inspection that's applying for either a Classic or Antique tag. It's pretty simple really. Put stock wheel covers on the car for the pictures.

All in all PA is a fairly car friendly state. As for the Saturn. something is not working in the OBDII system or it was reset within 100 miles before taking it in for inspection.

tuna55 Dork
Nov. 9, 2010 8:52 p.m.
Nashco wrote:
mad_machine wrote:
Nashco wrote: Long story short: PA inspections suck. My buddy failed inspection on a classic car because he didn't have his hubcaps on. Bryce

that sounds a bit far fetched...

That's what he and I thought. He couldn't get his antique plates until the vehicle had the proper hub caps on it (instead of steel wheels). Imagine how pissed he was!!!

tuna55 wrote:
Nashco wrote:
TJ wrote: You can come live in Alabama where there are no car inspections at all. Not surprisingly, the number of cars that appear to be unsafe doesn't seem to be any higher than states that have inspections that I have previously lived in (West Virginia, Virginia).

PA uses salt, Alabama does not.

OK, the number of unsafe cars in Michigan isn't any higher than NY. They both use salt.

I disagree. Cars in Michigan are some of the scariest, IMO...no-fault insurance, major amounts of salt, and treating cars as disposable is quite the trifecta, especially if you're somewhere around Detroit! Go shopping for 25 year old cars in New York, Michigan, and Alabama and try to tell me they're all equally safe.

I don't like inspections, at all, but I don't think their primary reason for existing is income to automotive repair shops. PA is so ridiculous with their inspections, I'm convinced it's just to piss people off.

Bryce

I have. I am certainly not going to say that a rust belt car is as good as a non rust belt car, but certainly NY had just as scary examples of 25 year old cars as Michigan.

Trans_Maro Dork
Nov. 9, 2010 10:22 p.m.

Set it on fire, use the insurance money to buys something pre-OBDII

I love my '82 Corolla

Nitroracer Dork
Nov. 9, 2010 10:54 p.m.

I think Pennsylvania yearly inspections are a bit of a rip off compared to places where you can go years between inspections or not need one at all. They always get you for something, a light here, a wiper there, little things to make a few more bucks off of you.

Oddly enough the only car I had go through inspection without a hitch was the one I bought for $100.

The majority of the cars still on the road are OBD-II and have much more longevity than the ones they replaced - We don't need the yearly inspections anymore, let me save $100 bucks.

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