2 years ago in October I moved to Arizona. Mostly broke, I waited as long as possible to register my MINI in the state that I now call home. As long as possible ended the day after I received a fix it ticket for expired tags. Let it go, it was a bad time.
All of the registration stuff was painless and took less than 3 hours to complete the first time around. I went to the DMV to get things started and get in line. Part of that wait to wait even more to get my MINI inspected at the station next door to my DMV.
Born and raised in California, we invented emissions controls. California is the reason why we don’t have a MINI D in the states. California is copied by about a dozen states, and has vehicle emissions requirements that are more stringent then the Federal government. You can thank me later. Anyway, getting a vehicle inspected in California was always a nail biting chore. Between the visual inspection, the tail pipe sniffer and other tests, you were lucky if you passed on the first time.
Sometimes it was something as simple as an oil change to clean things up. Or the dreaded O2 sensor. Or a leaky gas cap. It seemed to me that it was always something when it was my turn to get a smog check.
Not so in Arizona. In fact, I wouldn’t even go so far as to call it an inspection. More like a tax with the added inconvenience of spending an hour in line to pay the tax. Sure, they jack into the OBD port to check for fault codes. They also make sure that there is a gas cap installed and are probably supposed to test it. But they don’t look under the hood and they don’t sniff the tail pipe (on pre-1999 cars).
Of course I passed. I bet a 2000 Honda with an almost blown headgasket, complete with the spewing of oil soaked smoke, could pass. It’s not an inspection.
It would be better if ADOT added an "administrative fee" to my registration. If it makes them feel better, I can even pay that at a drive-up window, burger joint style. But to make me wait so that a "technician" can see if the check engine light is on is a little much. Especially when they charge me $28 for the test.
I really have no room to complain. My yearly registration is only $53 on Roxy (because of her miles and age). And it’s not like I can’t afford the $28. It’s insulting to get a test that’s not a test at all.