Here in NY state we must have a yearly inspection on our vehicles. This is not true in every state. I have no clue why. Do some states really want a bunch of rickety, dangerous cars careening around? If the lawmakers in those states spent a couple of weeks in an auto repair shop and saw the shape of some of these vehicles, they’d change their minds. What the yearly inspection really does is insist that each car get’s its annual checkup. I always contend that most people have no clue what issues theirs cars have so, coming in for your yearly physical is a great idea. People are often surprised when we show them that their brakes are nearly gone, there’s an oil leak or one of the many other things that fail.


I highly recommend that yearly checkup even if you don’t live in one of those states. There is however a scam that occurs at shifty repair shops…I know, shocking. A customer pulls in and tells the mechanic their inspection sticker is almost up and before there is even any investigation, the mechanic scrapes off the sticker.

This happens BEFORE the sticker has expired, thereby forcing the customer to leave the car behind since it can’t be driven without that sticker. Then they are given a long list of MUST DO repairs. Now, they’re trapped. I’ve gotten this call a couple of times and I’ve told them to drive the car over anyway (if you get pulled over, you plead for leniency). Of course, every time there are only a fraction of the items on that list that actually need to be repaired.

When it is your time to take your car in, just kindly mention that you would appreciate it if they wouldn’t scrape that sticker yet, just in case. If you live in a state where there are no inspections, take it in for its yearly physical anyway.

About dontgetwrenched

Elayne Kling, was the owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 25 years and recently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Elayne knows the particular ins and outs of the auto repair world and keeps up her blog because people will always need help navigating the potential pitfalls of that world. Due to the crazy NYC real estate market she has since closed down her shop and started a new business called Projects Unlimited Inc., helping other small businesses.
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