My car had an exhaust emissions problem that caused it to fail Inspection over a month ago. I took it to General Tech in my part of town, Vailsburg, the first time I'd had it serviced in a couple of years, and the extensive repairs cost $888.54! As soon as they were done, I went back for reinspection, and it failed again, by only 13 points in one category, hydrocarbons. So I drove back to General Tech, and Chuck, the boss, said that the repairs were right, but it might take a while for the fix to work its way thru the system. What I should do is put "plus" gas in the tank and ride for a week or so on it. Unfortunately, I had filled the tank just before heading for Inspection, because the level was low and I didn't want to run out of gas waiting on line. I couldn't put any more gas in until I made some room. Since I don't drive much, that took about two weeks. Then I put in the plus gas and drove another couple of weeks. When I took it back to General Tech, Chuck said it should now pass.
However, it was almost 4:30 by then, so I couldn't make it to Inspection on time, so decided to head for the East Orange ShopRite rather than back home. I had to stop at a lite at Central Avenue, and what should happen, but a cop on a Segway drives up, sees my outdated inspection sticker, and gives me a ticket. Mind you, I could see his point, in that altho I had been to Inspection twice recently, I was supposed to have had it inspected at the end of 2006. I actually got to Inspection on the last valid day, but I had a litter bag and some other things in the passenger compartment (for instance, a bin on the back seat in which I kept maps, soda, snacks and things), and they refused to inspect it, claiming that the car was unsanitary for the Inspection personnel! I thought that was a little absurd, but had no control and went away, cleaned out the car and just never found time to get back. Once a cop at a traffic checkpoint saw the sticker and said I should tend to that. But that was Newark. East Orange wouldn't let it go, even tho I showed the cop my recent Inspection paperwork and said I had just come from the mechanic but couldn't get to Inspection that day.
I suspect this is part of the monetization of traffic violations to raise funds for hard-pressed local government in the Corzine era. Just bump up fees to outrageous levels to stick somebody with the costs of government rather than raise the income-tax rates on the wealthy. The pretense is that if NJ raises the top tax rates, the wealthy will give up their mansions in Saddle River or Rumson and flee the state. For where? New York? Their rates are much higher than ours. So the Little Guy gets the bill in the form of abusive penalties for automotive trivia. Disgusting. Some states don't even have inspection. Ah, well, $130 divided by 23 months of procrastination = $5.65 a month. And there are no points against my license involved in this 'dreadful crime'. Mind you, if I had gone home rather than to the ShopRite, or if the traffic lite at Central Avenue had been green, I might not have gotten that ticket.
In any case, I still had to get to Inspection, so went Friday, getting my usual late start in the day. I rushed to get to Frelinghuysen Avenue and arrived at 4:29pm, one minute before the station was to close, but the gates were shut tite with chain and padlock, and there was no sign of anyone having entered recently. I had been there a little before that same hour only a few weeks before, and seen cars entering even after 4:30, but not this past Friday. Did the State change its policy to mean that you have to be inside the gates in time to get out by 4:30? Is this some kind of savings measure to prevent Motor Vehicle employees from getting overtime?
Finally, today (mid-month), I got to Inspection by about a quarter to four. There was ONE vehicle ahead of me, and it moved on within one minute, so I got right into the inspection building. Then, after a few anxious minutes, I got my new sticker and don't have to worry about this crap for another two years. Chuck was right. The repairs, with a little help from (Shell's) plus gas — detergents, I guess — had worked. Now I can go back to regular gas, put my map-and-snack bin and litterbag back in the car, and get back to normal.