As a sworn procrastinator, I felt it was my solemn duty to wait until the very end of the month to get my car inspected. In the state where I live, one must have their car inspected annually in order for that vehicle to be street legal. At the beginning of November I knew of a few minor things that would need to be repaired before I could even consider taking my car in for this inspection.
The biggest issue was a crack in the windshield. While this crack was not large and did not hinder my vision of the road in the slightest, I knew that even the tiniest of cracks was enough to fail a vehicle inspection. So I had the windshield replaced. Thankfully, it cost me about $50-$75 less than I’d been expecting.
Smaller issues that I felt confident I could handle on my own involved my headlights. On the driver’s side, the light bulb was completely burned out. Not something I often think of since I do 99.8% of my driving during the day. But I’ve changed plenty of headlight bulbs in the past. I knew I could handle that one again. The other headlight issue involved the plastic lenses covering the lights. They were hazy, foggy, and yellowed over from months of gunk flying in the face of my car. But that’s a problem that has any number of solutions that can be found in the simplest of YouTube videos. I went with the abrasive toothpaste technique.
I made an appointment with the dealership (where I purchased my car) for November 30 at 4:15pm. I know what you’re going to say… “Never take it to the dealership!” Look… since I bought my car there, I get free inspections, okay? I know that they’re far more likely to “find” something that needs to be “fixed” so that the car won’t pass inspection just because that’s how they operate. But I made up my mind that even if I didn’t pass inspection, I would just tell them to slap the fail sticker on the windshield and I would take it somewhere else.
With the fail sticker, I’m pretty sure I would have a couple of weeks to repair whatever caused the car to fail before taking it back for another look. But I made that appointment on the date and at the time I did for a reason… It’s the last day of the month and it’s the end of the day. No one wants to fail a car and risk having to put in extra work when they’re ready to clock out and go home, right? I figured that even if there was something minor that could cause it to fail, they might overlook it and pass it anyway.
I was talking to some friends about my apprehension with the inspection on the morning of. I said that I was pretty sure I would pass… but if I didn’t, it would be because of the hazy headlight lenses. Yes, I did use the toothpaste method to clean off some of that build-up. But it wasn’t as if I achieved a factory reset. I didn’t restore these things to “like new.” There was still some of that haze and, even though it was better than when I set out to clean them, it was still noticeable.
But one of my friends decided that it would be interesting to place a bet about what the dealership would discover needed to be fixed. He felt confident that even if they passed the car for the inspection, they would come back recommending repairs involving one of the following: tires; brakes; or rotors.
Like this guy knows more about my car than I do. Okay, he probably would if given the chance. But I just bought four new tires back in June. I had the brakes replaced last year. And I’ve never once had anyone say anything to me about rotors. So I took that bet.
The terms were that if the mechanic came back recommending I repair or replace any of the things he mentioned above, I would lose the bet. If it was anything else (or nothing), I would win. On the line? Two medium pizzas from Domino’s. And I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of a Domino’s pizza. But free pizza is free pizza and I was fairly certain I would win this bet.
And I did…
My car passed the inspection with no issues. The only recommendation that came down had nothing to do with passing the state inspection. They just told me that the outer boot on the front axle was “slinging grease” and would eventually need to be replaced. They were kind enough to price that out for me… parts, labor, plus an alignment after the fact would total just over $1,000. No thanks… I’ll take my chances.
I don’t think the wheel is gonna fall off. Though I was told that if I eventually begin hearing a clicking noise while making a turn, that’s the sign that it’s time to get the repair done. Sure… I’ll take that into consideration. I’ll also be taking it to another garage where they’ll probably do the work for less.
And that, kids, is the true story of how I got two free Domino’s pizzas for dinner last night. Oh, and for dinner tonight. And probably tomorrow night, too… Nothing like some heated up leftover pizza.