I have never before owned a car in a place that cared about my car's emissions. The Mitten does not care (it is Car Central). Rwanda does not care. Universe City might care if it were bigger. And I didn't have a car in New York or last time around in Gone West.
Now I do have a car, and I live in Gone West again. They care about emissions here.
My vehicle registration expires this month. I had to look at the last registration to be sure of the date, because I'm used to the Mitten method of having the registration expire on your birthday. Not so here. Here it expires on the date that the first owner originally bought the car, which happens to be August 16 for my car.
I didn't get the paperwork for my registration in the mail, presumably because I forgot to change my address with DMV until a month or so ago, so I had no reminder of this registration expiration thing. I just vaguely remembered that it expires in August and got paranoid about driving it on any date beginning with August, and vaguely remembered that I had heard people talk about the emissions testing here.
My car needs a new muffler and probably some vacuum system thing replaced, so I figured I ought to get those things fixed in order to have a hope of passing. Only, well, my bike is also broken, so I need my car. And I am leaving for the Mitten on Tuesday, so I don't have much time. And I don't have a mechanic here yet. I asked the K.s and a friend at work and everyone said they knew someone but no one ever got me the info. So.
I read up online on how to pass the test. They suggested nonsense like fixing any problems with the car, but again: no time!
They don't charge you if your car fails the test. I had nothing but a couple of hours to lose by trying it.
Instead of actually fixing my car, I drove around in circles for about 20 minutes, and then got on the highway and drove about ten miles north and back, all to get the engine properly warmed up and lubricated, and then I got lost getting off the highway trying to find the place.
By the time I made it to the testing center, it was 12:40. It closes at 1 on Saturday. I held my breath and hoped for no line.
Brilliance: there was no line, and my car passed. How? I have no idea. I can only assume that the standards are lower than I expected. (All vehicles from 1996 on have the same standards.)
Now I just have to take an afternoon off work to go wait at the DMV to renew my registration. I can't do it by mail or online, thanks to the lost-in-transit renewal form. It's just me and the take a number system. Yippee.