Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Whitewalls, She Said.

white wall
It's been another early morning but this time, it was intentional. I had to take my car to the mechanic for its annual inspection and it's first-come, first-served. In Maine this is always a slightly stressful experience because they look at everything from the tip of the tail lights to the depth of the tread on your tires. Anything defective has to be repaired before you get a sticker. It's a practice that goes back a few years and testifies to successful lobbying efforts by the state's mechanics.

Now, Colorado is different. All you have to do is take your car to an emissions testing center, they plug a unit into the exhaust pipe (yikes, my dog would say), and run the car up to speed. If your results are under the limit, you get a sticker. There are even drive-by testing stations that somehow measure emissions like a radar gun gauges speed. You're charged for the service when you complete your annual registration.

Ordinarily, if my car was in good condition, I could ensure passing by changing the oil or adding a can of BG 44K to a full tank of gas, running the car to empty, and refilling the tank. The older the car, the more likely there could be problems and, after a particular age, emissions testing is waved entirely. I guess they figure a really old car has paid its dues and deserves a break. It's kind of like the company that makes glasses available for free if you're over age 100. That's something to look forward to.

Fortunately, mine got a clean bill of health today with one exception: the rear tires need replacing. Since snow season is near at hand, I can have my winter tires installed, pass inspection, and everybody will be happy. Almost everybody, that is. On the drive home my car pulled me over and said, rather petulantly, that she had been wearing these tires far too long and she was getting weary of the looks she was getting from other cars. If I knew what was good for me, I'd do some serious shopping in the spring. "Whitewalls," she said, "I want whitewalls -- four of them. They really bring out my headlights."
(Image by bondidwhat via Flickr. BG 44K is a registered trademark -- this is not an endorsement.)

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