Life Lesson: Pick your emissions shop carefully

This is the first in a series of blog entries where I try to pass on my life lessons to you so that you can save money or time or whatever and not waste it.

Most states have annual or biennial emissions or safety check for their car.

In Georgia, for instance, we have annual inspections of car emissions in order to conform with the clean air standards of the federal government.

So you can just take your car anywhere and it will cost you the same, right?


There are two kinds of emissions stations in the world:  those that are associated with a repair shop and those that aren’t.

Maybe you feel better getting your emissions checked out by a “real” mechanic instead of driving up to a metal frame in a parking lot, but if you do, you’re making a mistake.

Remember that what you incent people to do they will do (hence timeout, stiff penalties for DUI, etc). 

With an emissions only location such as the small metal frame set up in the parking lot, they ONLY make money on your emissions test.  Finding something wrong doesn’t make them any more money than if they pass you.  In fact, I would argue that they are incented to pass you simply because that makes you more likely to return the following year.

How about the other guys?   Well, emissions tests run $20 to $25.  Any kind of basic repair is going to cost at least $100 to $200 dollars.  Now, do you really want to incent someone to find something wrong with your vehicle?  After all, we’re talking about an emissions issue not some sort of safety issue.

It’s not just theoretical either.  While I don’t have scientific numbers for this issue, I have enough anicdotel evidence to back it up.  Quite frankly, I’ve never had anyone fail at the emissions shack, but have had lots of people who needed repairs after visiting an “attached” emissions check station.


About kentostby
Kent Ostby is a fiction and efficiency writer who is willing to dabble in just about any other phase of writing as well.

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