I just spent a frustrating morning getting my old A8 inspected by the always impressive NJ DMV.
The car is in great shape and should have breezed through without a hitch. After all inspections in NJ now require nothing more than plugging into a socket on the car and reading the result off of a screen.
A little alarm bell did start to ring when the DMV inspector had to quickly disappear because the owner of the car in front was chasing him screaming “YOU BROKE MY F****** CAR!” (sic).
The inspector finally came back to my car about 10 minutes later and the following exchange took place:
DMV: “I’m sorry Sir, but your car failed because we were unable to get any readings from the computer.”
Me: “What does that mean?”
DMV: “I don’t know, but we see it a lot.”
Me: “I have an OBD2 reader at home. It reads this car just fine. Can you try it again?”
DMV: “It will just give the same results. Computers don’t make mistakes Sir.”
Me: “I work with computers, and I can tell you that they make mistakes all the time.”
DMV: “Not these computers. Computers are dumb. They just do what they are told. When there are problems it is usually caused by people.”
Recognizing that this guy was not going to re-test it, and didn’t even realize what he had just said, I decided there was no point in staying.
I should mention that I had the exact same problem with this facility 5 years ago when they were unable to read the computer of my 911. I just brought the car back a week later where it passed without issue.
I reasoned that if the nearby Jack Daniels Audi dealer could read it then I might have a chance. I stopped in at the JD service desk where I had this exchange:
Me: “Would you be able to plug a reader into my car so that I can prove to DMV that their reading is incorrect”
JD: “Yes, but I will have to charge you $147 to do that.”
Me (blinking): “You charge $147 just to plug a machine into my car? Really?”
JD: “Yes Sir. It’s very…technical and involves WiFi and Downloading things. That’s why it costs $147.”
Next stop was at a local independent service place. These folks were very nice. He couldn’t fit me in today but told me that this is the 3rd car this week that had the same problem after visiting the DMV in Paramus. He suggested trying another DMV.
A quick drive to the DMV in Lodi (arriving literally as they were closing) and 5 minutes later I had a shiny new sticker showing I was good for another year.
Which leads to the question…am I allowed to charge DMV for wasting my time?