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Old 01-07-2011, 11:58 AM
 
Location: NC
256 posts, read 403,944 times
Reputation: 83

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My license plate tag expired in Dec.
I have the check engine light on that I need to fix.

Can I drive the car with expired tag to the repair shop to get the check engine light fixed?

Also I am told I need to drive the car around for 50 miles or so after fixing before I go for inspection? (But my tag is expired! and renewal needs emissions to be passed)

Seems to be a catch 22 situation.

Can I go to inspection now, fail the test and then drive around to get the repairs done? (I'll still be driving around with an expired tag. But I'll have the inspection failed letter (and the fact that I have 60 days to fix) to show in case I get pulled over.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Cary
483 posts, read 965,955 times
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Can I drive the car with expired tag to the repair shop to get the check engine light fixed?

-Yes. Are you asking if you can get pulled over and cited? Yes, but odds are low.

Also I am told I need to drive the car around for 50 miles or so after fixing before I go for inspection?

-Yes, supposedly 50 miles are required before the ECU will give a valid report during the emissions test.

Can I go to inspection now, fail the test and then drive around to get the repairs done? (I'll still be driving around with an expired tag. But I'll have the inspection failed letter (and the fact that I have 60 days to fix) to show in case I get pulled over.

-Yes
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:24 PM
 
2,108 posts, read 4,034,141 times
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I'm not sure ... but I would definitely do the inspection first as the failed receipt at least looks like an attempt to get things corrected.
I also don't believe you pay any more for having to make two trips to the inspection station. If you delay inspection past a certain date the DMV will levy a fine (essentially replacing the police in this activity)

As far as your check engine light ... depending on what they do and the age of your car you may or may not need to drive it before reinspecting. The check engine light is set when one (or more) or a number of computer checks on your car fail. To prevent folks from clearing the codes (easily done with an OBD-2 tester) and heading directly to the inspection station a number of "readiness indicators" (completed tests) need to be completed by the computer to pass inspection. Completing these tests, especially in cold weather, takes some time (miles) as they are only triggered under certain conditions.
Check engine lights can be triggered by something as simple as a loose gas cap (the system actually checks that the fuel system is air tight). I believe that gas caps and O2 sensors are still the two most prevalent triggers.


Hope this helps ...

Frank
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:42 PM
 
Location: NC
256 posts, read 403,944 times
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yes I have a P0430 cat efficiency below threshold. This is a pita and takes about 80 miles of driving to re-check.

So if I have the failed inspection report (which gives me 60 days to fix), I can drive with expired tag... ?

If I get pulled over show the cop that failed letter and tell him hey I need to drive 80 miles before my Car's computer will be ready?

Jokes apart, I don't know what else to do. (they do send the renewal thingy 2 months prior, but my check engine came on just in time!)
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:09 PM
 
335 posts, read 532,826 times
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Here are few important points:

1. Depending on the model of your car, say 1996, you can have two codes and no more. If it is a latest car you can have no more than one code (this is old info that I have)
2. Depending on the make and model of your car, you get automatic waiver from DMV. For example, 1996 Nissan Altima has a known problem with the codes. So, if the inspection station is knowledgeable, they could bypass emission stuff and give you pass inspection report. If the inspection station is not knowledgeable then you can go to DMV and get a waiver without any issue immediately
3. Per the DMV rules if you get caught while driving with expired tag, you will be fined
4. If you spend about $250 (I believe) related to fixing what is causing the light then you get a waiver
5. If you get not ready codes now and run the prescribed miles and if it shows not ready again then you would get a one time waiver from DMV

My points except 2 are old. So, you may check with DMV. I have had very pleasant experiences with DMV as the officers (and the DMV office as a whole) are very courteous and nice to talk and deal with

Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,039 posts, read 1,286,815 times
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Just my experience, may or may not work for you.

My check engine light has been on for 4 years now (I get the code that indicates a gas cap leak - bought a new gas cap, didn't solve the problem).

I noticed that when I unhook the battery for a half hour it resets the "check engine" light. I have taken in my car and passed inspection with as little as 20 miles.

Like I said, your experience may vary, but it works for me.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:27 PM
 
2,108 posts, read 4,034,141 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcretro View Post
yes I have a P0430 cat efficiency below threshold. This is a pita and takes about 80 miles of driving to re-check.

So if I have the failed inspection report (which gives me 60 days to fix), I can drive with expired tag... ?

If I get pulled over show the cop that failed letter and tell him hey I need to drive 80 miles before my Car's computer will be ready?

Jokes apart, I don't know what else to do. (they do send the renewal thingy 2 months prior, but my check engine came on just in time!)
Just so you know ... the "cat efficiency" code doesn't always mean the cat is bad. OBD-2 compares the O2 sensor reading before the cat with the O2 sensor after the cat. If the signals are the same, OBD2 *assumes* your cat isn't doing its job and raises that code. It could still be as simple as a bad O2 sensor.

As far as driving, technically you have an expired tag. But DMV has really assumed enforcement of that via the new process. Keep the failure receipt with you in the car ...

Good luck,
Frank
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Location: NC
256 posts, read 403,944 times
Reputation: 83
Also, Can I sell the car with an expired tag? (expired back in dec). I was planning to anyway...

Last edited by gcretro; 01-07-2011 at 02:38 PM..
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:18 PM
 
Location: NC
256 posts, read 403,944 times
Reputation: 83
Just called the DMV... fyi....

So they do sell a 10 day permit for $5.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:51 PM
 
5,150 posts, read 3,475,222 times
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Keep in mind that tags actually expire on the 15th of the month after the sticker does. So if yours ticker says "12" you actually have until the 15th of this month.
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