Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vehicle Inspection -Part One

As lucky owners of a vehicle in Costa Rica, we need to have our car inspected yearly by the MOPT (not sure what this stands for but translates into the government’s transportation dept). We’d heard stories about how difficult it can be to pass the inspection so Patrick decided to go a couple weeks early in case we fail we would have time to make the repairs and test again. Inspections are designated by the number of your license plate and ours needed to be completed by end of June.

So, a few weeks ago, we drove to the inspection center near Tibas. About a twenty minute drive through mostly rural area. I love this drive. We arrived slightly before 10:30 in the morning to find a woman sitting outside at a folding table under a canopy. She checked our paperwork against a list of license plates she had typed and attached to a clipboard. Apparently we were supposed to have scheduled a time for our visit. Despite the fact that we didn’t have an appointment, she handed us some papers and sent us into an office. We again handed a woman our paperwork and a few minutes later she handed us an inspection sheet and told us to pay at the next window. The gentleman charged our Visa about $20 and told us to drive around the building and get in line.

Once to the far side of the building, we were unsure which line we should wait in so we just picked the first (and longest line). Luckily, an inspector walked up and told Patrick to go to an empty lane (I think there were six altogether). These lines went through a long garage and appeared to have several “stations” each. I figured I didn’t want to sit in the car during the inspection so I hopped out to read a book at a nearby cement table/bench.

I hadn’t even finished reading one paragraph when I saw Patrick driving around the building. I hopped in the car and waited for him to tell me how in the world he had finished so quickly.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have good news. The car failed the very first part of the inspection –the visual part. He had been told that the car needed a new muffler and tailpipe. Also, the car’s tires were wide and needed to be covered with fenders –this posed a hazard according to Costa Rican laws.

After being told how long of a process this whole thing could be I was quite surprised that we were back home only 70 minutes later. Granted we had work to do on the car and had to go back but like I said – I love the drive!

Next time: replacing the muffler and adding fenders

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