July 4, 2013

Yellow Stickered

I got the coveted yellow sticker finally.  I drove my little blue in its current condition for the past 6 months and never once got pulled over for the bent hood.  Then suddenly I got pulled over twice in 3 days.  My luck ran out.  So lets just say I learned more than I ever wanted to about fixing cars, the law, and the flaky business of automotive repair.  Here's a quick summary of what I learned:
  • The police here in WA can pull you over for driving an "unsafe" car and give you a Yellow Sticker.  Which means you have pay 90 dollars to get your car fully inspected, fix everything they find wrong with it, and pay another 62 to get it reinspected.  Furthermore, the police officer may notice your tires are worn, measure the tread thickness, and give you a Yellow Sticker for that.
  • You only have to fix the things that are listed on the original inspection document.  During my reinspection, they noticed my brake lights didn't work and my front and rear engine mounts were completely destroyed.  But since they missed those items during the original inspection, I still passed.  
  • The Salvage value of my car according to one wrecker was $200, only if the front end is in great condition = Fail.  So my car is worth less than 200 to scrap.  This is the same guy who sold me a second hand door handle for $35, a rear muffler for $80, and a headlight enclosure for $110...That's $225 for only a few parts of the car.  Maybe I am in the wrong business?
  • Changing a rear muffler, tail light, headlight, installing a new brake pedal pad is easy.  Changing a door handle is a test of endurance.  Locating the engine number and cleaning it so the Mechanic could read it proved to be the hardest thing I had to do to the car.  Might as well just put a new engine in.
  • Replacing the worn engine mounts was the only thing on the list I didn't do myself.  I called about 3 places and talked to a local autoparts store owner to get leads on a 2 other mechanics.  Most places made me bring it in to get a quote.  The prices ranged from 100 dollars to an outlandish 425 dollars.  I couldn't wrap my head around not only how absurd the prices were but also the vast difference in quote price between each mechanic. Furthermore, most places were so "busy" that they couldn't get to for another week.  I looked into doing it myself, watching youtube videos, and getting my head under the hood.  I figured it was a 15 minute, maybe 30 minutes max, job to undo the 6 bolts on each mount and replace.  Which further irritated me listening the grumbling mechanics tell me it would be a few hours to get it done.  I wanted to do the job myself but i didn't have an engine hoist or floor jack so I settled on the 100 dollar guy because he could do it the next day.  Except, after we came up with a time and price, he never returned any of my 15 phone calls to tell me where to drop the car off.  So I got really nervous and worried about he entire thing.  I asked the auto shop guy in desperation if he knew anyone else who could do the job for me in the next 24 hours.  He made a phone call.  Within the hour, I had new engine mounts on my car for a meager 70 dollars of labor.  Within 2 hours, my yellow sticker was removed. 
  • Doing automotive repairs yourself is not that hard.  It just takes a little time and persistence.
  • I got really worried about the whole ordeal from the time and money aspect of it.  Then I settled down a bit- no worries.  I reasoned that I haven't written a rent check in 8 months so the dollars I saved from a half a month of rent covered the cost of my Yellow Sticker experience.  
forgot this one on my list of intense adventure videos: 


  1. They really have strict traffic rules. But if you take a closer look, it’s also for the benefit of everyone on the road. If people are driving unsafe cars, there’s a possibility that they would get into an accident. Thus, safe driving doesn’t only concern driving responsibly, but also making sure that your vehicle is in good form. All the best!

    Norma Richards @ Just Bail Bond

  2. I think $200 is quite low. I totally understand where you're coming from brother but scrap yards do have different terms and conditions. Drive safely then!