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Alas poor Tempo, I knew ye well.

2004-10-27 - 12:42 p.m.

I know the title is a misquote (and would be even without the Tempo switch), but the essence I’m trying to convey is that my car is dead. It still runs fine, has less than 100,000 kms on it, isn’t excessively noisy, starts easily even in the coldest weather and could get me from A to B with no problems; nevertheless, I can no longer drive it.

Why is that, you say?

Because of the damn EMMISSIONS TEST. The one that wouldn’t apply next year because my car would be too old to bother testing (they only test cars that are less than 20 years old and my Tempo? Is an ’85.). The one that they’re phasing out because it’s NOT WORKING and just PISSING PEOPLE OFF, (Why yes, I’m one of those people.) but they can’t they can’t just get rid of it now, ooooohhh noooo, because they have to appease all the garages that bought the emission-testing equipment with which to hose us.

Why can’t I get a conditional pass? The one where you fail but then have a diagnostic run and once you spend a total of $450 they give you an “ok for now” stamp?

Here’s the problem. In order to fail the test, THEY HAVE TO BE WILLING TO GIVE YOU THE TEST IN THE FIRST PLACE. And they don’t have to hook your car up to the machine if it’s blowing “visible smoke” in the first place. I admit, my car occasionally coughs out a puff or two, particularly when it’s first started up. And I know that a person who tries to be “green” – which I do – should probably get a car that doesn’t do that. And I want to, just next year. You see, J and I are thinking of getting another house next year and we’d like to do so – and qualify for the mortgage to do so – without the extra strike of a debt for a car hanging on our credit rating. The timing is terrible. And really, the thought of being FORCED into buying another car, when my current one RUNS JUST FINE just galls me.

To me, cars should be sent to the big junkyard in the sky when they have a massive breakdown and the cost of the repair is more than the value of the car. They wheeze their last gasp, the tow truck trundles them away, you get 50 bucks for the scrap weight, and then you move on and look for a replacement.

I’m not entirely convinced that I need to buy another car. I only drive mine maybe once or twice a week. I may try the bus for awhile and see how it goes; maybe rent a car for the Christmas holidays if need be. I’m even considering keeping my car in the garage until January and then renewing the plates when they won’t need the emission test. I could, I suppose, also try another garage and see if they’d be willing to let me fail the emissions test so that I can do the repairs and get the conditional pass. Still, this whole situation is very frustrating.

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