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Old 06-22-2006, 02:32 PM   #1
Tony-TX
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Default Can't get state inspection...

It turns out that my 2004 ION has an OBD that cannot communicate with the computers used at most Texas state inspection sites. This has really put me in a bind as my current inspection tag is about to expire.

It turns out that the dealership I purchased the car from says they can do the inspection, but it will require a minimum three hour wait, even if I make an appointment.

Anyone else had this problem?

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Old 06-22-2006, 02:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

I've never heard of anything like that, but each area is different. What exactly do they have to communicate with the computer for, and why is there going to be a wait at the dealer for it, that's what I find totally rediculous. Why is your ION different from everything else? We don't do anything like that here.

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Old 06-22-2006, 05:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Sounds like Texas doesn't use a system that Supports OBDII and the Controller Area Network (CAN) protocol. The Saturn ION was the first US vehicle (in 2003) to use it. So I hear.

In Wisconsin, when I had my vehicle tested last month (my 2003 didn't need testing until this year)... I was curious if I'd have a similar problem. I'd taken my ION to AutoZone a few times to have codes pulled and they couldn't get it to sync up... Probably because the reader/scanner didn't support CAN. Anyway I didn't have a problem.

You might call the local inspection site and ask about if they offer OBDII/CAN Support (Mention your have a Saturn ION). See if they can hook you up with a location that supports it. It might also be possible for them to run the same tests they do on PRE-OBDII vehicles on your ION. As long as it passes 2004 requirements... I don't see why they couldn't do this test. It will take longer then just the Computer Check my ION had to pass (Just a couple of minutes, it took longer for my Gas Cap Pressure Test).

As for the Dealership doing the test. In Wisconsin at least I've seen a Dealership "Repair" the vehicle and take it in for testing (at the Inspection Site), with Owner Approval. They had earlier "repaired" it and it failed the Test... It was taken in again, and they "re-repaired" it took it for testing themselves and got it to pass.

If your Dealership is going to do the Test... You might find out if they are just going to take it to a different Texas Inspection Site and get the testing done.

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Old 06-22-2006, 11:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

I'm in Massachusetts, and my '03 Ion 2 sedan had the same problem. I brought it to the retailer, and they rebooted the OBD computer for $80. Then I was advised to drive the car around for several miles before I got it retested. That was in late March, and I'm still driving around with a "R" sticker ( "R" standing for Rejected ). I know if I get pulled over, I'll have to pay the piper, but I've been lucky so far.

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Old 06-23-2006, 09:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

I'd contact the state DMV.

If their equipment won't test your vehicle, DMV may have an alternate tailpipe emission test available or may need to either:

1. Exempt the vehicle from all but safety inspection
2. Require GM to retrofit the models so they can be tested
3. Declare the vehicles unacceptable and require GM to repurchase them

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Old 06-23-2006, 09:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Ran into a similar problem in RI getting my 04 QC inspected - The computer was so fast it kept causing all kinds of error messages - Took almost 3 hours in the end here to get it to pass - All because the state's computers are obsolete -

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Old 06-23-2006, 10:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL
I'd contact the state DMV.

If their equipment won't test your vehicle, DMV may have an alternate tailpipe emission test available or may need to either:

2. Require GM to retrofit the models so they can be tested
3. Declare the vehicles unacceptable and require GM to repurchase them
Uh, I'd say the State DMV should probably upgrade their computer systems before asking GM to "retrofit" vehicles so they can be tested. Same with requiring them to be repurchased.

As for the dealership charging for rebooting the OBD II system... I don't understand that... That doesn't change anything with the DMV... Contact the DMV and figure out a way to get the vehicle tested. It's a problem with the DMV's system not being able to sync with the vehicle. They should know about certain vehicles that don't work on their setup. There should be an alternative.

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Old 06-23-2006, 11:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Ok I'm still confused. What is the DMV doing hooking into your computers anyway? We don't have anything like that here. We have emmisions testing for all cars under 20 years old every other year, and at vehicle transfer and safety inspections required for change of ownership. The only thing you need for renewal is $76 and if it's required that year, an emmissions test.

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Old 06-24-2006, 10:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Uzzy,

Newer vehicles (OBD II 1996-Present) have an onboard computer system that the DMV (if equiped) can use to report it's running condition. It basicly tell the DMV (or anyone with a OBDII scanner) if everything is working as it should. It can save A LOT of time and issues running the "Full" diagnostic test. If the OBD II results are funny... it might require further testing... Otherwise, you can get "Fast Tracked" along.

Last edited by lgodave; 06-24-2006 at 10:07 PM..

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Old 06-24-2006, 10:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lgodave
Uzzy,

Newer vehicles (OBD II 1996-Present) have an onboard computer system that the DMV (if equiped) can use to report it's running condition. It basicly tell the DMV (or anyone with a OBDII scanner) if everything is working as it should. It can save A LOT of time and issues running the "Full" diagnostic test. If the OBD II results are funny... it might require further testing... Otherwise, you can get "Fast Tracked" along.
Ok I know the function of the OBDII system, but I've never heard of a DMV (or in Ontario MTO) using it for a regular inspection. We don't do that here, so I was wondering why they did. What's required for non OBDII cars? A safety inspection? E-Test? I know it varies state-by-state, but in your experience what's done if no OBDII is present, or if the results are not satisfactory?

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Old 06-25-2006, 12:15 AM   #11
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

thats why i love minnesota

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Old 06-25-2006, 02:33 AM   #12
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 06_Ion2
thats why i love minnesota
Yeah!!! That is the awesome thing about MN......No Inspections! They discontinued them back in '99. Its a nice thing.

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Old 06-25-2006, 11:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
Ok I know the function of the OBDII system, but I've never heard of a DMV (or in Ontario MTO) using it for a regular inspection. We don't do that here, so I was wondering why they did. What's required for non OBDII cars? A safety inspection? E-Test? I know it varies state-by-state, but in your experience what's done if no OBDII is present, or if the results are not satisfactory?
OK, I guess this is one of those "varies state by state" (Culture) moments. You say you know what an emmissions test is? You say you know what OBD II is? I'd say I know what those two things are too. These two things are naturally ment to go togeather. It's like Chocolate and Peanut Butter folks!

Now lets agree that each "State" decides how (or not) to test vehicles. Each state can do it different from another.

In the case of WI and I assume Texas they use a combo "traditional" emmissions test and OBD II testing to determine if a vehicle is meeting local/state/federal requirements. If the OBD II system can be trusted to report "Honest" results... Then there is no need for a full emmissions test. If the results look odd, then I suspect they would do a complete emmissions test. Now, for those States and areas that don't have the equipment or desire to rely on a vehicle's OBD II system for testing... They can probably just do a full Emmissions test on ALL OBD II vehicles (Older vehicles would get the regualr emmissions test). If OBD II support is available I would think they would hook up OBD II to the testing equipment as a "Check" to make sure the test results match what OBD II is reporting. If it is off, that is something that may need attention.

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Old 06-27-2006, 03:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

In some states, like Tx(and only in certain Tx counties), if an emissions test is a component of the inspection process, they also read the computer. What they're looking for are the system readiness tests. In the old days, if you cleared the KAM, like by pulling the battery for a few minutes, it would turn off the MIL and your system would appear to be adequately maintaining emissions performance when in reality, you were but a drive cycle away from failing with an illuminated MIL.

Yes, it sucks that they don't have CAN ALDL readers but that's the nature of a government-mandated operation. They'll probably have them by 2010 or so.

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Old 06-27-2006, 07:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony-TX
It turns out that my 2004 ION has an OBD that cannot communicate with the computers used at most Texas state inspection sites. This has really put me in a bind as my current inspection tag is about to expire.

It turns out that the dealership I purchased the car from says they can do the inspection, but it will require a minimum three hour wait, even if I make an appointment.

Anyone else had this problem?
This kind of story is why many states have significantly modified or gotten rid of state mandated inspections all together, especially in states that have had trouble implementing their laws because of agency inspection costs and equipment. It seems CA and NY officials would rather fall on their swords than give any of it up, being their so PC and have more money than you know who!! But several states that have had stringent testing have had to deal with the public's complaints related to the testing cost, the time it takes, and few testing locations available that everyone has to go to for the test.

This might be a good time to pick up your phone and call your governor's office and your state representives! Complain to them about the problem you are having and the apparent lack of alternative test methods available to you. I would make it a point to ask them how you are supposed to comply "willingly" with a state law while the state is apparently unable to accomodate your car. When it is all said and done, your car met all federal requirements on the date it was manufactured, so the burden is on the state to test your car OR give you an inspection sticker! It's NOT the other way around! While you're at it, respectfully ask them what you are supposed to do if you get pulled over and ticketed for not having an inspection sticker?

Before the flames start about how calling your elected officials does no good, and how you got no help, etc., etc., please have had the past experience of having made a proper complaint directed to the proper government official! In my lifetime, I've had the unfortunate experience to have had to complain in at least three separate states, of the several that I've lived in, and all were satisfactorally resolved. You have to have your facts straight, a legitimate complaint, direct it to the proper person or agency, and use the law or logic to beat them up with! Politeness and respect go a long way too! And don't be the least bit shy about asking for "the director" or the "commissioner" of the agency at issue. Even the governor's chief of staff will take your phone call too, if you ask for him/her by name! The same thing goes for your state representive and state senator. It works! Most elected/appointed officials would rather be bitten by a snake than have a ticked off voter on the other end of the phone to deal with...especially if he/she is right about their complaint! Hearing you out, and helping you IS exactly why they are there...even if you didn't vote for him or her!

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Old 06-28-2006, 09:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

No inspections in Michigan and when I lived in Tennessee only a couple counties had them!

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Old 06-29-2006, 01:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: Can't get state inspection...

Excellent points NOLA-Vue,

If Tony-TX can't get his problem resolved simply by talking to the "Director" of a local Inspection site and figuring a way to get the ION inspected (Using OBD-II/CAN or a traditional test)... Then talking with the "Director's" boss or the person in charge of the TX Inspection Program as a whole, should get results.

There shouldn't be anything wrong with the ION. But it is possible that a system update is needed for CAN support. It might even be as simple as the person doing the first test... He/She didn't know the ION had CAN support AND didn't enable it. Since few vehicles have CAN support... it might not be easily noticed or simple to "check" off in the system. (PRESS ? 3 times, enter F3 mode, under "Advanced" select CAN mode, APPLY, REBOOT, Select SATURN ION from pull down menu!)

Good Luck,

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