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#1 of 218 Should "Beaters" Be Taken Off the Road?
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 03, 2007 (3:48 pm)
Do you think that badly rusted cars, or cars with smashed side windows covered in plastic, or cars with holes in their mufflers, or massive body damage (trunk pushed up to rear window, tail lights wired on, etc.) should be taken off the road here in the US?
In Germany, the Technische Überwachungsverein or TÜV is an agency that must approve the roadworthiness of German cars and trucks. They can bust you for say a rusted suspension support for instance.
Do you think this would be justified by facts? In other words, is there any credible evidence that beat-up cars are by definition more fatal than clean ones?
Keep in mind that a "beater" doesn't necessarily mean a car with bald tires, no lights whatsoever. These are obvious safety items and probably most cops would order these off the road.
How about severe oil burning? Sometimes a really obnoxious oil burner can actually pass the smog test, but not your lung test.
#2 of 218 Re: Should "Beaters" Be Taken Off the Road? [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 03, 2007 (4:01 pm)
"Beaters" as you define them, are illegal on the highways of my home state of New Hampshire. Any car with massive body damage or a rust hole larger than a quarter, broken windows etc. will not pass the required annual safety inspection. IMO that is as it should be, I was surprised to find that some states have no such requirement..
You don't define severe oil burning but I doubt any car with visible oil smoke would pass inspection here.
#3 of 218 Re: Should "Beaters" Be Taken Off the Road? [Mr_Shiftright]
by steve_ HOST
Dec 03, 2007 (4:03 pm)
I understand that the Japanese have to have a mandatory (and expensive) maintenance check when their car reaches 3 years of age, and then every other year after that. (link). It gets so expensive that many people just buy a new car after 4 or 5 years and the creampuff gets resold to buyers in other countries.
Every state inspection I've read about in the US is universally hated and politicians tout them at great risk of being defeated in the next election cycle. When I lived in TN decades ago, the program was eliminated.
My sister grumbles a bit about the annual inspection required in Virginia - it looks pretty thorough (for the US anyway - link) but I don't think she's ever failed one.
#4 of 218 Re: Should "Beaters" Be Taken Off the Road? [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 03, 2007 (5:36 pm)
If your vehicle passes your states inspection requirement it should be allowed on the road. If not it should be retired. But I would hate to see a clean 55 Chevy Short taken off of the road just because it was old. I would also hate to see all diesels taken off the road because the smell.
#5 of 218 Re: Should "Beaters" Be Taken Off the Road? [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 03, 2007 (5:48 pm)
Sometimes I think if there was a TÜV-style organization in my area with actual enforcement power, traffic volumes would fall by about half. There's a lot of dodgy looking stuff out on the road all the time.
In Germany of course there are age exemptions for emissions etc just as in NA - when a car is considered old (in a good way) must only be structurally sound and have proper safety materials (tires, brakes, unbroken windows, etc). This would cover oil burning as well, as these cars can puff a little here and there and be well within original specs - and it's not like the few remaining fintails, 55 Chevys etc are in use enough to actually impact pollution anyway. Germany has an active car restoration hobby just like in NA, and it is all with legal registration.
An impact to this similar to Japan is German used cars that don't pass muster end up in export markets, usually to eastern Europe and especially Russia. I think most MB W140s are there now.
This type of setup would probably be a benefit...I have to wonder how many crashes are caused by unsafe vehicles themselves - and I suspect a lot of the iffy ones aren't insured to begin with. However this might not be entirely so easy - as cars get better over time they age better, so a car might not have rust etc but still have physical or safety faults.
Dec 03, 2007 (7:39 pm)
if you had an aggressive program like this, you would find that half the cars checked would either be unregistered or uninsured. I am all for it. The oil smokers are particularly obnoxious. I was behind a 6 or 7 year old Taurus the other day that was blinding everyone for a quarter mile, the smoke was so bad.
I also don't think there should be an option for "resurrecting" vehicles totaled by insurance after a wreck. That is just begging for trouble, since you KNOW many people don't properly fix them, they just do enough to get them back on the road. There has to be a safety hazard to other motorists lurking in there somewhere...
I have always wondered why California has such an aggressive standard for checking smog compliance but no visual safety check.
#7 of 218 Re: I bet [nippononly]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 03, 2007 (7:50 pm)
Yes that always puzzled me, too. I walk past any number of cars and wonder how the hell they ever got registered. I saw one today (which inspired this topic!) in my rear view mirror ---- right headlight completely missing, windshield cracked right across the center, left headlight with bungie cord wrapped around it. I can't imagine what the tires and brakes were like.
SAFETY CHECKS: Great idea, I'd like to see this in every state.
SMOKING DIESELS: That's just neglect. There's no reason they have to smoke that badly. Mostly that's dirty or worn injectors and/or bad pump timing.
#8 of 218 Re: I bet [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 04, 2007 (1:33 am)
Every school bus I see smokes when leaving a light. And there is no diesel manufactured and sold in California today that you can't smell if you have your window down or are venting fresh air.
Still smoking diesels neglected or not should have to pass the state standards and if they do, they should be allowed on the road.
I thought California had a clunker buy back program?
#9 of 218 Re: I bet [boaz47]
Dec 04, 2007 (8:19 am)
It does, but it only presently covers cars that are more than 20 years old. I would submit that many a neglected car gets to be a clunker WAY before the age of 20. Anyway, that program mainly exists to get smoggy cars off the road, because smog standards 20 years ago were so much lower than today's.
If things like headlights and glass are missing, there is no doubt in my mind that stuff like brakes, suspension, and tires have been equally neglected, making the beater a rolling missile on the road, just waiting for the first unanticipated traffic problem or light rain to torpedo someone into oblivion.
#10 of 218 Re: I bet [nippononly]
Dec 04, 2007 (8:32 am)
The high cost of vehicle registration and smog checks in CA is a good reason to buy an old beater to drive. I got our 1990 Mazda 626 smogged this year before we sold it. Still passed with flying colors. The tester told me there is not that much difference in a 1990 and a 2000 car. He said he has had 5 year old cars that tested worse than our 18 year old Mazda or our 1990 LS400. We got them both smogged the same day. PZEV, ULEV and SULEV are regs that are only now becoming standard on many cars. Most of the states are still not requiring those levels of emissions.
I agree that a car running down the road with a rusted out fender flapping in the breeze should be ticketed. I guess it is not a problem in CA, at least not So. CA.