Only A Government Agency Could Come Up With a System This Convoluted and Inefficient

I’m in the process of buying a used car. The guy I’m buying it from is in Irvine, and I’m in Santa Barbara, so it was a bit of a trick to test out the car and make sure it would be good (for those not local, it’s about 2 hours driving). I managed to arrange to go down when a friend is driving down anyway, so I can inspect the car and take it to a mechanic in the area. Also, it needs a SMOG check. In CA, the DMV assures me that the seller is required to certify the vehicle, but the seller in this case didn’t have time to take it in before I get there, so I said I can do that at the same time the mechanic checks it, as long as he pays for it.

Alas, it fails SMOG. One of the NOx tests comes back as 573 PPM when the limit is 560 PPM. Since I am unwilling to buy the car until it passes, he offers me this: I take the car now, but he retains title until it passes SMOG. Whatever needs to be done to get it to pass (probably not much), I can get done, and then I will pay him the agreed upon price less whatever the SMOG fix costs. This saves him having to deal with the tests and saves me the four hour round trip (with a friend) to pick up the car later.

A few days later, I take it to my mechanic, and he looks at the SMOG test that was done, and he says that it doesn’t even need to pass the NOx test in Santa Barbara. There are apparently two different SMOG tests in CA, Basic and Enhanced. Irvine is Enhanced, but SB is Basic. Worse, Basic is not technically a strict subset of the Enhanced tests, so I we can’t just ignore the test that failed (and isn’t even included). It has to be tested again. Even if it had passed the one in Irvine, it would have to be tested again to register in Santa Barbara.

But, of course, he can’t test it yet, because the SMOG test equipment is all electronically linked to the DMV or the BAR or someone, and when he puts in the information for my car, it refuses to do the test because, of course, that’s an Irvine car :rolleyes:

So, the DMV’s website claims that you can’t buy a car unless it’s been smogged, but the only way to get it smogged is to have it registered in your name… which you can’t do until you buy it.

The apparent solution is going to involve at least two trips to the DMV and another trip to my mechanic. RRRRrrrgh.

Please tell me it’s a cool car, at least. You know, to make it worth the hassle.

Just from the thread title, I was thinking “This has gotta be about the DMV” :smiley:

Once you get this sorted out, have a stab at transferring personalized plates from Car A to Car B and getting new random plates for Car A. Not an unlikely scenario - you want to sell a car with personalized plates but keep the plates for the new car? When I did this three years ago, I had to:

Fill out form to remove PP from Car A and “retain interest” in the PP. What? “Keep” isn’t good enough?
Fill out form to obtain new plates for Car A, checking box that says the original plates were lost. There was no option for “put on a different car”
Fill out form to get PP for Car B.

It took consultation with two other DMV drones for the clerk to get a handle on the plan. Once you sort it out, it’s perfectly logical, except for the technical lie about losing the plates.

Go home with the requisite plates, year tabs and registration cards and swap plates around. Two weeks later, get duplicate set of the PP in mail. Guess we missed a “don’t make new plates” box. :confused: Thought about putting the nice new PP on the car, but once I realized that the car was registered with the yearly renewal tab sticker glued to the original PP, and there was not a replacement sticker with the new plates, I decided against taking another trip to the DMV for one for fear of having to tell this absurd story to a dispassionate window clerk for fear that they’d need to consult with two more clerks and I’d wind up with another set of plates.

It’s a '96 Rav4. I’m quite happy with the car, it’s just the process that needs some work.

Man, I;m in my own car problems right now. The scenario:

Back in December my car died. I had it through college, and I was not suprised it went the way of old yeller. I needed a new one right away, had not the cash on hand to get one now, and couldn’t even wait for loan paperwork to go through. So, I borrowed my dad’s car for a couple weeks, then he payed for a car for me from the dealer. So, naturally, everything was in his name. It was ergistered in his name (VT plates, but I; live and rive it in NY) the title is in his name, and it’s under his insurance, though I am listed as the primary driver.

Now, I finally got enrolled in a good credit union and put through the paperwork to start a loan (I would haev done this earlier, but I moved in amy, and there was no sense in enrolling and getting a loan and then having ro change my address with them. It was hard enough for all my current things (and my CC company STILL doesn’t want to admit that I moved…))

Anyhoo, I send off the loan info and get a call at work from my loan agent. he spouts off this and that (among other things telling me I had two colelction notices on my credit report from two companies I have NEVER had dealings with personally. So now I have to get my credit report and dispute this.) But she basically just says "fax the sale agreement to this fac address numbernumbernumber etc… and put attention Jill. Thank you, have a nice day. click. I didn’t even get her telephone number, or even a last name to contact her back at, and didn’t have a chance to tell her I already ahve the car, I just need the money to pay back my dad, basically.

Well, I call up dad and tell him, and he starts looking into the insurance part of it, how it will work if the car’s in my name, and basically finds out that the car has to be in either his or my mom’s name, but can also have my name, and he also tells me I am on the title with him. So now I have to get money to pay my dad for my car so that the title and registration can go from having his and my name to having my and my mother’s name, and somehoe get it registered in NY but with her still being in VT and with a VT insurance, and somehow track down this “Jill” person to explain to her that I alreay have the car and can’t send a pre-sale agreement and have her send the loan to the dealer, she just needs to send $6000 to either me or my dad and start sending me a bill. Argh! So complicated!

(As to why I’m on my dad’s insurance: it’s cheaper. I pay him what it costs to have me on there, and even with me as primary driver, it’s still cheaper than getting insuracne on my own. I’ll wait for my next car to do that, when I’m older and have a nice clean record.)