Reducing the car repair tab
There are many things a car owner can do to reduce the chances of facing a costly repair bill. One is regular maintenance, including oil changes at the factory-recommended intervals, usually every 3,000 miles or more. Another is bringing your car into a reliable shop whenever the Check Engine light comes on, to minimize damage.
Registration renewal forms usually arrive in the mail seven or so weeks before the tags expire. Cars should be brought in as soon as possible for testing by the Department of Environmental Quality. There is no charge if they fail – and an early failure provides enough time to have the car’s problems diagnosed while the tags are still current. If you wait until the last minute, you could be looking at a costly repair bill with no time to consider other options.
If your car fails the emission test, have it thoroughly checked out before authorizing any repairs. Make sure you can afford to keep it running after renewing the registration, even if you have to prioritize the additional work over a series of weeks or months.