Some car owners were peeved this week when the state Division of Motor Vehicles told them to pay for repeat inspections of cars that had been checked a few months ago for safety and emissions flaws.
A rule change that took effect Monday set off the latest wave of confusion in DMV's program to realign everybody's inspection dates. During a two-year shift to the new schedule, DMV has vowed that no car must be checked more than once in 12 months.
By October, all 6 million vehicles in North Carolina should have made the change, with inspection and registration renewals coming due in the same month.
And there's an important catch: DMV won't renew your registration until you take care of the inspection first.
The windshield sticker in Phil Harris's 2003 Taurus said his inspection was due in October, so that's when he took care of it. But when he tried this week to renew his registration, DMV told him to get it inspected again.
DMV implemented a rule Monday specifying that a car can be inspected only up to 90 days before its registration deadline. Harris was told that his October inspection fell outside that window.
"It's their error," said Harris, 66, of Garner. "But they just want you to shell out more money."
Nick Wind, 25, of Charlotte was told the same thing for two cars he had inspected in July.
"I want to have my inspection honored or get my money back, so I won't have to pay for it again," Wind said.
Tracy Keel, who heads DMV's inspection program, said he won't penalize drivers like Wind and Harris.
"We're not going to make them do it again," Keel said. "They should call our call center, and we will update them in the system and get them through that 90-day window."
That toll-free number is 877-421-0020.
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