December 9, 2006
Driven crazy
Just home from Orlando, I left the apartment today only to pick up groceries (read: tomato sauce and wine) to find that my beloved car needed to be reinspected by this Tuesday.


When she failed her initial inspection, the actually very helpful DC DMV peeps gave me a bright orange paper that outlined the "drive cycle," a series of steps designed to both 1) reset something or other within the bowels of the car so she can pass with an A++, and 2) humiliate the victim driver, who must go through the following hoops suspecting inclusion on some new version of Punk'd WHILE LIVING IN A MAJOR CITY WITHOUT TRUE BACK ROADS.

Please don't skip a line. You can't really appreciate the full magnitude of the insanity until you read each and every line. Or, rather, DRIVE THEM ON YOUR BELOVED FIRST DAY OFF. Ahem.

Accelerate part throttle to 36 mph and maintain speed for 50 seconds. Decelerate to 20 mph.

Accelerate to 30 mph and drive for 4 minutes. Decelerate to 20 mph.

Accelerate to 36 mph, drive at 35 mph for 2 minutes. Decelerate to 20 mph.

Accelerate gradually to 26 mph and drive for about 3 minutes and then decelerate to 20 mph.

Accelerate to 27 mph, drive for 3 minutes, and decelerate to 20 mph.

Accelerate to 26 mph, maintain speed for 5 minutes, decelerate to 30 mph.

Accelerate to 23 mph and drive for about 4 minutes, then decelerate to 15 mph. Accelerate to 28 mph and back to 15 mph.

Accelerate gradually to 34 mph. Vary speed between 34 and 19 mph for 5 minutes. Vary speed. Decelerate from 25 mph to 15 mph.

Accelerate to 29 mph, drive for 3 minutes, decelerate gradually to 20 mph.

Accelerate gradually to 28 mph and drive for 5 minutes back to 20 mph. Accelerate gradually to 27 mph and back to 20 mph.

Accelerate to 24 mph and drive for 3 minutes decelerate back to 15 mph. Accelerate gradually to 22 mph and back to 10 mph. [Emphasis not mine, but I can personally, without a doubt, certify it as excellent placement nonetheless.]

Accelerate gradually to 30 mph, drive for 5 minutes then decelerate to 20 mph.

Accelerate to 25 mph and drive for 5 minutes, decelerate back to 20 mph.

Do not shut the engine off after the drive cycle has been completed and during the drive cycle!
Has your head exploded yet? Oh, right. I forgot that one final step.

Just prior to completely losing it, mostly due to the stares and ridicule and middle fingers of fellow drivers on 395 who somehow fail to comprehend that hazards mean I probably won't be speeding up, so freaking pass me already, asshat!, drive on empty stomach on verge of hypoglycemic crisis with engine still running and minimal gas to one and only DC Inspection Station to find that they closed only minutes earlier and the computers are already shut down. Please come back on Monday morning at 6 am, when we'll be more than happy to serve you.
Oh --
And be a peach and repeat the drive cycle before you come in again.



Blogger Nancy Drew said...
Anonymous Jorge said...

I would recomment passing your inspection by opening a drive-thru window at your local driving through their window.

Blogger Wicked H said...

Jeeez. That deserves a whole case of wine!!!

Welcome Back.

Anonymous janet said...

I have no clue how that shit is supposed to help cleanse your car, but as someone who went to the DMV on this nice Saturday and came home emptyhanded only to have to go back NEXT Saturday, I kinda feel your pain.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand what they're getting at, but their "procedure" is absolutely f'ing retarded. All this is supposed to do is get your car running at it's highest normal operating temperature, which in theory gets the emissions equipment up to its best functioning temp too.

You can do the same thing by taking 15 minutes time before you go to the test shop and run your car as hard as you can (assuming no traffic, of course). Any sort of vigorous driving that gets the catalytic converter nice and hot will do - that hot converter will do its thing and you'll pass with flying colors.

Good luck with that.

Blogger Kris said...

Sweet Lord, JD, I might make out with you. And then follow with the rest of you.

Blogger Danielle said...

that's ridiculous. here are more instructions... open mouth. insert wine. swallow. repeat.

Blogger JordanBaker said...

They should also have provided you with a handy map of remote suburbs where you could actually go through this rigamarole without getting shot by a frustrated fellow driver.

Blogger Megarita said...

That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. You did this on the beltway???

Blogger Sizzle said...

it's like you need a partner to read off the next task on that ridiculous list. why can't they do it for you, those mechanical geniuses?

i wonder if it is all a cruel joke played upon poor unsuspecting drivers?

Blogger TrappedInColorado said...

Wait a minute. Did you not have a date with the neighborhood dog dude? Where is that post, missy?! :) I really like your style.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! I stand corrected. This is actually a real procedure designed to reset Volkswagen emissions sensors. I thought Germans were supposed to be good engineers. This is the most laughably retarded design I have ever heard of.

Blogger Kris said...

I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only one who thinks this is ridiculous. Meg - I actually did this on a combo of 395, the GW Parkway, and at National Airport. Being at DCA really helped with the 10 mph moments, although I'm pretty sure circling the airport 351 times gets you on some sort of Federal list.

Blogger Kelly said...

Sounds like a great time! Eeesh.

Oh Please tell me this is a joke. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.


Blogger JordanBaker said...

This template is easier for me to cope with. The psychedelic flowers were making me a bit uneasy.

Blogger Luck o' the Irish said...

Holy crap. That makes Maryland look like a shining star of efficiency. And sanity. Scary.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those people are effing insane, not your readers, the DMV assfaces. My beloved Miata did not pass inspection a few years ago (he had been sitting in a garage for a few years whilst I traipsed around Greece) and the friendly DMV guy told me to go hole, disconnect the battery, wait 5 minutes, reconnect the batter, start the car. Reset clock and stations, then drive for about 30 minutes before coming back. I did this and he passed with flying colors.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered just sleeping with your local DMV Inspector? Not that I'm suggesting you do that. Nor am I saying that I happen to be a DMV Inspector. (Because I'm probably not.) But, you know, as long as we're brainstorming here..

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those instructions are worthless.

It's probably just that your blinker juice is low or your muffler belt is loose. I can fix those easily for a couple of hundred bucks.

If you were able to accomplish those erratic driving maneuvers without either getting shot or asked to take a field sobriety test, you may want to buy some lottery tickets and push your luck.

Blogger Brookelina said...

They don't require inspections in Florida. It's actually quite scary when you think about it.

Anonymous Evil Genius said...

Do they expect this to be done while sober?

Nope. Not gonna happen. This is a gift from f**cking DMV hell!!!!

Indiana doesn't have inspections either. Time to either buy a new car or move!!!

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