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Jul 222009

Daniel Lewis


Recently, the dreaded check engine lit up like a Christmas tree in the middle of winter. Trying my luck, I figured my local auto parts would lend me an OBDII scanner for free so that I could retrieve the error code, just as I did with my old car.

I visited my local Kragen’s, Pep Boys, and Autozone to find out that they no longer provide this service for free. Apparently, it violates some California (and Hawaii) regulatory law. Which wicked people caused this handy service to go away? They wanted to charge me $100.00, just so that the technician could give me the error code. Are you kidding me? $100.00? It takes less than 5 minutes of labor.

What seems to be unnecessary bureaucracy like this increases the ownership of an older car, one that is no longer under the manufacturer’s warranty. Considering that these parts stores rely on DIY / at-home mechanics to fill their coffers with sales, it makes even less sense that the state governments of California and Hawaii would legislate such a silly law into the books.

Is this a ploy by the states to increase new car sales? Perhaps usher in that scrappage program everyone is raving about? Whatever the reason is, there was no legitimate reason for these states to enact such laws. It hurts the consumer and the retailer. Quite a double whammy when the economy could use all the help it can get.

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