me and the BMV…who the heck goes there on a Friday afternoon?

So as usual I have to get an e-check on my old Toyota (2003,) and get new registration. I managed to put the procedure off until the last minute, thought I carried the paperwork around in my purse for months.

The e-check attendant was polite and sweet as he could be, until he announced that the <check engine> light that pops on and off…was on… and no amount of old lady charm could dissuade this public servant from his duty to reject the e-check.

I went from e-check place to my chosen mechanic, who does not have an opening for appointment until July 26. I had been there twice in the past year or so having them check the <check engine> light. Of course they never heard of me or my car, and the computer not only did not know me…it didn’t care.

Boot-stomping and hand-wringing would be counterproductive in this case, because the old-lady card doesn’t work on women who are themselves age-peers. So there was nothing for me to do but follow through on getting the check-engine light righted. To do that would take longer than the time before the current plates run out, July 13, it would be necessary to obtain a 30-day permit so the car could be driven legally about two more weeks.

Now here’s the thing. On the last visit my son and I went in (on an appointment) and waited in the little customer waiting room for a diagnosis of the infamous <check-engine> light. On that occasion, about a year ago, when the mechanic came out and announced that there was nothing going on regarding the light. He also stated, and I quote: “the check-engine light will come on and go off for numerous reasons, and unless there is something else wrong with the car it isn’t necessary to come back in every time the light is on.”

As fate would have it, although my son was with me throughout the rather lengthy wait, he had left the little room to visit the restroom. My daughter had not yet arrived to pick us up, had it been necessary for the car to be admitted to the shop, so I was alone to hear the diagnosis from the owner himself.

Well… the owner actually told me that he did remember me…but not my son. He reiterated the advice about not running back into the shop every time the light popped on, as long as otherwise there were no problems with the car.

However…no matter any of that, the two-week wait still applied.

(Please note: I know what my options were, but I want to deal locally, and I want to build a relationship with this dealer. Our former mechanic shop closed down a few years ago when the owner died or suffered other debilitating circumstances, and his son did not want to continue the business. OK, that is conjecture on my part, but the bottom line is that my old mechanic is no longer available. I refuse to go to the Toyota dealer in the next city, because I know the flashing “she’s backkkk” light will signal that the cash cow is back. My sister-in-law, who passed the car to me when she no longer could drive safely (94 or 95 at the time,) had the dealer on speed-dial, and her Toyota was legend.

Besides—I rarely drive anyway, daughter lives next door, so being without my wheels for awhile is ok.


So I went to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, where upon entering a person assigned a number and determined why I was there, and a page of instructions. Go back to your car and wait for a message on cell phone. Upon reading the instructions, I realized that I would need the title to the car, which was back home. Then I rushed home, (about 15 minutes drive,) grabbed the title, and returned to the BMV.

About two hours later I got a text message: “Go into the lobby and wait.” Another brief wait (about 10 minutes) they called my number…I proceeded to the window where a friendly, courteous county worker proceeded to give me my 30-day tag to put in the rear window until I could have the appointment with the mechanic. That only cost $20 and assorted extras.

P.S. In the event that the light is off long enough for me to get back to the e-check site, I will be able to finish the adventure relatively quickly.

4 thoughts on “me and the BMV…who the heck goes there on a Friday afternoon?

    1. Our local BMV place has always been pretty well organized, but with Covid19 the work flow has suffered. I have waited til near the deadline before, but never failed the e-check before. Then my mechanic retired and/or died, and he was the only one in the world, so I have to be on someone else’s waiting list for status position. (my word)


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