Jiffy Lube and I have a history. A history which means I will never let them do anything to my car again. But, I still go to them for inspections for the convenience. An inspection at my mechanic means having to arrange for Georg to help me drop off the car, and then pick it up again by 5. With Georg working in Morrisville that can be a logistical problem.
Jiffy Lube, on the other hand, has an office right on Franklin Street. I can drop off the car, walk over to my weekly meeting at HKB, and pick up the car after the meeting is over. Simple, right?
Not this time. I took the car to them two weeks ago for my inspection. (Which inspection was already a month overdue, my fault.) After the meeting I went to pick it up, and they told me they hadn't been able to inspect it because the registration card I had left on the dash was from last year. Last time they did the inspection with an old registration card, but whatever, I'm not going to argue the point. The new registration card was in the glove box, I had just pulled out the wrong one. They guy said he didn't feel comfortable rummaging in my glove box and I couldn't fault him for that.
They told me it would take 45 minutes, so I walked over to a nearby coffee shop. Which had good iced tea, but no free refills, the cheap bastards. I got back to Jiffy Lube just short of an hour later and, no surprise, my car was not ready.
15 minutes later I was told that my car failed inspection. Why? Because of a damaged headlight. Not the bulb, which was fine; the glass covering the headlight was broken. They wouldn't fix it, but they only charged me $8.50 and they said if I came back within 30 days I could get it reinspected without having to pay the $8.50 again.
We tried to fix the headlights ourselves, and found out that the auto parts store doesn't sell the glass, just the bulbs. Then we lived through the 2 weeks from hell, so I only just now found the time to deal with the car. Took it to my mechanic yesterday and asked them to replace the headlight and inspect it. Might as well get it all done in one go, after all I was only into Jiffy Lube for $8.50. And I asked the mechanic to do some other things while they were at: new brakes and an oil change.
Picked up the car this morning, looked at the receipt, and didn't see the headlight. I asked my mechanic if they had been able to do the inspection and he said yes. Well then what about that headlight? According to him, intact headlight glass is not a requirement for passing inspection. As long as the lamp works, the glass can be cracked or broken. I told him that Jiffy Lube had failed the car because of the headlight. "Oh yeah," he said, "they try to get you on every little thing."
This seems fairly unambiguous. A car with broken headlight glass can either pass inspection, or it can't. Therefore someone is lying to me: either my mechanic is giving me a pass when he shouldn't, or Jiffy Lube failed my car when they shouldn't. I'm inclined to believe the mechanic since we have a long history and there's a financial benefit to me if he's right. But what was the benefit to Jiffy Lube in over-enforcement? It would make more sense if they had invented a violation and then offered to do the repair themselves. But no, they just took my $8.50 and sent me on my way. It seems like a lot of hassle to rook me out of $8.50.
Come to think of it, last year my car failed inspection, with the exact same result: paid $8.50 to Jiffy Lube, then took it to the mechanic for the repair and the inspection. I think next year I'll drop my car off with my mechanic, mail Jiffy Lube $8.50, and save myself a lot of trouble. Oh, and next year I'll do it on time. Really.