MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The check engine light in your car is causing lots of problems in Memphis. Since last fall if the engine light is on, the car must be repaired before being inspected.
The cost of repairs can be hundreds of dollars, and there are people who say they can't afford to keep their car on the roads because of the changes. The people in charge of inspections say tough, it's the law.
One of the joys of living in Memphis is once a year you take the old girl down to get inspected. We're talking about your car, of course.
Sometimes she creaks and moans, sometimes she sputters, most time she gets a thumbs up. But since last fall, they won't approve your car if the check engine light is on.
Melvin Parker owns a garage directly across the street from the downtown inspection station. He sees lights every day, about 10 a week, he says. He also says it's pretty expensive to fix.
A check engine light could mean a lot of things, and many times it has nothing to do with the cars emission system. And that's the point; the computer system used at inspection stations replaces the old emissions check.
Thank the feds for that, by the way. According to Public Services Director Janet Hooks, the city is mandated to do inspections this way. She told city council members that the inspection changes have been ordered because the Memphis air is often dirtier than the Mississippi River.
The trouble is, Memphis is the only place that is forced to do these tests, and the only place where a check engine light can keep a car off the road.
But Memphis City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert pointed out, "Memphians aren't the only ones polluting this air."
Maybe not, but the new tests are only in Memphis. And if your check engine light on, you fail.
Councilwoman Janis Fulliove told abc24.com, "I have had so many calls from people unable to pass inspection because their engine light will not go off."
It's not fair, says Councilman Lee Harris, and it is keeping people struggling for every dollar off the road.
"People shouldn't have to go traveling around town to get that engine light checked out. I don't like that," he said.
This issue is picking up steam because so many of you are steamed. Council members have been told there's nothing they can do, but they'll meet in several weeks to see if that's true.