City Desk

When Not to Get Your Car Inspected

Last Saturday, I figured I'd take advantage of the D.C. DMV's expansive hours for automobile inspections. I set out for the Half Street SW inspection site just before 11 a.m., expecting, perhaps, to wait a bit before handing over the car to a friendly inspector.

Best laid plans. The line just to get on the grounds of the station snaked around nearly three blocks. Figuring I could brave a wait, I queued up. Twenty minutes later, I hadn't moved. And ten minutes after that, I was at Costco.

Though I am sure that some DMV inspectors are enjoying vacations at this time of year, I hold the department harmless. The agency's Web site, after all, features this warning:

The best times to visit the station are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoons from 3 pm – 6 pm. Customers are advised that the days before and after a holiday and most Saturdays are especially busy due to many customers being off from work.

But what's with this inspection appointment service? Anybody ever tried it?

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  • sara.h

    when i moved back here last summer and had to switch over my registration, I went to have my car inspected in the middle of the day during the week. i was there less than 30 minutes total, including the time it took me to clean all the papers out of my car before handing it off to the inspector guys.

  • sjf

    While it's pretty idiotic to have a single inspection facility for a jurisdiction as large as the District, I think it's equally absurd to think that it *won't* be very busy on a Saturday at 11 a.m.

  • Jeff

    I booked an appointment for my inspection and reinspection. The first time I moved to the front of the block-long line and they let me in a separate line... it probably cut my wait from like 2 hours to 30 minutes. The second time they just made me get in the regular line, but then they moved me up since it was a reinspection. Anyway, it doesn't hurt to make an appointment.

  • Inspection expert

    I went in the middle of the day--two and a half hour wait, my car literally died just before it was to be inspected (they had to jump start my car twice while I was in line) and they passed me anyway. Two years later, I go at around 8 in the morning, no line.

  • Tsion Kop

    "got there around 11 AM" are going to the DMV dude, DC DMV at that. "expecting perhaps to wait a bit"...what planet are you from?

  • Skipper

    Duude, I went to see Batman on opening day! And the line at the Uptown was like, HUGE dude! I can't understand it! Why would there be such a long line? It's DC, dude! There should be a line that long at that time of day! It totally bummed me out!


  • Erik Wemple

    Fellows: I'd done the same exact thing before--Saturday, prime time--and I was in and out in 45 minutes. So that's the basis, if you must know.

  • Skipper

    Past performance is no guarantee of future success.

    Still FAIL.