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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  1. #1

    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.

  2. #2

    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.

  3. #3

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. #5

    "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?

  6. #6

    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!


  7. #7

    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.

  8. #8

    Past performance is no guarantee of future success.

    Still FAIL.

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