The Tale Of An STK Inspection (MOT test)December 1, 2018
I consider my Yeti to be well maintained, as most are.
Yes I have spent quite a lot of money since I bought her back in April, but it hasn’t all gone on customisation stuff (or a domain name and web hosting!). There was the recent timing chain and water pump, for example. And new brakes, bump stops, oil and filters, etc.
I am proud my Yeti almost appears to look, sound and drive as if she were new
And that’s not bad considering she’s about to celebrate her eighth birthday.
Nonetheless, her statutory STK inspection (MOT test) is now due. Here in the Czech Republic an STK pass certificate lasts for two years, not one year, as in Blighty. Who knows what problems have developed since her last inspection two years ago. What horrors lurk beneath my pride and joy.
And we all know how ruthless some of these test inspectors can be!
With their eagle eye and sadistic probing equipment my Yeti could be toast at the stroke of a pen. 😮
Let’s go to the STK testing station and get this over with.
Fail or pass, it has to be done, by law.
I hand over the 1,700 czk fee (about £58) to the receptionist
Within minutes, out hobbles an elderly inspector that’s nursing a slight hunchback. He ushers my Yeti in to the emissions test area. I think he’s the only emissions inspector working here.
Once he realises I am not Czech and that I cannot speak Czech he abandons any attempt at small talk and commences his work: connecting up cables and hoses to my car, both inside and out.
He motions me to stand at the back of
his torture chamber the room. I watch everything from there.
He powers-up the big emissions computer. No doubt it is eager to tell lies about the efficiency of my Yeti’s 1.2-litre petrol engine
The old boy begins revving the living daylights out of my pride and joy and I am powerless to intervene.
And the emissions computer, sadistic contraption that it is, eggs him on: ‘more revs, need more revs, more, more’.
The old boy’s boot will bore through to my engine compartment any moment.
The appetite of this evil emissions computer is insatiable
I see big needles ping across big dials like no one’s business. I see digital numbers on digital displays race upwards as fast as any rocket that NASA has produced. My eyes slam shut when numbers hit 127.
Data, spewing out of my Yeti and revealing things about her that I cannot possibly fathom. She’s giving up her secrets. Secrets understood only by the STK inspector, and that emissions computer.
The punishment is relentless, and lasts for around 10 minutes or so
My poor Yeti has no option but to talk. To spill her guts. To give them what they want… information; data.
Occasionally the elderly inspector glances over at me. His expressions reveal nothing that comforts me. Occasionally he mumbles to himself.
What lies is that damn emissions computer telling him about my car?
Entire blocks of extracted data now change their colours on the emissions computer: (alarming?) red, to (comforting?) green.
At least, that’s how I’d prefer to assess the situation. But actually I have no idea what it all means. 😰
I see the old inspector making a note of the kilometres from my Multi Function Display. He produces a camera from deep within his overalls and takes a picture of the VIN at the foot of the windscreen.
Well at least these bits of information aren’t a pack of lies!
Then my Yeti is unshackled and the lying emissions computer is powered-down. I watch with glee, as its needles drop to zero. Its digital numbers fade to black. Its internal fan coming to a stop.
Hooray hooray the beast is dead. Well, in slumber.
My Yeti has just endured the equivalent of a supercharged rectal exam 👀
The old boy snaps a final ‘trophy photo’ of his prey – I assume for his database – at the same time as I am taking a picture.
If I could only master Photoshop, there’d be no abominable green thing in this picture’s background – believe me!
The old boy slumps at his work table and I’m fixating on his face in the hope it’ll transmit some good news.
BANG. BANG. BANG BANG BANG 😬
It’s the old boy’s ancient right index finger.
The finger is pounding letters and numbers on a keyboard – one torturous character at a time. This is surely a testament to how far plastic has come today. Even so, no keyboard in this world should be subjected to this kind of abuse everyday of its existence. How has it managed to survive for so long?
It must be a Dell!
Eventually, the pounding slows to a halt. That is when I sense the old boy wants to converse with me.
His English is limited to single words but it’s way better than my Czech:
Him: “Lun-don… super.”
Me: “Um, Prague is super.”
Him: “Buckingheem Pal-arce, Lun-don breege… good, good, eets good.”
Me: “Prague castle and Charles Bridge are also very good.”
We hack our way through a few more of these until a startling grinding sound emanates from beneath the table down by the old boy’s feet – now what?
It’s his printer. And it is spewing an A4.
The elderly STK inspector flashes me a grin at the same time as handing me an emissions pass certificate – the emissions computer had no lies to tell about my Yeti after all. Try as it did.
I thrust out my hand to shake his and he obliges, his warm grin still in place. He then points at the building across the way.
Another inspector is waiting – it’s time for PART TWO of the test! 😨
I point my Yeti at the second building and she eases up to its entrance. I pat her on the dashboard as I wait for a new inspector to emerge:
‘Well done, my beauty. Well done. Just this second part to endure then we’re going home.”
But is it behind these doors where automotive sadism really occurs? 😮
Someone somewhere presses a button and the shutter slides across. Is anybody there? I can’t see anyone.
Suddenly from a door I didn’t even realise was there, a man appears. He beckons my Yeti to approach.
His stoic expression, immaculate green overalls and equally immaculate clipboard betray his identity.
I have a feeling this STK inspector means business 😞
A quarter of a century younger (at least) than the old boy over at the emissions test building, this young punk might have something to prove.
In no time at all he’s logged in to his workstation and is connecting things to my car with a zest the old emissions inspector last possessed when the Czech Republic was Czechoslovakia and everyone here was forced to speak Russian.
The young punk motions me to stand aside and to bear witness to the torture he’s about to inflict upon a defenceless Skoda Yeti. Has he forgotten Yetis are Czech – same as he is? Any chance of that buying some leniency?
Show mercy, man. For God’s sake.
What unspeakable acts are performed in this place? 😬
With unshakable concentration the young punk surveys my pride and joy
Pen nib now meets clipboard. Prey being circled. And my mind asks itself: what is it about my immaculate Yeti (with her freshly approved emissions efficient engine) that warrants so much feverish scrutiny? 🙄
And now he’s dived below ground, clutching an LED flood light.
Is this my opportunity to take a peek at his clipboard resting on my dashboard?
To quickly erase any of his ‘Failed‘ comments and replace them with ‘Passed‘?
If only I could write in Czech.
If only I was that brazen. 😶
When another man appears – I presume it’s the next victim straight after me – the inspector clambers above ground and the two of them go off to an office.
I seize the moment and bolt down into the pit myself
I snap away photos with my mobile. I am not alarmed at what I see.
The young punk is back.
My Yeti’s wheel alignment has never seemed out of sync to me. But make no mistake… the slightest discrepancy and he’s gonna find it and mark another ‘Fail‘ down on his clipboard. 😮
I could really use some feedback now, especially the positive variety.
None comes my way.
Instead, he completes the wheel alignment test and swiftly moves to the brakes test: front first, then rear.
And I ask myself: are my new discs and pads going to perform well enough to satisfy this state henchman?
Wheels spinning, my Yeti buckles from side to side in a grotesque manner. Her entire body sways violently left and right in a gruelling spectacle. Wheels lock, one, then another, then spin again. The young punk is perched on my driver’s seat and is stabbing away at my brake pedal. Under no circumstances would I allow anyone to treat my car in this way. But what can I do?
And I bet he’s enjoying every second. 😡
I just want it to stop.
Mercifully, it does stop.
The young punk exits my Yeti not a minute too soon. So now what?
He’s pulled the bonnet and is ogling things under there, scribbling on his clipboard as he surveys.
Now checking all the lights, including beam alignment.
The codes that are etched into the tinted windows – sides and rear.
Then all four tyres – condition, and ensuring they’re for winter use (it’s December).
He fetches what looks like a scraper of some kind and kneels at my Yeti’s rear.
I creep over and watch him scrape off two stickers. From his pocket he produces new ones. He peels off their backing and places them on.
The mark of shame? 🙁
Now he turns to face me – it seems he has something to tell me
With his Czech accent and in perfect English, he says:
“Congratulations. It is my pleasure to inform you that your car has passed its STK examination today, a legal requirement here in the Czech Republic. You are permitted to use this car on our roads for the next two years.”
My arm darts out and at the same time I feel the widest grin ever explode across my face. The
young punk efficient young inspector too extends his arm and a firm but friendly handshake happens between us. His face also bears a smile.
He finishes up his official paperwork and my Yeti is free to go, with me in tow, clutching a fresh, two-year STK pass certificate.
My Yeti has endured a grilling, that’s for sure. But when all is said and done, she’s as healthy and as wonderful and as beautiful as can be.
And I adore her ( in case you couldn’t tell).
Who’s a clever girl then? 😇
Do you have any STK/MOT stories to tell?
Would you care to share and help me grow my site?