I failed my Hauptuntersuchung (HU) this morning, passed the Abgasuntersuchung (AU). HU is the big "we pick your car apart into tiny pieces" inspection that German cars get every two years. I was worried about control arms and head gaskets and oil pan leaks, but what got me was rusty brake lines, a broken reflector, a twisted steering boot, and worn tyres. I paid 89.90€ and spent an hour of my time for this privilege.
I knew the tyres were risky, but the rest of it was totally off my radar. Mostly because the oil pan gasket is bad, and the car has been dripping oil for a while. Dripping anything is a huge no-no. Of course the car also likes to spew coolant when boosted (TDI), so that was another worry. Thankfully the emissions test was not on a dyno! I spent yesterday under the car removing the belly pan (both parts!), and removing the quart of oil that was hiding in it. I also had the good sense to go on a rainy day, so the car was dripping anyway.
I have four weeks to return with the defects fixed and another 12.90€. This means snow tyres, a new reflector, and clean and paint the brake lines. Also, untwist the steering boot and resecure it. None of this will be enough to force me to give up the car, I think. Assuming I don't destroy the brake lines with the wire brush.....
Total badassery: Brake dyno in the floor to measure braking force wheel by wheel, which is then compared side to side and front to back. They stuck a thermocouple into the dipstick port to make sure the engine was warm enough for the emissions test.
Silliness: They still use the old headlight positioning things that you wheel up to the car. They also checked my fog lights.