How to get your yearly car inspection and license sticker in 25 easy steps

1) notice that the sticker on your windshield expires in a week

2) have your knowledgeable neighbors explain the crazy process of getting a new one

3) head reluctantly to CESCO (the DMV).

4) get in info line

5) Have random employee tell you that you need to be in a different line and that since your car is less than 5 years old you don’t need an inspection. Score!

6) spend 45 minutes in next line. Get to front and have them tell you you need to get in a different line first. Mercifully, they tell you you can skip the line when you come back

7) get in other line. Wait 20 minutes. They give me a printout and tell me to get back in other line. Wonder why first line couldn’t just give me that sheet of paper.

8) Skip line and get back to original counter where they instruct me to get my car inspected. Wonder why first employee told me the wrong line AND the lie about not needing an inspection.

9) Have people at counter also tell you that you can save $255 by getting in another line. Tell them to write it down because you have no idea what they are talking about but saving money sounds good.

10) Drive a mile away to the car inspection place.  Wait 20 minutes. Car passes inspection. Pay $11. Get official paper to take back to CESCO

11) Get in info line again with the written note about saving money. Be confused still about what exactly this is about.

12) Have a different employee wander up and instruct you to stand in another line. They lead you to a person who knows a little English. Then another person who knows more English.

13) Have them lead you to a desk in the back. To a nice lady who wants you to fill out a form about why you want to save the money. Become really confused because you have no idea what to write. Have the nice employee who led you there write it out for you.

14) Have the guy lead you to another line where you wait to have your name called. Really get confused about what this is all about and start thinking you should just pay whatever obnoxious amount just to get the hell outta there

15) When the lady calls your name, thank God because she is the first person who can explain what the hell is going on. Learn that last October you received $300 worth of toll fines. Recall that during one trip to San Juan the light at the tolls kept flashing red, and you learned that your toll pass failed to autocharge, and ran out of money.

16) You finally understand that the people have set you up to contest the fines, and plea for a smaller fine. The nice lady explains that I may or may not receive a letter in the mail from the courthouse about a personal hearing (in San Juan). Or I could call a phone number after April 8th and see how I can just pay the reduced fine. Which I would have to do in person at this same DMV or maybe I’d have to do it in the city of Ponce (one hour away). The sticker I would buy today would be good for only three months until I get this sorted out.

17) Feel simultaneously relieved to understand and even more confused as to why this has to be so complicated.  Wonder if you should just pay the damn $300 to get this hell over with. Wonder if you understand the next steps and wonder if it’s more hassle than it’s worth.

18) Start to cry a little bit. Have the nice lady say, “Don’t cry”.

19) She feels pity for you, gives you her name, and tells you to come back and find her after April 8th with any questions. Have her seem truly willing to help.

20) Go back to one of the original lines (skipping ahead of all the people waiting there already). Pray that the security guard lady there will recognize you and help you out.

21) Still wait 15 minutes, pay for your dumb sticker, and get outta there ASAP ’cause your 2 year old is really starting to wail.


22) Go to the frozen yogurt place to eat your sorrows away, because that totally took nearly 4 hours.

23) Get an extra big serving because you know you have to do this every year for your car registration.


Trevor y mi vecino in line

24) Go back on April 14th with your hubby (who needs to get his license).  Look for the nice lady. Get told she’ll be in at 10:30.  It’s 9:30.

25) Wait in line with your hubby just cause, and at 10:35 find nice lady. Get the damn papers you need and run away screaming.

Easy peesy!


Bribe your daughter with the WHOLE bag of chips. Because she just wasted 4 good hours of playtime


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8 Responses to How to get your yearly car inspection and license sticker in 25 easy steps

  1. Ann Daly says:

    Hilarious! I just moved here from Mexico and this sounds so familiar. Your writing is wonderful, I can’t wait to read more. We accidentally went through an autoexpress lane when we first bought our car, so I have a feeling your experience may come in handy for us.

  2. Barbara Schutt says:

    Oh, my gosh, what a nightmare! I’ve heard various stories of how this process is done and how time consuming. Awful and you did it with a 2yr.!

  3. Diane Cohn says:

    Or call these folks for assistance. Their hourly rate is something like $30+ but they smoothed everything over for us when it came time to renew, we never had to set foot in an actual DMV, and the whole thing took far less time, so for us it was totally worth it!

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