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Auto Inspections in Maryland

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 By

If you live in Maryland and operate a vehicle, it’s important to understand the laws on auto inspections. All vehicles in some Maryland counties are required to have periodic emissions tests. In addition, registering a vehicle — including a change of ownership — requires a safety inspection.

Emissions Inspections

Drivers cover 135 million miles in Maryland every day, adding to air pollution and ground-level ozone, which contributes to smog. The state’s Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program aims to control air pollution by ensuring that vehicles run efficiently.

VEIP notifies motorists when it’s time for an emissions test, and tests are administered through the program. The emissions test is required only in certain counties, including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s.

Certain vehicles are exempt, including those:

  • From 1976 or earlier
  • Weighing more than 26,000 pounds.
  • Powered only by electric or diesel.
  • Registered as a farm area vehicle, farm truck or farm truck tractor.
  • Registered to seniors who are older than 70.
  • Registered with disability tags and driven less than 5,000 miles per year.

A number of other types of vehicles, including motorcycles, are exempt from emissions testing in the state. Vehicles that are subject to emissions testing must be tested every two years.

Emissions testing may include three components:

  • A tail-pipe idling test.
  • A gas cap test.
  • An on-board diagnostic test.

To have your vehicle tested, you can go to one of 18 VEIP stations throughout the state. If your vehicle fails the test, you’ll need to have the problems repaired and the vehicle re-tested. Provide the mechanic who repairs your vehicle with your diagnostic report and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Certificate.

If the vehicle is under warranty, your dealer may make the required repairs. Otherwise, you can select a certified emissions repair facility to assist you.

Safety Inspections

Used vehicles in Maryland typically must have a safety inspection before a sale to a new owner, and the seller usually is responsible for getting the required certificate of inspection. However, for certain types of vehicles, either the seller or the buyer can obtain the certificate:

  • Class E and F trucks and truck tractors.
  • Class G freight trailers.
  • Semi-trailers.

To receive a certificate, you’ll need to get an inspection at one of the state’s certified safety inspection stations. There are about 1,600 licensed locations throughout the state, and most can inspect passenger vehicles, light trucks and SUVs, and trailers that are less than 20 feet long and that do not have air brakes.

You can schedule your inspection by phone before going to an authorized location, and the vehicle will need to have proper registration in Maryland or another state. If you cannot register the vehicle because it hasn’t been inspected for safety, you may be able to get a 30-day, temporary registration so you can drive the vehicle to an inspection station without breaking the law.

If you vehicle does not pass the safety inspection, you’ll be required to have the problem that caused the failure corrected and then have the vehicle inspected again. The re-inspection must be conducted at the same station and by the same mechanic.

For re-inspections in which less than 30 days have passed and the vehicle has been driven fewer than 1,000 miles, your mechanic will only need to re-check the defective equipment. However, if a new problem is found, that problem also must be fixed and re-inspected. The inspection station may charge you for every re-inspection unless the mechanic can verify the repair visually. After 30 days, a new inspection may be required.

Salvage Inspections

If a vehicle has been classified as “salvage” in any state, Maryland requires that it undergo a thorough salvage inspection before a title or registration can be issued. Inspections are conducted at eight locations throughout the state, by appointment only, by the Department of State Police’s Salvage Inspection Unit. Appointments can be scheduled online.

At the time of inspection, vehicles must be in a “roadworthy” state, meaning that they operate by their own power and include all major parts. You must have a salvage certificate to get the inspection. Vehicles that have already undergone salvage inspections in other states may not require one in Maryland.


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