View Full Version : Auto inspections in MD, VA and PA

10-24-2010, 09:37 PM
I've been looking at used cars and some of the ones I've found are in Pennsylvania and/or Virginia (I'm in Maryland). In order to title a car in Maryland, it will need to pass MD inspection. Is anyone familar enough with the various inspection processes to know if it's reasonable to think that if a car passes Virginia or Pennsylvania inspection that it will pass Maryland inspection?

10-25-2010, 05:54 AM
I,m not sure about PA.Va inspction is not even close to Md,they basically check the lights and the brake pads.I bought a used truck from Manassas Ford Va inspected,put it thru Md insp. had to replace ball joints 2 rotors 2 tires

10-25-2010, 07:49 AM
It used to be that PA inspection wasn't as tight as NJ's but NJ did away with safety inspections and now only do emissions every other year. I gave a car with 145,000 miles to family in VA and it passed no problem. That's the best info I have. I know that MD's inspection was close to NJ's back when we did real inspections but since the change, MD has the edge by a long shot.:redface:

10-25-2010, 07:58 AM
In PA, they do a visual inspection of the brakes - pull the wheels/drums and look at the brake linings/rotors/drums and check for leakage at the wheel cyls, check play in the steering and suspension, check shock function, tire tread wear (1/16" minimum), check that all lights work and general chassis/body condition for rust-out. It's supposed to be a reasonably comprehensive mechanical check.

Depending on where you live, if near Philly or Pittsburgh, they do an emissions inspection which on a pre-1996 vehicle is a sniffer up the tailpipe or for 1996 or later, they check the OBD-2 data from the ECU.

Since inspections are done at authorized repair shops, the inspection could be more or less detailed and "greasing of palms" can occur.

10-25-2010, 09:42 AM
In MD a lot of shops treat title inspection as an open check book. When I moved here our meticulously maintained Civic got inspection estimates of $600 (complete brake job), $350 (new wiper motor and front seat belts) and finally $35 from the Honda dealer. My motorcycle was a living hell. So were my boat trailers.

You have to play the game of spending the inspection fee several times over until somebody decides not to scam you or just pay for the scam and be done with it. Since my first experiences of shops using inspection as an ATM, we have only bought used cars through dealers as certified used cars or from Carmax.

I just don't have the time or inclination to fight with inspection shops anymore. I want to see that sticker on the windshield first or know the dealer is going to cover the cost of passing. My current truck came from out of state. But it also came from Carmax so the inspection was done by them at no cost to me. It still delayed delivery though.

10-25-2010, 07:33 PM
Oh yea, vehicle inspection stations in Florida.

There, it was about the emissions and not mechanical.

To pass, change the oil, and wait in line for an hour revving up in line at 2500 rpm in park to pass keeping the engine very hot.

Florida eliminated the annual vehicle tests there years ago, because it was a waste of resources.

It is another brilliant green idea gone awry this case testing cars.

10-25-2010, 09:32 PM
St. Mary's county Md no emissions here

10-26-2010, 08:34 AM
Emissions testing in MD is a piece of cake. And you don't have to do it for purchase. That kicks in after you license it. Even my rat Cherokee passes every time. If there is no line you are in and out in 15 minutes tops. All they really do any more is plug in the computer and look for codes.

10-26-2010, 12:20 PM
When I moved to Maryland with my maticulously maintained truck that had absolutely no problems I was handed a failed inspection report with an estimate for over $1600 for repairs to get it to the point to pass. This included a new power steering pump that was suposidly leaking yet showed no signs of leaking and a level that constantly stayed in the same place. And a complete brake job all the way around including rotors along with some other issues they claim I had. So like the previous poster said I just took it to another place paid a second inspection fee and it passed with flying colors and no issues.

10-26-2010, 05:55 PM
VA has no emissions inspections but has a fairly extensive vehicle inspection checklist. (Northern VA may have emissions...not sure) Like other states, some of the shops that perform inspections go over the car with a fine tooth comb and others are very slack. A while ago, one of my cars failed due to a broken rear motor mount. That thing was tough to get to. The piston looked fine when I finally got it out! Mechanic said they test the mounts by putting the car in gear, applying the brake and the gas and observing the movement of the engine. Good motor mounts will hold the engine in place. That is the line he gave me...don't know if it is true. I never went back to that shop again. Since I can finally afford cars with less than 200K miles on them, the inspections have been a piece of cake.

10-26-2010, 06:32 PM
I just got my Expy inspected today. I knew it had nothing wrong with it because I go over it myself to try to catch anything that's gonna cost me a lot of money if done by the shop - it passed. The whole inspection (mech & emiss) cost me $75. I am fairly sure that the mechanical part fee ($25+ $2 sticker fee?) is set by the state and has to be adhered to. The emissions part is up to the shop. I think they get less to sniff the exhaust than to plug into the OBD connector.

I have an interface module that connects between the car and a laptop w/ OBD software to read the codes. But usually, no check engine light means no problems.

I've always taken it to the dealer where I bought it and they have never screwed me - but there may be that time in the future...