Maryland State Inspections–What You Should Know Before You Go

As I scrolled through my social media feed, I came across a thread from local woman in our community who was looking for a recommendation of where to take her vehicle for a Maryland State Inspection. She could easily have Googled “Maryland State Inspection Laurel Maryland” and more than 5 million results would pop up!

“About 5,050,000 results (0.77 seconds)”

The fact is, there are approximately 1,600 inspection stations licensed throughout the state with roughly 3,000 Certified Maryland State Inspectors. I love reading who the members in my community recommend and why–I constantly want to improve what our clients receive and it helps to know what is happening right here in our “back yard.” One of the comments on the thread really jumped out and stuck with me. It read “good luck…Maryland safety inspection will steal your money every time.” I could not help but think how sad it is that this is the impression our vehicle safety inspection system has created on the nearly one million commuters it is designed to protect.

That’s right–ONE MILLION COMMUTERS. In 2018, there were 1,037,976 commuters who reside in Maryland AND work in Maryland–so excluding Marylanders who travel to D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania for work that is a vast number of vehicles on the road. On average, approximately 750,000 vehicles are inspected annually. That is not a nationwide statistic. That is right here in Maryland–3,000 inspectors doing their part to help ensure that one million commuters stay safe.

The most common thing I hear from clients when they bring in a vehicle for a Maryland State Inspection is how it was just inspected in another state and passed. What you may not know is vehicle inspections vary at the state level and in some instances at the county level within the state. The Maryland State Inspection program was created and is enforced by the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division of the Maryland State Police. While there are 100 SAFETY POINTS that are inspected, tested and measured, unlike some other states, it is performed only ONE TIME.

Maryland State Inspection Report

I will admit, it is among some of the most stringent processes and when administered correctly you can rest assured that your vehicle is safe to be on the road. Once certified, you not only should have peace of mind, you have also improved the resale value of the vehicle too–a Maryland State Inspected vehicle tends to look more attractive to a buyer than one that is offered “AS-IS.”

After achieving your certification, the Maryland Automotive Safety Enforcement Division believes it is up to you, the vehicle owner and motorist, to maintain your vehicle in a safe operating condition. That, my friends, is why you only have to perform our rigorous inspection one time. Should a police officer (local, county or state) feel that your vehicle poses a risk while on the road, you will be pulled over and given a S.E.R.O., or a Safety Equipment Repair Order. With so many vehicles on the road, this system allows Maryland to have a robust inspection program and a way to maintain those standards without putting its citizens through such a tedious process every one or two years like many other states.

Did you know that Maryland State Inspections are tech-savvy? In June 2014 electronic inspections were launched in an effort to streamline the inspection and MVA registration and license plate processes. Maryland State Inspectors can now perform inspections electronically as well as submit the inspection report and certification instantly to the MVA. Like any system, it has pros and cons. I, personally am a huge fan of the electronic inspection system especially since I prefer to operate under the three Cs–Good for the Client, Good for the Car and Good for the Company. My client receives a Maryland State Inspection report in their email inbox instantly, as does the MVA. The certificate is electronic as well and my client has the option of entering the certificate information in a kiosk at the MVA which could eliminate long lines and shorten wait times. Secondly, performing the Maryland State Inspections electronically has reduced fraud on a state-wide level. A vehicle can go from station to station and inspection reports can be compared by the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division immediately if need be. Finally, the electronic Maryland State Inspection process has reduced paperwork–less paper inspection reports and paper certificates. PLUS, if my client ever needs another copy of their report or electronic certificate, it can be emailed within a matter of minutes!

You are probably thinking, great–thanks for all of the statistics…but I shared this information with you for many reasons. For my clients, I represent many things from a customer service representative that addresses your concerns and needs to a vehicle care specialist that makes recommendations for repairs, service and maintenance to keep your vehicle safe, dependable, enhance your vehicle performance, and extend its life expectancy–and so much more. However, as a Maryland State Inspector, I am an agent of the State and I am responsible for meeting the rules and regulations that the State of Maryland has outlined. My clients know (and our Google Reviews show it!) that taking care of them is what matters. I want to set an expectation with you. I want you to know that going into the Maryland State Inspection process, while a big deal, is not as hard as it seems. I am not out to “steal your money.” I identify any areas of concern that may be deemed unsafe. I give you the information you need so your vehicle may pass inspection. More than that, this is your vehicle and you are my client–I am committed to informing you of the best way to maintain, service and repair your vehicle which will exceed the standards that Maryland has mandated. For what you invest in your vehicle and count on it to do for you, you deserve no less…right?

Even with all of this being said, inspectors are human–we are not all-knowing and infallible. I use my inspection book all of the time to ensure that what I pass or fail fits within the definitions and guidelines. I report to a Maryland State Trooper, or T.I., to ensure quality control. Each Maryland State Inspection is performed the same way, every time for consistency and accountability. My clients deserve the best and so should you.

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It was a typical Tuesday night in our family—we were all gathered in the living room waiting for Mama to finish cooking the meatballs. We sat around talking while the evening news played in the background. Here I am, mid-sentence and the news anchor breaks into a story about a nation-wide tire recall (watch the newscast ) Seeing as a majority of my time is spent in the auto world, my attention naturally turned to the news. I was completely floored by this newscast–“more than half—56%–of recalled tires remain in use.”

allbrandform2Apparently, only 1 in 5 defective tires are actually being taken off of the road through the safety recall processes that are in place. Now, I’m thinking how on earth can this be?  Here is what I know: whenever you purchase tires (regardless of where you purchase them from) a card like the one pictured above should be filled out and mailed in. This is the only way tire manufacturers can notify you if there is a recall on your tires. The vendor (the shop or store who sold you the tires) should have this card, fill it out and mail it in for you. MAKE SURE TO ASK IF THIS HAS BEEN DONE! It could very well save your life.image

Me, my purpose, and my page…

Most six year old girls play with Barbie dolls and doll houses. Not this girl. I was at the shop packing bearings with my dad or crawling under our family minivan with him while he changed our oil. I was completely fascinated with how things worked and lucky enough to have an ASE Master Technician for a father.

When I was eight, my dad decided to start his own company—A. Anthony’s Mobile Vehicle Service. He bought a large trailer, outfitted it with all of the tools he had accumulated in his 30 years of turning wrenches and created one of the first mobile vehicle services in our area. Some of my best memories are going with him from company to company, watching while he serviced entire fleets of vehicles and getting to be his helper.

At 14, I got my first summer job…at my dad’s shop. His company had grown to become both a mobile service and a fully operational shop catering not only to fleet vehicles but private customers as well. I started in the office answering phones and by the end of the summer, I was service-writing, building estimates, and even learned basic bookkeeping and payroll.

By my senior year of high school I had amassed enough credits to attend school for a half-day, signed up for the work study program and of course, I worked at the shop. I was sent to the Automotive Training Institute for service advisor and shop owner training. Over the next several years, I continued building on my skills with hands-on training in the shop, technical automotive training, and business studies at the University of Maryland. I worked hand-in-hand and side-by-side with my father and took his philosophy as my own core purpose—treat our clients like people…like family.

By 2007, I had become a certified Maryland State Inspector—one of very few female inspectors in the state at that time. Shortly after that, my father stopped coming into the shop and I began running the day to day operations. Today, we have a large shop in Laurel, Maryland that boasts a superior reputation. I truly take pride in providing more than just quality customer and automotive service. My passion is in giving my clients a personal touch. I take the time to show my clients what their vehicle needs and to teach them how automotive systems work. I take the time to get to know my clients and their expectations. I cannot imagine providing service any other way.

This industry is evolving and my team and I are evolving with it. “Grease in Her Veins” is part of my evolution. I want to share my experiences, my knowledge, and my tips with you. So please, come along for the ride and welcome to our family.