Maryland Vehicle Inspection in Annapolis, MD | AutoStream Car Care Center

Know Before You Go: What to Expect for Registration, Renewal, and Inspection Station Visits

Inspection Expectations

Most states require vehicles to meet certain standards. In about 75% of states, this is an emissions requirement, while it’s a safety checklist in about 33%. Maryland requires a bit of both. AutoStream Car Care Center in Annapolis, Maryland, can help you navigate the nuances of the legalities that allow you to keep your automobile on the road. We understand the rules, we’re a state-approved inspection station, and we can even help with repairs if they’re needed to bring your car into compliance.

The Specifics

If you purchase a used car in our state or transfer your registration from another state to this one, you’ll need a safety inspection prior to registration. The mandate includes multiple areas to check, each with its own subset of standards. One example of this tiered approach is the braking system. One of our ASE-certified technicians will check the parking brake and minimum brake pad thickness (at least 2/32″) that’s needed for the anticipated stopping distance. He/She will also check additional mechanical aspects such as the hydraulic components, brake linings, linkages, and drums or discs (relevant to the type of brakes your car has). Also, the mechanic will check the steering, suspension, wheels, tires, lighting, electrical parts, and fuel system. The safety feature checklist includes seat belts, mirrors, windshield wipers, etc. Once the initial registration safety checklist is completed, the inspecting technician will also check the exhaust system for proper function as part of the state’s emissions requirement. This system will need to be checked every two years again to renew the auto registration.

Perhaps you’re wondering if the requirements cause a lot of trouble for drivers. While it is true that not every vehicle passes on the first attempt, the great news is that the most common causes for inspection failure are usually easily addressed. In fact, you can be mindful of some of these issues yourself, even if you don’t consider yourself to have great mechanical ability, letting us know something needs fixing as it occurs rather than on inspection day. For instance, you’ll likely notice if your automobile has a light that’s no longer visible. Often, that’s just a bad bulb–a headlight past its prime or a little bulb in a turn signal. That’s an easy fix that should be attended to as soon as you become aware of the issue. Further, be mindful of your tires. The bare minimum acceptable tread depth is 2/32-inch. (Keep in mind that you may need more than this in certain conditions to achieve adequate traction between the rubber and the road.) If you know that your tires need replacing, do this ahead of time both for your own safety and so that your vehicle doesn’t fail the safety inspection. The same is true for your wiper blades. Do you see visible issues such as chips or tears in the blades? Take care of that. It will allow you to drive more safely in the rain, and it’s a point on the safety inspection checklist.

Inspection Assistance

AutoStream Car Care Center is here to offer inspection assistance to you. As a sanctioned Maryland vehicle inspection station, we’re glad to check your car for you. Should you need repairs to meet the standard (either before or as a result of inspection), our team is here to help with that, too.

Written by Doug Grills