Maryland Car Inspection Laws

Before buying a vehicle in the state of Maryland, it is a good idea to make yourself a bit more familiar with the local car inspection laws.

The experienced attorneys at William G. Kolodner, PA, have put together a guide to help you take in all the information you need to know.

Does the State of Maryland Require an Annual Vehicle Safety Inspection?

In Maryland, a car safety inspection is not required annually. Drivers only need to put their vehicles through a test of this nature if:

  • They recently moved to Maryland, and their vehicle is registered in another state, or
  • They just took ownership of a pre-owned vehicle
Vehicle Safety Inspection

Motorists who recently moved to the Old Line State must register their car within 60 days. They can only do so if they have the necessary inspection stickers to go along with their application. Thus, they have to get their car tested before their registration window closes.

Maryland residents who recently took ownership of a used vehicle have to register it within 90 days. The car must pass a safety test before they may do so.

Where Can Drivers Put Their Car Through a State Inspection in Maryland?

Maryland drivers who need to put their car through a safety test may visit any of the scores of inspection stations approved by the Maryland Vehicle Administration that are dotted throughout the state. People who take their car to unauthorized test centers cannot use their sticker to register it with the state.

What Happens at a Vehicle Safety Inspection in Maryland?

When motorists bring their vehicles to an inspection station in the state of Maryland, they can expect the on-site technicians to examine these parts of the car:

  • The steering
  • The brakes
  • The suspension
  • The fuel system
  • The airbags
  • The tires and wheels
  • The front and rear lights
  • The license plate light
  • The seat belts
  • The exhaust system
  • The electrical system
  • The mirrors
  • The windows
  • The speedometer

Technicians also carry out VIN inspections to ensure the vehicle does not have any history of theft.

How Much Do Vehicle Inspections Cost in Maryland?

Inspections Cost

The state of Maryland does not have any laws that dictate the amount of money an inspection station may charge drivers for a safety test. As such, operators are free to set their own rates.

Some inspection centers charge as little as $30 for a test.

Other stations bill their customers as much as $200 for the same service. The average fee for the state’s vehicle inspection is around $100.

The best way to know how much a testing center charges is to give them a quick call before visiting their location. 

What Happens When a Vehicle Fails a Safety Inspection in Maryland?

It is not at all uncommon for cars to fail the Maryland safety inspection on the first attempt. When this scenario occurs, motorists must address all of the issues outlined by the technician. 

Once they have taken this step, they can bring the car back to the testing center to have it re-inspected. Some inspection centers may offer to carry out this second test for free, but most charge full-price for this service.

Do Vehicles in Maryland Need to Undergo Regular Emissions Tests?

In the state of Maryland, most vehicles are required to have an emissions test every two years. Drivers who fail to put their cars through these tests cannot renew their registration – unless they have an exemption.

The Old Line State offers exemptions of this nature to:

  • Vehicles made before 1976
  • Commercial vehicles weighing more than 26,000 lbs
  • Diesel-powered vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Antique vehicles
  • Ambulances
  • Firefighting vehicles
  • Military vehicles, and
  • Vehicles owned by people who are over the age of 70

Marylanders who have an exemption may skip the state emissions test.

What Happens at an Emissions Inspection in Maryland?

When Maryland residents bring their vehicles to a state emissions testing center, they can expect the technicians to perform:

An On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Test

Maryland law states that technicians must carry out this test on:

  • Passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks made after 1996, and
  • Heavy-duty vehicles (up to 14,000 lbs) made after 2008

To perform this test, inspectors attach a scanning tool to the vehicle’s on-board computer and check to see if any of its emissions control parts are failing.

An Idle Tailpipe and Gas Cap Test

Car Inspection

Maryland law states that technicians have to carry out this test on heavy-duty vehicles (8,501 – 26,000 lbs) made after 1977.

During this test, inspectors examine the gas cap, the catalytic converter, and other key parts of the exhaust system.

They can fail a vehicle if they notice that any of these components are damaged or missing.

How Much Do Emissions Tests Cost in the State of Maryland?

The state of Maryland charges $14 for its vehicle emissions tests. Drivers can pay at the inspection center with a credit or debit card, money order, traveler’s check, or a personal check.

When a vehicle fails the state emissions inspection, the owner can have it retested for free. If it fails a second time, the motorist will need to pay the $14 fee to get it inspected again.

More Questions About Maryland’s Car Inspection Laws? Contact Our Law Firm Today

Do you need a little more information about the car inspection laws in the state of Maryland? If so, please do not hesitate to pick up your cell phone and call the experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at William G. Kolodner, PA. Our team will be happy to answer all your questions.