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Why Can’t I Have a Maryland Vehicle Safety Inspection Performed on a Rainy Day?

Brian England, Wed, Mar 22, 2017

You schedule a safety inspection, wake up to find it’s pouring down raining, and the auto shop says it can’t perform your inspection! At first, this seems unreasonable — bureaucracy gone wild and unfair. Let’s take a closer look at the reason why.

The Maryland Safety Inspection is very complex. The standards are documented in a thick volume for the auto mechanic. Facilities performing safety inspections are also required to have the key items being inspected on a large poster for the customer. The goal is to deliver a high-quality vehicle inspection that people can rely on. That way, when someone purchases a car in Maryland, they will know they are buying a safe vehicle.

The inspection is also supposed to protect current Maryland drivers by ensuring that people who come to live in our state don’t put unsafe vehicles on the road. However, one of the failings of the Maryland Safety Inspection system is that once a car has passed, it is never inspected again until it changes ownership.  This means that there are many unsafe vehicles on the roads. The auto service and repair industry has advocated for periodic inspections, suggesting anywhere from annually to every five years. Unfortunately, these suggestions have fallen on deaf ears, and no change has ever been implemented. But, I digress, back to why no inspections on rainy days. You’ll be surprised when you find out how straightforward the answer is.

Many of the items inspected under the car require the technician to check for leaks. This includes items like suspension parts, struts, shock absorbers, and steering parts like the steering rack and lines. If these parts are wet, it is impossible to tell if they are leaking. And, it’s not like the technician can dry all these parts. That would blow the cost of an inspection sky high due to the time and labor required.  To ensure a high-quality inspection, and to keep time and costs reasonable, Maryland Safety Inspections aren’t performed on rainy days.

car up on a lift - wet day - rain or oil.jpg

Additionally, as Rick Booth, a member of our Facebook community reminded us, on wet days you can’t correctly perform a ‘panic stop’ during the brake test.

And there you have it. Before making an appointment for an inspection, check the weather forecast so that you won’t be disappointed.

We perform Maryland State MVA Vehicle Safety Inspections here at BA Auto Care on passenger cars, light truck, and SUVs.  If you need a Maryland Safety Inspection, contact us.  We’ll get one scheduled for a dry day.

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.