It’s time for more helpful information on Maine State inspections, including the controversy surrounding them.
Getting your motor vehicle inspected can seem tricky. You may have questions about whether you have a grace period, where to take your vehicle, and how Maine determines whether an inspection service is performing proper inspections.
Let’s dive in.
When is My Inspection Due?
The convenience of having a motor vehicle sometimes seems outweighed by all the things that go into keeping it up, such as preventative maintenance, tune-ups, and other activities. In addition, there are recurring legal obligations such as renewing one’s registration or here, getting your vehicle inspected.
Whether it’s your car’s maintenance or legal obligations, avoiding deadlines is better. Laws are constantly changing, and you don’t want a penalty for not registering your car on time or failing to get it inspected. The primary reason for getting your inspection on time is that your vehicle may need repairs to ensure it is safe to drive.
Do We Need Motor Vehicle Inspections?
While inspections are required in Maine, that doesn’t mean the subject is without controversy. One of the biggest concerns about inspections is whether they must be made annually.
For example, The Maine Policy Institute recently issued a report questioning some conventional wisdom about inspections. The report listed several reasons why inspections aren’t as helpful as they’re made out to be:
- A majority of states do not require inspections
- Some states that require inspections only require them once every two years
- Only 3% of motor vehicle accidents in Maine from 2015-2019 were due to mechanical issues.
- Studies suggest inspections are problematic. For example:
In one study, researchers in Pennsylvania intentionally created 13 defects in a brand new car prior to inspection. Among the many garages they visited, the detection rate of real defects varied widely, from 25% to 54%. Interestingly, while mechanics on average only found five of the 13 defects, they also “found” an average of two non-existent defects.
Some critics of safety inspections argue that routine maintenance can sometimes detect safety concerns. While this remains debatable, there is an inspection-related benefit to having your vehicle serviced regularly.
A trusted auto technician can let you know if you have anything that needs to be replaced or tuned up. They can also advise you whether you need repairs that may worsen to the point where your vehicle won’t pass inspection.
Trust is a significant issue when dealing with auto repairs. Indeed, a AAA survey determined that two out of three individuals do not trust auto repair shops. As the survey noted, the good news is that nearly the same number of people surveyed report they deal with a shop they trust.
If people are concerned about an auto repair shop, chances are they will also be concerned with ones that do inspections or inspection stations. After all, the object of an inspection is to ensure your vehicle meets Maine’s requirements.
The purpose is not to look for repairs. Unfortunately, that is a common concern among motorists when they bring their vehicles in for an inspection. How are they protected from inspectors who claim there is unsafe equipment when none exists?
Even if an auto repair shop or inspection station works on the up-and-up, they may not be proficient at spotting problems. As we’ve seen, some studies suggest inspectors fail to find defective equipment.
How does a person know whether an inspection site is legitimate? The good news is that Maine’s Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit oversees anyone within the state that performs an inspection:
This unit is responsible for the administrative testing, licensing, investigation, and regulating processes associated with over 2,600 inspection stations and 8,000 inspection technicians in Maine.
The integrity of Maine State inspections is taken seriously. Maine’s Department of Public Safety employs field inspectors. These inspectors:
are also responsible for station audits, as well as the investigation and administrative action against inspection stations and technicians who fail to comply with Maine’s inspection laws and rules.
Dealing With Problem Inspection Stations
Unfortunately, some individuals do not obey the state’s requirements. What should you do if you find yourself in this situation? You can file complaints by visiting this website or contacting the Maine State Police Traffic Division Inspection unit by e-mail, phone at 207-624-8935, or by writing to:
Maine State Police
Traffic Division Inspection Unit
20 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0020
More Information about Maine State inspections
Check out two other blogs for more helpful information on Maine State inspections. The first and second blogs cover frequently asked questions. Inspections are essential to ensure your car is running safely. They are also required by law. Don’t put yourself into an unnecessary legal problem by ignoring your inspection.
If you find yourself in the Lewiston, Maine, area, bring your vehicle to Berube’s Complete Auto Care for an inspection. We can answer all your questions. If your vehicle needs any repairs to pass Maine’s inspection requirements, we will give you a list of repairs and how much it will cost. You can rely on our highly-trained technicians to perform the repairs if you choose to.