Where vehicle inspections are concerned, there can be confusion in the DC area as to whether it is legally required. The answer can be equally complicated; it's "yes" in some cases, and "no" in others. Until 2009, a vehicle registered in DC had to go to the only District-sanctioned facility for an inspection. That changed after the recession hit, as the city sought to cut costs by eliminating "state" inspections. Drivers were thankful, until they were cited.

DC Requires Vehicle Emissions Testing

Although vehicle inspections are no longer required in DC, federal law says that vehicles must undergo biannual emissions testing. Inspectors no longer look at tires, taillights and brakes; they hook cars up to a machine. If the car passes the test, it's a $10 charge. The change in procedure has resulted in shorter lines, as has the online reservations system. If a person moves to a neighboring state, they may have to learn about the legalities of Virginia or Maryland vehicle inspections.

Testing in Maryland and Virginia

Maryland and Virginia have different laws on vehicle testing. Both states require inspections, and both follow federal emissions guidelines. Drivers should check with the respective state to find a facility that can do a maryland vehicle inspection. Virginia's inspections cost $16 for a non-commercial vehicle; drivers can find state-approved inspection facilities in various places.

The rules of Maryland vehicle inspections fall somewhere between Virginia's and DC's. Inspections and Germantown auto repair are required before a used car can be sold, and there are over 1600 state licensed technicians. However, the fee schedule is complex. There's no standard pricing, and mechanics can set their own rates. Generally, though, inspections cost up to $100.

What is Included in the Cost of a Maryland Auto Inspection

Certain things are to be expected during an inspection. A certified technician typically starts with the engine. They look for transmission fluid and oil leaks, missing and loose bolts, and premature wear on drive belts. The car's electrical system gets evaluated, including taillights, headlights and warning systems. A vehicle inspection may seem routine, but there is really nothing routine about paying a significant amount in fines after being caught with an expired inspection sticker.