Most used vehicles are required by Maryland Law to undergo a safety inspection prior to its sale or transfer. Generally, the seller or transferor of the vehicle is required to obtain the inspection certificate. However, for class E trucks (exceeding ¾ ton manufacturer’s rated capacity), class F truck tractors, and class G freight trailers, semi-trailers and dump service semi-trailers, either the seller/transferor or the purchaser/transferee may obtain the inspection certificate. The purchaser/transferee then submits the inspection certificate to the MVA in order to register the vehicle.
To obtain an inspection certificate, you must have your vehicle inspected at an authorized safety inspection station in Maryland. The Maryland State Police has licensed approximately 1,600 of these facilities in all parts of the state. Most stations are authorized to inspect:
To be safe, always inquire whether the station has the proper authorization to inspect your vehicle.
It is best if you schedule the safety inspection first, by phone. Also, before you take the vehicle to be inspected, ensure that it is properly registered, either in Maryland or in another state. If you are not able to register the vehicle because it has not yet received a safety inspection, you may qualify for a 30-day temporary registration that will enable you to legally drive the vehicle to the inspection station.
The safety inspection should take about 1-½ hours for most vehicles once the registered inspection mechanic begins work. Certain vehicles (e.g., trailers) may take less time so it is best to check with the station. When the mechanic has finished, he will prepare an inspection report that shows the vehicle parts or systems examined and whether or not they have met Maryland’s standards. See Appendix A (below) for more information.
If the vehicle meets all safety standards, the registered inspection mechanic will prepare and give you two copies of the Maryland Inspection Certificate. You should take the MVA copy (green) to any full service MVA branch office and submit it with the other documents needed to title and register your vehicle in Maryland. The Purchaser’s copy (goldenrod) is for your records. If a dealer owns the vehicle, the Purchaser’s copy must be affixed to the vehicle’s window.
If your vehicle fails to meet even one safety standard, the Maryland Inspection Certificate cannot be issued. You must have the problem(s) identified on the station’s inspection report fixed and then have the vehicle re-inspected by the same registered inspection mechanic at the same station. You have the option of fixing the problem yourself, having the inspection station fix the problem, or taking the vehicle to another facility for repairs.
If the vehicle is re-inspected within 30 days after the original inspection date and you have driven it less than 1,000 miles, the inspection station will only need to inspect the defective equipment identified during the inspection. However, if a new defect is visually observed during the re-inspection, the newly discovered defect must also be repaired and re-inspected. See Maryland's regulations (COMAR 11.14.01.10 A(3)) for details. Note that the inspection station can charge you for each re-inspection, unless the repair can be visually verified. If you wait too long, however, you will have to pay for a new, complete inspection.
The fee for an initial safety inspection varies with the inspection station’s labor rate. The Maryland State Police regulate the number of labor hours billed by the station for an inspection, but they do not regulate the station’s labor rate. The fee charged for a safety inspection must be prominently displayed in each station.
The fee for the re-inspection of a vehicle varies with the inspection station’s labor rate and the specific parts or systems that need to be re-inspected. A re-inspection fee should not be charged if the repair can be visually confirmed (for example, a burned out light) unless the inspection requires jacking, lifting, measuring, or testing the vehicle. Check the station’s posted fee information for details.
Appendix AVehicle Parts or Systems to be Inspected
Vehicles - GVWR Equal to or Less Than 10,000 Pounds
Motorcycle and 3-Wheel MPV
Vehicles - GVWR Over 10,000 Pounds
1201 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21208
(410) 653.4200 | (800) 525.5555 | (410) 486.0677 (TDD)