&^%**&^ Maine Motor Vehicle Inspections

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mirgliP
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Joined: 01/06/2003 - 1:01am
&^%**&^ Maine Motor Vehicle Inspections

I am getting increasingly frustrated with the Nanny-state motor vehicle inspection system. Since I now have a 4 car fleet to maintain (including two teenage drivers), it is becoming increasingly difficult to get through the inspection process every year. I've been working on cars for 40 years and I know what is and is not a safety problem. The State Inspection system is a farce because:

1.) Many of the criteria in the inspection rules have nothing to do with safety.
2.) Many of the criteria have no objective standards for inspectors to follow.
3.) The enforcement mechanism for garages consists of a protection racket, where the State Police threaten the inspection mechanics with fines and suspensions over trivial infractions.
4.) All objective studies show no correlation between highway safety and motor vehicle inspections.

I can only imagine how many millions of dollars are wasted every year on unnecessary repairs.

I'm convinced that the only reason we have inspections in Maine is to keep people in newer cars that have high exise taxes.

Why not a citizens initiative to eliminate this rediculous system?

Robert
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Joined: 04/01/2005 - 1:01am
You have a procedure to

You have a procedure to remedy complaints, most people just choose not to use them.

What is your car complaint?

mirgliP
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Joined: 01/06/2003 - 1:01am
Robert, I don't understand

Robert,
I don't understand your question at all. I don't have a car complaint.

If I take the same vehicle to three different inspection mechanics, I'll get three different lists of defects, and most of the time, they are not safety issues, or are based on completely subjective criteria. The motor vehicle inspection law is unneccesary.

pmrmsm
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Joined: 05/08/2006 - 10:52am
I can think of an idiot that

I can think of an idiot that lives near my in-laws and got into accident last year and his excuse for not getting his vehicle inspected was because "I knew it would fail and it would take up to much of my time to fix it" One of the wheels fell off and he hit a utility pole.

I also look at it this way ... lets say it was the other wheel that had come off and he hit a car with a family in it coming the opposite direction. I don't think I have to go into the possible scenerios there.

Bottom line is that he ended up with some very harsh penalties for his stupidity from his accident of being without a car and legal problems to boot. There are just some people who only think of themselves and nobody else and this idiot is one of them. This guy deserved and deserves everything he is getting. There are standards that are out there for a reason and as things get more and more technologically advanced, things are going to change.

Like Cumberland County has to have emissions testing and I don't think that is right because no other county in the state does and it cost me extra to boot. Let me add to that, I live over by the New Hampshire border and just minutes from the Oxford County line. I say that if I am going have to pay for this stupid little emissions sticker, then everybody should have to pay for this stupid little emissions sticker or get rid of this stupid little thing ... just make it fair for everbody. I guess what I am getting at is nobody said life is fair and whether we like the inspection sticker program or not ... it does have some benefits as I have shown above.

EDIT:
Stop taking it to three different mechanics and stick to just one. If you have one that you trust and one that gets to know you and your cars then you should not have any problems at all. Me, I have two licensed federal inspectors in my family, but to keep it from looking how shall we say "odd"? I have them check it out first. Then I know if anything is wrong and get it fixed and then have the vehicle inspected my mechanic where I live ... no suprises.

Robert
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Joined: 04/01/2005 - 1:01am
The motor vehicle inspection

The motor vehicle inspection law is unneccesary.

No, it is not.

Mainelion
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Joined: 08/11/2005 - 12:01am
What is the procedure?

What is the procedure?

mirgliP
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Joined: 01/06/2003 - 1:01am
Robert, please elaborate, why

Robert, please elaborate, why is a mandatory motor vehicle inspection necessary? Why do only 18 states have one?

pmrmsm : You make my point. The mandatory inspection system did nothing to keep the wheel from falling off the idiots car. I have no problem with people being held responsible for the safety of the vehicle they operate, but mandatory inspections do not improve safety.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
MirgliP - can you give us a

MirgliP - can you give us a couple examples of the defects you mention that aren't related to safety? I take it these were something you had to address before getting the sticker.

As I understand it, a state inspection looks at brakes, tires, lights, horn, blinkers, windshield, the structural integrity of the car/frame, and the exhaust system. Am I missing anything, and what was the issue that you had that was unrelated to safety?

Thanks.

pmrmsm
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Joined: 05/08/2006 - 10:52am
Springs, Struts, Shocks,

Springs, Struts, Shocks, Windshield Wipers, Tie Rods, Body Rot (on doors, fenders, floor boards) ... to name a few more. If it is on the vehicle it must work whether it be factory installed or aftermarket. Remember, somethings in Maine can cause a vehicle to fail inspection because it may be illigal for use in the State of Maine on said vehicle.

mirgliP
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Joined: 01/06/2003 - 1:01am
Ok, Here is a partial list of

Ok, Here is a partial list of things that I have personally encountered that will cause a failed inspection.

1.) Any perforation by rust (no matter how small) on a rocker panel, inner or outer, will fail inspection. Even in body on frame vehicles where the rocker has no structural significance. These are perforations that DO NOT penetrate the passenger compartment.
2.) Equipment that is not required must still be functional if installed. For example, rear window wipers and washers must function, even though they are not required by motor vehicle standards and may have been optional equipment. Remember those cheesy fog or driving lights you added to your 4x4? If they don't work, your vehicle will fail inspection.
3.) ANY leakage from a shock absorber will fail inspection. Many shocks may have slight leaks and be perfectly servicable and last for years. They don't actually test the shock for damping, just that it looks OK.
4.) ANY leakage from a boot on a tie rod end, ball joint or CV joint will fail inspection, regardless of the condition of the component.
5.) Most mechanics now require ZERO lash in ball joints and tie rod ends. I've had vehicles with less than 20,000 miles fail because a mechanic is strong enough to find 5 thousanths play in a tie rod end that would probably go for another 50,000 miles.
6.)Wheel bearings ---same comment as 5.
7.) Brake lines - this is my favorite. I was having the oil changed on my wifes car yesterday, and the mechanic said that brake lines needed replacement before inspection was due. He showed it to me, and it looked great to me, some surface rust, but solid with no flaking or bulging. I questioned this, and he refered me to the criteria that there be no "pitting". He claims that the State is requireing ZERO pitting on brake lines, so he just rubs his hand on it and it it is rough...it fails.
Here is the section from the inspection manual:
Reject vehicle if the brake tubing is rusted to a point of flaking, is bulging, pitting or has welded sections. Surface rust is not a cause for rejection.

What is incredible about this one is that the State has put conflicting statements in the rules. Surface rust by its nature pits the surface of the tube, so the section contradicts itself. The mechanics, in fear of losing thier inspection license, inspect to the strictest criteria. A 6 month old car could not pass this criteria.

I could go on.........

Tom C
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Joined: 01/03/2006 - 6:00pm
We've had this discussion

We've had this discussion before, and I've advocated for getting rid of the inspection requirement, especially where we are in an economic recession, and this hits poorer people harder then the better-off.

As pointed out, most states do NOT have an inspection requirement, and there are a few studies that show NO measurable improvement in safety for states with inspections. I think that a concerted effort could get rid of this requirement.

One point that has come up is that inspection BENEFITS the state - cars that fail must be repaired, and the state generates revenue from the sales tax on new parts. Cars whereby it doesn't make sense to fix them are junked, and the state makes it's biggest boon - which is sales tax on a car sales. Car sales at one point accounted for about a quarter of sales tax revenue, I think, although I would imagine that number has been falling.

mirgliP
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Joined: 01/06/2003 - 1:01am
Stop taking it to three

Stop taking it to three different mechanics and stick to just one. If you have one that you trust

The only mechanic I trust is me. Unfortunately, the State requires me to get a sticker from an untrustworthy one.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Mirglip, thank you for the

Mirglip, thank you for the details, and the information. I can see why you're frustrated. As you said, a brand-new car that drove through one Maine winter likely couldn't pass that brake line criteria. Not with all the brine the state is using on the roads.

Earl Nickerson . Jr
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Joined: 11/24/2002 - 1:01am
A while back I had a thread

A while back I had a thread on this very issue...There was a retired state cop called Old Devil Dog on here who crowed about several studies that showed that inspections saved lives but could NOT produce them despite me hounding him for a couple of weeks...He just finally slinked away never to be heard from again...Several other posters posted links to proof that inspections did NOTHING to improve safety...If in fact State inspections saved lives the insurance lobby would be all over it and you would see it in more than just the handfull of states that require them...It is just a revenue stream for the state at the expense of those who can least afford it...If I could find it I would but the search thing sucks (sorry Scott) so I don't even try anymore...If somebody else cares to give a try feel free...

Tom C
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Joined: 01/03/2006 - 6:00pm
Put inspections in the search

Put inspections in the search box, and several threads on this very topic will come up.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
I believe that inspections do

I believe that inspections do save lives, Earl. Now, before you get all hot under the collar, let me explain a little further.

The reason I say that is because folks like me have no clue when their brake lines are REALLY about to fail, let alone many other things on a vehicle that can turn deadly if untended. I can check the fluids and my tires, and all that minor kind of maintenance, but I'm not like mirgliP, who has worked on cars for over 40 years.

Let's face it - if inspections weren't mandatory, at least every couple years, lots of people wouldn't have it done. They'd be too busy, they'd forget, and they might not have the money. Look how easy it is to forget one's registration sticker is expired, let alone something like an inspection, which people know is likely to cost them serious money, if repairs are needed.

However, having said that, I agree with mirgliP that the inspection criteria needs to be examined, streamlined, and tightened to avoid the kinds of issues which he has outlined above.

In addition, I see no reason an inspection couldn't go to a bi-annual schedule, particularly on a newer vehicle.

Watcher
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Joined: 03/23/2008 - 12:32pm
The vehicle inspection law is

The vehicle inspection law is nothing more that a revenue (read that as tax) for the State. I have not seen any reports, tests, studies et al to prove the inspections make one iota of difference in road safety. I cannot imagine how a law like this can be passed with no empirical or objective studies. Also, if such tests are really vital for road safety, why don't we require out-of-state cars pass the test before they are allowed on our roads jeopardizing Maine citizens?

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Watcher - when I was younger,

Watcher - when I was younger, a mandatory inspection likely did save my life, and that of my young son. The reason being that my brakes didn't start making a clicking noise when the pads had worn down. Usually, I hear a clicking noise if they need replacement. This time I never heard anything.

The mandatory inspection came up, and I took my car in for service. Guess what? My brakes were about ready to fail. The mechanic showed me the situation, and I was horrified.

God only knows what might have happened if I hadn't NEEDED to take the car in to get it inspected. I can guarantee you that otherwise I wouldn't have had it serviced, because I was working three jobs and taking care of a two-year old. The average harried parent doesn't take their car to the garage "just because."

Earl Nickerson . Jr
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Joined: 11/24/2002 - 1:01am
If what you say is true Naran

If what you say is true Naran then there would be more states that require them...It is simply not true..Untill the state started this crap I had never replaced a brake line or had one fail in my life despite driving old cars and trucks...Nor do I know ANYBODY who has had one fail.I have done it TWICE just in the last couple of years..You act as though if it weren't for inspections you would never take your car in for service...That simply isn't true either...

Tom C
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Joined: 01/03/2006 - 6:00pm
The mechanic showed me the

The mechanic showed me the situation, and I was horrified.

That's an old trick at the brake shops.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Earl, I just told you it was

Earl, I just told you it was true. Read my post again. The only time I took my car in* was if something was actively wrong with it, or if I had to have the mandatory inspection done.

I had no clue the brakes were that close to complete failure.

Again - you're looking at this from the perspective of a person who knows how to fix a vehicle, and pays attention to the maintenance requirements. A lot of people simply don't have the awareness, the expertise, the money, or the time.

At one point, I was one of those people. Not through purposeful neglect, but through a combination of factors I've outlined above.

* (except for oil changes).

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Tom - I got a second opinion,

Tom - I got a second opinion, and I saw all the parts.

I know what you're saying, but in this particular instance, that was not the case.

(ps - I also had confirmation from my elder brother, who does know about such things).

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Should have known Naran that

Should have known Naran that you would have gotten another opinion (hope it was from another garage). lol

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
I soitenly did, Islander. :)

I soitenly did, Islander. :) And, you can bet I've paid more attention to maintenance since that time.

Like I said, I can see where moving the inspections to a bi-annual schedule makes sense, particularly on a newer vehicle. And, certainly the kinds of issues raised by mirgliP should be addressed. Right now, the rules would appear to make it all too easy for a dishonest garage to bilk the unsuspecting.

IAC
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Joined: 06/03/2008 - 11:34am
Robert wrote:No, it is

[quote="Robert"]No, it is not.[/quote]

Robert, are you a Democrat in the Maine legislature or the US Congress or the Obama administration? You have their debating style down pat.

Earl Nickerson . Jr
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Joined: 11/24/2002 - 1:01am
So you never take your car in

So you never take your car in for SERVICE Naran ??? If it weren't for mandatory inspections you would just drive it till the motor siezes or the tires fall off ??? I'll refrain from making a woman driver joke...LOL...The stats don't bear out what your saying nor does the insurance industry else they would be all over it like the mandatory insurance requirement...But the "if it saves even one life " it's worth it applies here...

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Earl, it's not just women who

Earl, it's not just women who would drive their cars into the ground if the situation allowed. It's not even bad people... it's just human nature, and the lack of information, time, and most of all - money.

Watcher
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Joined: 03/23/2008 - 12:32pm
Make the inspection voluntary

Make the inspection voluntary as it is in most States across America. Are those other states unconcerned about the children riding around in these speeding coffins? This is another nanny state, tax raising ploy. If such inspections are for the safety of others then we must legislate annual health check-ups to be sure one doesn't have a potential condition which would cause a car accident. There seems to be no end to how dumb we are and how much we need government to make life worth living. A person who does not have their car serviced and inspected is just dumb. This is an example how even some conservative types want government o tell them what and when to do something.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
A person who does not have

A person who does not have their car serviced and inspected is just dumb.

I apologize for being a girl, whose early training included the fastidious ironing of shirts and exactly how to make a dandy pot roast. I wasn't given the same early training in such things as my brothers. I have, however, made significant progress on the "dumbness" issue over the last several decades.

If you have daughters, I'm sure you haven't made the same mistake, and have thoroughly instructed them in the necessary maintenance of their vehicles. This is a good thing.

Meanwhile, be careful what you ask for, because right now some education groupie is pondering how best to implement a new mandatory automotive-service class in local high schools. Which will, of course, necessitate a brand-new batch of teachers, AND a new, fully-equipped facility in which to show the kiddies just how to adjust their rotors, and exactly how often they should be checking their tire pressure.

Clearly, we can't leave such essentials up to parents, as my own case proves beyond a doubt.

Kinley
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Joined: 06/16/2008 - 3:33pm
A few years ago, my mechanic

A few years ago, my mechanic failed my truck because I'd stuck the registration sticker along the bottom of the plate instead of in the lower righthand corner.

Needless to say he's now my FORMER mechanic.

FXSTC
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Joined: 11/13/2003 - 1:01am
The Maine safety inspection

The Maine safety inspection is ineffective, and we are in the minority of states that continue to conduct annual safety inspections under the misguided belief that it has any impact on motor vehicle safety. Most states have simply gone to an annual emission test and use that as their method of removing aged vehicles from the fleet. The East Coast is the last holdout of this useless and archaic practice.

mirgliP is exactly correct, the current inspection process has grown into an absurd assembly of legislative input that results in frustration for owners and revenue generation for shops, little else. The process is simply an mechanic's entitlement program. Many of the items checked have little to do with safety, they are often a result of a pet peeve forwarded by a legislator and put into statute. We suffer from the notion that if an event happens once in a lifetime we need to check every car, every year to prevent it from happening ever again. Utter nonsense.

Drivers are responsible for maintaining their cars. You cannot force someone to maintain a car if they are hellbent on breaking the law. Unsafe vehicles can be taken off the road through enforcement of existing laws by the Police, and stiff fines for operating a vehicle that is in violation of statute.

The inspection program is really intended for 1950s technology, modern cars simply do not fail catastrophically like older vehicles. Manufacturers have designed components to either fail-safe or provide feedback to the driver long before a failure occurs. Let's face it, checking a car today does not guarantee that it will be in perfect operating condition for the next 364 days. It is up to the driver to take the initiative to properly maintain their vehicle, not a private mechanic. At best, we simply give drivers a false sense of security by suggesting that they require maintainence only on an annual basis.

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