Maryland vehicle safety inspection or not

Hi guys,
I bought a used chevy suburban 3 months ago the vehicle passed the maryland safety inspection 2 weeks before i bought, heres my problem last week I got in started it up,put my foot on the brake pedal and the pedal went to the floor. I got out and started checking the brake system,I started at the master cylinder and found that it was leaking.I then checked the rear wheel cylinders and one of those was leaking also. I went and got the parts and replaced the master cylinder and the wheel cylinder.I started it up and stepped on the brake a few times,still no brakes, at about this time my wife yelled that the engine was smoking. I turned it off and went to look at the engine and what i saw was brake fluid all over the side of the engine and the exhaust manifold. I got a flashlight and pointed it down near the exhaust manifold and i saw three brake lines in a state of advanced deterioration. one line had ruptured and all three lines were covered in large flaking rust chunks. In maryland the vehicle safety inspection certificate is valid for 90 days, which means that you have 90 days from the date the vehicle passed the inspection to register and tag the vehicle.well the brake system expired before the inspection certificate did,so in theory ,if I hadnt already registered and tagged it I could have went to the MVA the day after the brakes failed and got it registered and tagged even though it didnt have functioning brakes.Somehow I dont think this is what the state had in mind when they started the safety inspection program.
The icing on this cake is that the inspector listed the vehicle as a K1500 suburban which is the 4 wheel driver version,but in fact the vehicle is a C1500 which is the 2 wheel drive version.He couldnt distinguish the difference between a 4 wheel drive and a 2 wheel drive so its not surprising that he did such a poor job of inspecting it.

I`m going to call the place that inspected it tomorrow and see what they have to say.What I am going to ask them to do ( at their expense) is to tow the vehicle to their shop,which is a 2 1/2 hour drive from here, replace all the brake system components that do not conform to the maryland vehicle safety standards (at their expense) and then return the vehicle to me (at their expense).

Do you think I am asking to much of them?

I wont buy a vehicle that isnt already inspected so I wouldnt have bought this one had I known that it wasnt up to state safety standards.
since the shop issued the 90 day inspection certificate,weren`t they basically saying that the vehicle was in safe operating condition and would remain so for at least the 90 days that the certificate would remain valid?

Should I file a complaint with the state against there inspection liscence even if they repair the vehicle free?

Just who sold you this vehicle, which sounds like a death trap . . . ?!

I’d be tempted to ask them to take the truck back and refund your money . . .

Or give you an equivalent vehicle that is actually in decent shape

If this was a private party sale, you may very well be out of luck

Even if by some vehicle “they” fixed the brake system at no cost to you, I’d be EXTREMELY worried about the condition of the rest of the vehicle

Could be the frame’s literally rotted out

I bought it from a private party,he sells used vehicles out of his house as a business it seems.which makes me believe he might be buying the inspection certificates from that shop,thats where he gets all his vehicles inspected. I just found out that all chevy trucks and SUVs from 1999 to 2010 have crappy brake lines that rust out after as little as 40,000 miles,apparently GM has been strongly resisting issuing a recall. Im pretty sure the guy wont give me my money back, hes a cheap bastard, he left some pretty expensive tools in the vehicle.neither one of us wanted to make the 5 hour round trip to return the tools so I mailed them back to him and he didn`t even send me a check for the cost of I said,cheap bastard.

You have snowball’s chance in the nether regions of getting the shop to pay for any of this, in my opinion. They are only responsible for the condition of the vehicle’s inspected systems at the exact moment of the inspection, not a minute after. You also worked on the brake system yourself, further insulating them from responsibility.

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youre probably right thats why I already ordered all new stainless steel brake lines to replace them myself, but ill still file a complaint with the state against their inspection liscence. I know those brake lines didnt rust like that in just the last 2 months.It only has about 1,000 miles on it since it was inspected.

If I was you, after you get those brake lines installed . . . I would pay a mechanic/shop to inspect the vehicle

Tell them you’re thinking of buying it, and do they think it will pass state inspection?

Don’t bother to mention it already did. It’s pointless to do so

It’s your vehicle, and you’re stuck with it

I don’t know what you paid, but depending on how bad the truck is . . . and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in terrible shape, overall . . . it might be best to junk it, versus throwing good money after bad, or whatever the expression is

What year is this truck . . . ?

The fact it has rear drums makes me think it’s fairly old

it`s a 1999 c1500 suburban

Theoretically, a truck like this isn’t worth much, due to its age, and the fact that it was pretty common

Keep an open mind

And don’t rule out the possibility that you may be better off without it

Private party sales CAN be a great deal, but there are pitfalls. And virtually no going back, if a scenario such as yours occurs

Legally, it sounds as if you have no leg to stand on

As pointed out earlier, there is NO WAY the inspecting shop will pay for any of the necessary repairs.

Most inspectors are hoping (maybe even expecting) to get the job of fixing whatever they condemn. Your theory about the private party paying for a bogus inspection may be correct. I would write a letter to the state’s licensing entity explaining exactly what happened and have them look into it. If they’ve had more than one verifiable complaint, they will probably take action.

You are dreaming to expect the inspecting place to tow and repair the car at their expense. The 90 days is for you to get the paperwork completed and the care registered and titled into your name. It is not a guarantee that the car remains in operating condition for that time.

well there is this, so the inspectors can be held accountable for rusted brake lines even months after inspecting a vehicle.

Aug. 15, 2015

The Vermont Attorney General’s office this week charged 31-year-old auto mechanic Steven Jalbert with manslaughter and reckless endangerment in connection with the accident, which took place on July 5, 2014.

Jalbert passed the Ibeys’ car inspection in spite of rusted brake lines and a rusted frame that contributed to the fatality, investigators say. The weathered brake lines appear to have burst immediately before or during the accident, which occurred only months after Jalbert performed the inspection, according to documents filed by the state.

if the vehicle only had to stay in one peice until the inspector gets it off the shop property then there would be no point in even having an inspection program.

You obviously never paid for a prepurchase vehicle inspection. Was saving $100 worth it?


Are you willing to spend thousands of $$$ to try and proof your point? I wouldn’t count on your last point, not knowing the details about the court case you mentioned. In the end it is your responsibility to maintain the safety of your vehicle.

Each case is unique, in the Steven Jalbert inspection case he had replaced one brake line and expressed concern about the other brake lines. Three weeks later he inspected the car and gave it a passed inspection report. He later admitted that during the inspection he did not remove the wheels to inspect the brakes, perhaps he felt it was redundant because of the recent work. He also stated that the shop did not have a current inspection guide. Other factors were significant structural rust.

In your case you relied on the safety report to insure an old vehicle was a good value. A failing brake line is a safety issue but it occurred while the vehicle was at rest, your damages do not match the damages in the story. I buy and drive used vehicles and if something is missed during the purchase inspection it is my fault.

Well just because some over-eager official decides to charge someone, doesn’t mean its going to stick. We had a county attorney like that and we fired him. Suggest Vermont do the same. Absolute lunacy. Another reason why state inspections have little value except for the inspection stations.

Yup, true statement. Also true is the statement that state mandated safety inspections cost the motoring public money, guarantee cash flow into auto shops, while offering little or no benefit to the public in general.

If you had paid a shop to do a comprehensive pre-purchase maintenance inspection you might have a chance of getting some assistance with the repair of the brake lines. But a state-mandated low-dollar inspection? I say just fix it and move on.

As a side note, the shop has an out by saying that the brake lines probably failed as a result of being flexed during the master cylinder replacement.


The brake lines failed because they were in an advanced state of deterioration due to rust.That advanced state of rust didnt happen in 3 months, if its there today it was there 3 months ago.
anyhow, after sleeping on it I decided that since they did such an incompentent job of inspecting the vehicle do I really trust them to do any work on it? the answer is no,ill stick to my original plan of replacing all the brake lines myself, that way I know its done right.
Im having second thoughts about filing a complaint against their inspector liscence because if a state inspector looks at the vehicle they may decide that the vehicle isnt safe to be driven on the road since it has no brakes and they issue me a citation which would give me 10 days to repair the vehicle and have the repairs inspected by a state inspector or the vehicle tags and registration would be revoked if the repairs are not done in 10 days.

The main reason the inspection certificate is valid for 90 days is for the purpose of selling a vehicle.In my case since the brakes failed before the inspection certificate expired i could still have legally advertised it as being state inspected even though it didnt have operating brakes.Im pretty sure that`s not what the legislators intended when they implimented a sate vehicle safety program.

State regulations mandate that a vehicle with visible rust on the brake lines must fail inspection, so at the very least the shop committed fraud by giving it a clean bill of health even though there was extensive visible rust on the brake lines.

i don`t want to spend any money trying to prove that they committed fraud,at the same time though I feel bad for other people who might get screwed by this shop if they are allowed to continue their current business practices.

If he’s as big of a “cheap bastard” as you say, for all you know he forged the inspection certificate. You should certainly start low-key. Ask if they inspected the vehicle, ask if brake line inspections are part of those inspections, and THEN ask how they missed it.

Of course, all of that will be academic, because you did not pay them for an inspection, and they did not do the inspection for you, and so the only person who has grounds to complain about the bad inspection is the guy you bought the truck from, and he’ll only be upset about it if you start giving him a hard time.

All that said, it’s been touched on already but bears repeating: Never buy a used car without getting a pre-purchase inspection. It would have cost you around $100 and saved you the price of the truck plus the money you’ve already sunk into it.