Saturday, January 21, 2017

What New Car Inspection Changes Will Cost Vermonters

Posted: Oct 14, 2016 5:08 PM EDT  
Updated: Oct 17, 2016 5:00 PM EDT  
By Cat Viglienzoni


Changes are coming to how your car gets inspected. There are new conveniences, but will it cost you more?

Starting next year, the carbon copy inspection forms at Kaigle's Citgo in Burlington will be gone. It's something Raymond Kaigle says, he'll miss.

"I like paper. I like a paper trail. And I liked the old way. It's what I grew up with," said Kaigle.

But he also knows if he wants to stay in business, he's going digital. Starting next March, every inspection station in Vermont will be using an automated vehicle inspection program. While the standards aren't changing, the method is.

What do the changes mean for you as a car owner?

There are benefits like being able to look up prior inspections for a car you're buying to see whether it has failed. And any recalls that might have been issued that you didn't know about will show up.

But it's still unclear if there will be any added cost. There is a new $2.21 fee for each car. Inspectors we spoke with say it's too early to tell whether they'll change their pricing.

And a big change is that if your car fails, the inspector will take a picture of the license plate and the repair that needs to be made.
"The changes will also make it harder for people to game the system. So if your car fails inspection at one station, and you take it to another station to get inspected, they won't be able to issue you a sticker until you get those repairs made, and you have a picture to prove it.

"We know now that there are different criteria used by different stations, and one of the things we are trying to do is to level that playing field so everybody is doing the same quality of inspection," said Robert Ide, Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner.

Ide says this program has been a long time coming. He says Vermont is one of two states still using carbon paper. Maine is the other one.

"When you think about a system that's based on carbon paper, that's really in the stone ages," said Ide.

But inspection stations will have to shell out more than $1,600 for the system. Ide says he expects some of the smaller stations will throw in the towel.

"We have concerns about inspection stations that have very low volume and whether they'll want to make the upfront investment," said Ide.

Kaigle's inspects about 1,000 cars a year. While Raymond says he'd rather stick to paper and pen, he knows this is the future.

"I think in the long run, it's going to be a good thing," said Kaigle.

He and others will get the new equipment early next year.

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