Evil grease monkeys
Peter Zinn’s article on Maine’s motor vehicle inspection system [“Let’s Rip This Instead!” December 2008] makes a solid case for junking it. Very straightforward and common sense reporting and commentary. State inspections are useless and a financial burden to most motorists. They are just a license for repair shops to rip off customers once a year. Tie rod ends must be the biggest automotive scam going.
Where do I sign to get this state-sanctioned grease monkey off my back?
— Edgar Beem, Yarmouth
Maine’s system? Fuggetaboutit!
I’ve lived in New Jersey as well as in Maine, and in my experience New Jersey’s vehicle inspection system is fairer to the driver. In New Jersey, state-employed inspectors have no vested interest in finding safety problems which don’t exist in a vehicle. There’s something innately disturbing about Maine’s system that allows those doing the inspecting to do the repairing.
My suggestion for Maine: If it must continue to require vehicle inspections, it might try licensing certain private garages as inspection-only stations. The $18 presently charged for vehicle inspections seems more than adequate compensation, considering many private facilities are profiting from charging similar amounts for oil changes. The inspection stations would not be allowed to repair vehicles they test.
Private garages and dealers not licensed as inspection stations — and chosen by customers themselves — would then repair only what is absolutely necessary for vehicles to pass safety inspection. This would be a fairer arrangement, and one financially satisfactory to all parties involved — it sure would be for drivers, who could stand to save a lot of hard-earned money over the present system.
— David Strauch, Portland