Frequently Asked Questions

Here at Auto Clinic of Maryland we often hear the same questions asked. So we would like to share this information with you.

What you should know before your state inspection

How easy is it to pass the Maryland State Inspection?

The Maryland State Inspection is one of the more difficult state inspections because it is only done once for the lifetime that you own your car. We typically like to allow 2 hours to complete the inspection and make sure that we thoroughly check your vehicle so you know you are driving a safe vehicle.
Do I always need a state inspection?

The Maryland State Inspection is needed if you are buying a vehicle, transferring the vehicle from out of state, or if you want to increase the value of a vehicle you are selling (cars that have already passed the state inspection may have more demand than those that have not passed). If you are gifting the vehicle or receiving the vehicle as a gift from an immediate family member you do not need a state inspection. The gift form you need is located here.
Do you perform state inspections in the rain?

On the advice of the Maryland State Police (who regulate the state inspection), we do not perform state inspections in the rain or with standing water on the ground. We understand that no one can predict the weather but, we will work with you every step of the way to make sure your needs are accommodated

What you should know about your emissions test

Do you perform Maryland State Emissions Tests?

Only the Maryland State Vehicle Emission Inspection Program can perform state inspections. We are a licensed repair facility to work on your vehicle after it fails the emissions test. For hours and locations of the state-run tests click here.

What happens if I fail Emissions?

When you fail emissions they will give you a printout which specifies a generic reason for failure. We have to troubleshoot that reason and then fix the vehicle. Sometimes, you can qualify for a waiver if you spend $450 on emissions related repairs and they fail your vehicle. We know this program can be confusing so we welcome you to give us a call!


What does an alignment do?

An alignment adjusts the driving angles of your suspension. The goal is to make sure that your tires and wheels are centered with your steering wheel and the road. There are three phases to an alignment, Camber, Caster, and Toe.

Camber– This is how your wheel tilts when viewed from the front or the back. A camber reading out of specification can cause inner or outer tread wear.

Caster– The caster is the measurement of the wheel front or backward when looking at the side of a vehicle. Out of adjustment caster can make the vehicle feel like it isn’t going straight.

Toe– Toe is the angle at which the wheel points. When the steering wheel is straight both wheels should be pointed straight forward. Bad toe measurements can cause tire wear!

If you are at a shop that is not performing all three phases you may still have issues when you leave! Make sure to ask about doing all three phases of the alignment!

Will an alignment fix the vibrations in my car when I drive?

No, an alignment will not fix any vibrations. While a bad alignment could eventually cause tires to wear improperly which created the vibration, just doing an alignment without replacing the defective tires will not fix your issue. Some other reasons for vibrations are:

  • tires out of balance
  • bent wheels
  • cupped tires
  • suspension issues

General Questions

What does a tune-up cost?

With today’s automobiles, a tune-up doesn’t necessarily fix everything like 30 years ago. Today’s vehicles may only need certain parts such as plugs and wires. Sometimes vehicles also require coils or other parts. We always like to check out your car first to make sure you aren’t spending money you don’t have to!

What is your price for factory scheduled maintenance?

We believe in doing factory-scheduled maintenance a little different than most. We believe in checking over your car and seeing what it actually needs. A good example of this is an air filter. Air filters are commonly recommended in 30,60,90 thousand mile services. However, if yours looks brand new and was just done 3 months ago we see no reason to replace it. Our goal is to look at your vehicle in line with the manufacturers and our guidelines and make recommendations to make sure your car is in good shape for many more miles!

What does the solid check engine light mean?

It is a standard light on vehicles that tells you something is wrong. Inside the engines computer is a code which tells what the problem is. By connecting our computer to the engine computer, we can tell the source of the problem.

Tire Pressure Sensor

A tire pressure sensor is a feature mandated by Congress.

What should you know about us?

You should know that we are professionals in our industry and treat you like the member of our family that you are. We are not the cheapest shop in town (nor do we want to be) but, we do like to think that we provide the best value when it comes to the work that we do, the level of service that we provide, and the warranties that stand behind the work that we do. We have been here since 1975 because we have some of the best technicians in our area and a customer relations staff that is top-notch!