State tunes up inspection system - it may hurt more
Most Vineyard motorists probably noticed little difference when the state wheeled out a new vehicle inspection program last October. Several Island service stations continue to offer inspections as usual, and the $29 sticker fee remains the same.
What changed significantly, however, are new emissions testing and safety requirements. And although the process is still relatively quick and easy, a failed vehicle inspection may now require a trip off Island to a Motorist Assistance Center (MAC). For Islanders, the nearest one is located in Bourne.
Under the new program, named the Massachusetts Vehicle Check (MVC), all vehicles registered in the state must undergo and pass a safety inspection each year. Most vehicles also must undergo emissions testing annually, instead of every other year.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) now require model year 1996 and newer passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs to undergo annual on-board diagnostic (OBD) emissions testing. The same applies to 2008 and newer medium-duty vehicles.
In vehicles manufactured since 1995, an OBD computer monitors engine, transmission, fuel system, and emissions control performance. The new MVC program provides a combined safety and emissions inspection through a plug-in test using a vehicle's OBD system.
The same test has been used for the last four years. Under the new MVC program, however, licensed inspection stations are linked to the Registry online through computer workstations. The program is capped at 1,600 public inspection stations for inspecting non-commercial vehicles, based on the number of computer workstations available.
With the state's change to the new program, Will deBettencourt, owner of Bink's Auto in Oak Bluffs, and Louis Figueroa, owner of MV Autoworks in Vineyard Haven, are the most recent additions to the Island's licensed inspection stations.
Others include Buddy's Auto and Truck Repair Service and DeBettencourt's Service Station in Oak Bluffs, Preferred Tire and Auto of Martha's Vineyard in Vineyard Haven, and Pilgrim Road Auto Repair and Cars Unlimited in Edgartown.
Bink's Auto used to offer inspections up until a few years ago. MV Autoworks was certified as an inspection station in February.