Bill would allow inspections every other year

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 25, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

At least one of Suffolk’s inspection stations views Del. Scott Lingamfelter’s proposed bi-annual inspection of vehicles as a two-edged sword. While it saves the consumer time and money, it could result in major repair bills that occur more frequently.

&uot;If consumers would follow the manufacturers’ guidelines on how to care for their vehicles, we could do away with inspections all together,&uot; said Keith Jaeger, of Mike Duman Auto.

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On the other hand, Jaeger, parts and service director at Duman’s, visited his brother in Florida a while back and saw first hand what completely scraping vehicle inspections can do for consumers.

&uot;I saw a lot of junk riding up and down the roads,&uot; he added. &uot;Inspections are done to make sure that people are driving a safe vehicle. It is to protect the consumer and while it is a nuisance, it is necessary.&uot;

Many of Suffolk’s automotive inspectors disagree with proposed legislation that will give drivers the option of having their vehicle inspected every other year.

Williams Rhodes, service manager at Suffolk Tire Company, said a bi-annual inspection would be disastrous for consumers.

&uot;I’m not talking like a politician, but there are so many older vehicles on the road and there are people who are willing to drive them when they are in bad condition,&uot; said Rhodes. &uot;Take tires for instance…they can wear out and the vehicle owner may not even be aware of it. Brakes… two years could make the difference between life and death or some other catastrophe.&uot;

Duke Auto’s Service Manager, Tommy Weaver, also believes the bi-annual state inspections would be detrimental.

&uot;When we went from semi annual to annual state inspections, we saw cars changing within six months,&uot; said Weaver. &uot;In particular, breaks and tires, and adding another year can only make it worse.&uot;

Weaver added that some consumers come in looking only at obtaining the state inspection sticker.

&uot;They don’t care if the car is safe; they just want that sticker so they can continue driving,&uot; said Weaver. &uot;Others come in and they are sincerely interested in driving a safe car, and Duke Auto is just as interested in making sure their vehicle can live up to the state required inspections.&uot;

Latest statistics from GM show that the average life span for a set of breaks is from 32,000 to 34,000 miles.

For the majority of consumers, that mileage would occur long before the two years is up, Weaver said.