Maryland has the stupidest safety inspection in the United States. They require inspection when a car changes hands. Most sellers of crappy old cars are, of course, not motivated to do it themselves. Also Maryland is a tiny state and it's hard to pass up used car deals in Virginia, DC, and Pennsylvania.
Best things I've had cars fail for:
- Suspension too low (H&R Sports... not stance status). At that time Maryland allowed no suspension modification at all.
- No shift pattern on the shift knob. Let me repeat that: No shift pattern on the shift knob. Drawing it on a business card was sufficient to get it to pass.
- Every single old car supposedly had a leaking P/S return line. I wonder if shops used this as an easy scam.
- I've had a car fail for tread depth at a tire store, then pass at a different mechanic.