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Safety inspections suspended, but auto shops see increase in customers during stay-at-home order

Posted at 9:41 PM, May 12, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Taking your car to the shop for a safety inspection is not something all drivers look forward to.

“Ugh, I hope I get through it. I hope I don’t have to spend any extra money,” said Anne Hart.

Michael Pennington is the manager at University Car Care. He says after Governor Ralph Northam’s order to suspend safety inspections until July 31 to help stop the spread of COVID-19, things got quiet.

“We went from doing 69-70 last month to compared to 141 last April,” Pennington adds.

But now inspections are picking up. He says, “We’ve seen about 50 in the last two weeks.”

Pennington says almost all his car bays are full.

“People are getting antsy. They don’t want to be at home anymore; more people are driving now, so they need repairs done.”

The auto shop says if your car is due for a safety inspection, it’s better to bring it in sooner than later and to try not to wait until the end of July.

“Everybody that hasn’t had theirs done in the last couple of months - they are going to hit, and we are going to be slammed,” Pennington adds.

There are also ways to get your inspection done with little to no interaction.

“We can actually have them scrape their own sticker, have them get out. We can lift their vehicle up, do our check and before we need to move it out, have them get in and they can apply their own sticker,” he adds.

Hart says she is going to consider coming earlier even though her inspection expires in July.

“That even makes me think to try and get it done before June. I can just drop it off and walk to Webb Center for work.”

While local law enforcement may still issue citations for expired vehicle inspections, Governor Northam encourages them to refrain from doing so during this pandemic.

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