DAILY NEWS Dec 28, 2012 8:42 AM - 5 comments

Drive Clean is Introducing OBD-Based Testing January 1, 2013

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Beginning  January 1, 2013, Ontario ’s Drive Clean vehicle emissions testing program, will begin using new testing.  Called on-board diagnostics, or OBD, it reads your cars's computer history to see if your vehicle meets emission standards.  The new test is 20 % more effective at identifying emission problems because it reads the emission information stored in each car’s built-in computer.

Although new to Ontario, OBD testing is in service in more than 33 provinces and states in North America. It is faster and more accurate than the old tailpipe test. It is also better at identifying any needed repairs.   

Drive Clean tests are mandatory for the 2.1 million drivers who live in the corridor from Windsor to Ottawa. They are required when vehicles:

* reach seven model-years old

* are sold to non-family members. 

 The price of the test $35, remains the same.

 By making sure vehicles are running as cleanly as they were designed to do, Drive Clean plays an important role in keeping Ontario ’s air clean. Cars and trucks are responsible for nearly one-fifth of all Ontario-generated smog-causing pollution.  Every year, Drive Clean removes more than one-third of this pollution. This is of real health benefit to us all, and particularly to anyone with respiratory challenges. 

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Reader Comments

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Jane Blogs

Drive clean is nothing more than a cash grab in the first place. It is not up to the owner to make sure emission components are functioning. They are not the designers or the builders of said car.

If drive clean had gone after the manufactures then it would have point. But passing it on to the owners of the vehicles is just pointless. In the end the owner will be paying for the "fine" and thus any work needed will not be repaired. Instead of drive clean, why not increase the use of ethanol in our fuel from the current 10 to at least 15%. This will greatly reduce "emissions" that people want around here.

Posted January 17, 2013 10:39 PM


Appears to be a conflict between drive clean test and repair mechanics reading of test equipment?? what to do

Posted January 14, 2013 06:42 PM

scott birdsell

I own my own shop, have been involved with drive clean since the beginning.
I agree that most can't afford another fee at lic. time, i also feel that many people are driving with neglected vehicles. Programs such as drive clean do make a difference in pollution as long as the program is administered correctly.The new drive clean will help take some of the fraud out of it. We now take 3 pictures of the vehicle being tested, and i'm sure the vin will be pulled from the on board computer on the tested vehicle.
The asm test we used to do is outdated for the newer vehicles so it's a welcome change , the newer vehicles do a great job of checking the emission systems.We have never really checked evap systems other than the fuel cap,so now the vehicle tests itself and reports the condition of the system as pass or fail.As the you drive your car around the computer is constantly running checks on it systems and a fail will be reported.

Most don't care unless there car is running poorly,but in fact if your check engine lite comes on (1998 and up by the way): there's a problem with one of the monitored systems that effects emissions in some small way.
Don't forget we are checking hundreds of thousands of cars and it does make a huge difference in the long term.As long as repairs are done correctly.
You can't judge it but if you use logic it has to have an impact, if people would take responsibility for their impact on the environment our grand children would have a better place to live.

Don't think the shops are going to rake in all this money, there is a cost to start all over again , new equip. training etc.Plus dealing with the public's perception of another tax grab.

There is talk about a drive safe program, which would be a semi annual safety check.There are lots of vehicles with loose frt end parts ,bald tires on our roads that should not be. < Stay Tuned>

Wether or not you like it! If you want to live in most of South Ontario, its here to stay for awhile.



Posted January 1, 2013 10:02 AM

Henry Hill

We have had that type of testing for a few years now in B.C.
Since the vehicles were certified based on the OBDII compliance, namely their monitoring abilities to detect issues with emission related components, it is a smart move. Many years of additional testing(i.e. tailpipe emissions) on already certified vehicles has proven the ability of the OBDII system to do deliver what it was designed to do. It is pointless to design and maintain such systems, as well as pass on the expense to the consumer, if they are to be second guessed.

Posted December 31, 2012 01:59 PM

Guy Benenati

I had my 99 Silverado Pickup tested with this new equipment and all it does is test the computer. It does not know what sort of pollution the vehicle is creating. It is faster but to say it is more accurate I feel is up for debate. It assumes that if the computer has no problems (trouble codes) and all of the monitors are running, then the end result must be acceptable. There were no actual Co or HC numbers produced, which leads me to think that this is a case of if A = B then C must happen, and in the automotive world this is not always the case.

As the article indicates vehicles produce one-fifth of the pollution in Ontario, I would like to see what is being done with the other four-fifths of the emission pollutors. An article relating to gobal warming indicates that the government is using standards set 15 years ago, and have not updated them. In Ontario especially along the Windsor to Montreal corridor, what is being done to reduce the emissions of the planes taking off and landing. I would love to see their emissions contributions and what plans there are to reduce their emission output.

Posted December 31, 2012 07:43 AM

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