In light of the recent overhaul to the Ontario Drive Clean emission test procedure, the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario have issued a statement of their support. Despite the abundance of negative press surrounding the issue, the association of over 900 independent garage owners feels the Drive Clean test is beneficial for both the industry and the environment, and it should not be scrapped.
AARO says the negative press is due to a lack of understanding of the changes, and the issues of not ready “Readiness” monitors.
The new test method utilizes the vehicle OBD “On Board Diagnostic” information which is logged into the vehicle computer, opposed to the former Dynamometer tail pipe test, which only provided a one time snap-shot of the vehicle emissions and was not capable of capturing the ongoing emission status of the vehicle.
The new testing method is said to be more accurate because the OBD system constantly monitors emissions. The OBD testing method also provides test operators with more information than before, including:
fuel evaporative system functionality
marginal catalytic convertors failures
marginal sensor operation failures
The issue that many consumers have with the new test procedures is the number of vehicles that fail, or are deemed “not ready.” If the vehicle battery has been disconnected, or diagnostic codes have been erased, the vehicle monitors will be set to “not ready”, and related data is lost.
A vehicle with an excessive number of not ready monitors will produce an “incomplete” Drive Clean Test result, and will require several drive cycles to reset the monitors.
To address these concerns, AARO has provided some recommendations on how to reduce the “not ready” status:
Carry out the Drive Clean test two weeks before the license sticker is due.
Test the vehicle before servicing the battery or removing the diagnostic trouble codes.
Allow 2-3 days of normal driving following a battery service, before doing the Etest.
Used car dealers and vehicles to be stored – perform the E-test before parking the vehicle on the lot or in storage.
AARO believes the Drive Clean changes are the natural evolution of emissions testing. They feel that Ontario vehicle owners need to be reminded of the benefits of the Drive Clean program, and made aware of the positive outcomes expected from the upgraded test procedure.
To date, Drive Clean has made a huge impact on the air we breathe. Over a period of 9 years, the program has reduced nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons by 266,000 tonnes, carbon monoxide by 2.5 million tonnes and carbon dioxide by 250,000 tonnes.
While AARO supports the new testing method, there is a growing number of Ontarians who are resisting these changes and beleive the Drive Clean should be scrapped altogether. Led by PC MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, Michael Harris, the "Scrap the Drive Clean" movement is currently an ongoing discussion at Queen’s Park.