Auto Service World
News   April 3, 2013   by Auto Service World

Consumer Education on New Drive Clean Testing Needed

Since the introduction of OBD II Testing in Ontario’s Drive Clean program on January 1 2013, there has been some concern by the industry over the negative press received about the new procedure.

The Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO), an association which represents over 900 independent repair garage owners / members, is concerned about the negative press the new Drive Clean test procedure is receiving.

The AARO believes the negative press is due to a lack of understanding of the changes, and the issues of not ready “Readiness” monitors. The Drive Clean emission test procedure has changed significantly. The new test method utilizes the vehicle OBD “On Board Diagnostic” information which is logged into the vehicle computer.

AARO has issued a consumer advisory which states:

“It is AARO’s position that Ontario vehicle owners should be made aware of the benefits of the Drive Clean program and the positive outcomes expected from the upgraded test procedure,” says the AARO Advisory Committee.

Drive Clean has made a huge impact on the air we breathe. Over a period of 9 years, the Drive Clean program has reduced nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons by 266,000 tonnes, carbon monoxide by 2.5 million tonnes and carbon dioxide, a major green house gas by 250,000 tonnes.

The former dynamometer / tailpipe test is a one-time snap-shot of the vehicle emissions and cannot capture the ongoing emission status of the vehicle.

The vehicle OBD system constantly monitors emissions. The OBD will alert the vehicle operator of an emission problem by activating the Check Engine Light and recording related fail data.

Emission test enhancements are an added consumer protection monitoring where the fuel evaporative system function,  engine misfire, catalytic convertors, and sensor operation.

OBD monitors must be “Ready” in order to store emission related data. 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.
Recommendations to reduce “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 & vehicles to be stored – perform the E-test before parking the vehicle on the lot or in storage.
The recent Drive Clean test changes are the natural evolution of emission testing. For more information on Drive Clean testing and enabling readiness monitor, talk to your local Drive Clean Facility operator, or visit


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