Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2002   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: May 2002

Ontario Emission Program Expands, Testing in New Areas Begins

Ontario’s Drive Clean program began officially testing vehicles in an expanded “smog zone” in April, targeting vehicles whose registrations expired on or after July 1, 2002.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation, which oversees the program, has been gradually expanding the emissions program since it was launched in the Toronto and Hamilton areas in 1999.

The program expanded in January of 2001 to urban centers from Windsor to Peterborough, Ont.

The latest expansion adds parts of southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario, including the municipalities of Chatham-Kent, Ottawa, Kingston and Cornwall.

Vehicles are a substantial source of smog-causing emissions in the smog zone, as well as other pollutants. Ministry officials have claimed an 11.5% reduction in pollutants in the affected program area.

Drive Clean improves air quality by identifying polluting vehicles and requiring them to be repaired.

Not including the expanded region, Drive Clean has about 1,500 privately owned repair facilities offering services to light vehicles. By the end of 2001, they had tested more than 3.5 million vehicles. There are also about 600 facilities across Ontario providing heavy-duty vehicle tests. Between 200 and 300 new facilities will be needed to serve the expansion area, according to the ministry.

During the first two years after Drive Clean is introduced to a region, the owners of light-duty vehicles who cannot afford to fully repair or replace polluting vehicles can take advantage of a $200 Repair Cost Limit (RCL). This means that they will only have to spend up to $200 on emissions-related repairs at a Drive Clean facility in order to receive a conditional pass for license renewal. Any other repairs may be deferred. A vehicle owner may obtain conditional passes every two years for license renewals while the Repair Cost Limit is in effect, but must meet the RCL requirements each time. After the initial two years in each Drive Clean phase area, the RCL limit increases to $450, as it already has in the Toronto and Hamilton areas.

Emissions Reductions for Heavy Trucks and SUVs Announced

New federal engine and vehicle regulations won’t apply only to SUVs. Big trucks will also become a lot cleaner.

The new rules–which will bring Canada in line with regulations already in place in the United States–will lead to the production of a new generation of heavy diesel trucks that will have dramatically reduced smog-causing emissions. Emissions of nitrogen oxides, a major contributor to smog as well as emissions of particulate matter, which is linked to respiratory and other health problems, will be cut by 95% and 90% respectively by the time the 2007 model year is introduced to the marketplace. Changes in engine emission standards will begin to take effect as early as October 2002.

In order to achieve the aggressive emission reductions, heavy diesel truck engines will employ new technological add-ons such as cooled exhaust gas re-circulation, particulate traps, NOx absorbers or other technologies currently under development. And they will run on technology enabling ultra- low sulfur diesel fuel.

Both the United States and Canada have mandated a 97% reduction in the sulfur content of truck diesel fuel from 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million by 2006. Sulfur is a contributor to the production of particulate matter. The new Canadian fuel regulations were introduced in December 2001.

Wagner Named Brake Marketing Partner By APA

The APA Professional’s Choice Auto Parts group has selected Wagner Brake Products from Federal-Mogul as the marketing partner for 2002.

As a designated marketing partner, the Wagner brand and product line will be featured in all APA trade advertising in 2002. Wagner has been the organization’s preferred brand of brake components since 1994 and has been recognized by APA members for product quality, order-fill rates and promotional support. Bestbuy Distributors is the APA member in Canada.

“We’re very proud to have been selected as the key marketing partner for APA for the coming year,” said Bob Egan, vice president of aftermarket sales – The Americas, for Federal-Mogul. “Federal-Mogul and APA have enjoyed significant growth as a result of our business relationship and we hope and expect to experience even greater growth in 2002 and beyond.”

B.C. Challenges Automotive Students

The 20 most skilled automotive students from high schools across British Columbia converged on the Kensington Arena in Burnaby for the 12th Annual Student Auto Skills Challenge in late April.

To qualify for the competition, students completed a written test where they had to answer automotive-related questions.

The qualifiers competed in teams of two and were required to diagnose and repair identical malfunctions deliberately installed in the vehicle. Winners of the B.C. competition had not been announced by press time. Each student on the first place team will receive an automotive scholarship to the post-secondary institution of their choice and an open scholarship to BCIT’s automotive program. Both first and second place teams will represent B.C. in the upcoming national final, hosted by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) in Winnipeg on June 1. The winning team from this event then goes on to represent Canada in the American Automobile Association (AAA) National challenge held on June 17, in Washington, D.C.

[ [ [

A comprehensive resource guide designed to help the owners and managers of automotive service shops increase their share of the chassis repair and alignment market has been introduced by Federal-Mogul Corporation. The “Align with Moog” Resource Guide, offered free of charge to qualified automotive service dealers, contains a vast array of technical, management, marketing and merchandising tools. It’s available by calling 1-800-851-7052.

[ [ [

ICI Autocolor has changed its name to Nexa Autocolor in order to complete the natural separation from ICI after the refinish company was acquired by PPG in 1999.

[ [ [

USI-AGI Prairies Inc. has announced that Trac Auto & Industrial, owned by Marv Wright, has joined the group. Trac Auto operates two outlets in Regina, Sask.

[ [ [

Peter Kunzie’s Perry Machine Shop Limited has joined the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association. The shop is located in Winnipeg, Man., at 65 Durand Rd.

[ [ [

The Monroe Safety First promotion from Tenneco Automotive, which offers comeback certificates worth up to $75 to consumers who replace worn shocks and/or struts with selected Monroe units, has been extended through June 30, 2002. The promotion is part of the Monroe brand’s ongoing Safety Triangle education campaign.

[ [ [

Nissan Canada Inc. and local Nissan and Infiniti dealers donated $200,000 to assist the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in building a state-of-the-art automotive technician training center. The donation will be used to help complete the Clayton Carroll Automotive Center.