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Car Tips and Articles

Drive Clean Testing Explained

It is the law in Ontario that cars, trucks, vans, motor homes and buses must pass a Drive Clean test before they can be licensed to drive on Ontario roads.

Not all repair shops are Drive Clean certified. Precise Car Service is an authorized Drive Clean service facility in Hamilton/Stoney Creek/Grimsby.
The Drive Clean test determines if your vehicle meets Ontario’s emissions standards. Vehicles that are 7 years or older require Drive Clean testing every 2 years. Heavy duty vehicles (large trucks and motorhomes — with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 4,500kg and buses) require a drive clean test every year. Vehicle owners are notified by the Ministry of Transportation in their vehicle license registration renewal documents when a Drive Clean test is required to renew their license plates.
There are three types of vehicle testing processes depending on your vehicle:
  • an on-board diagnostic (OBD) test (reads emissions information from the vehicle’s computer)
  • a tailpipe test (measures tailpipe emissions)
  • an opacity test (measures smoke density in diesel-fuelled vehicles)
Precise Car Service is an accredited Drive Clean Test Facility and your test will be performed at by one of our licensed mechanics who is a certified Drive Clean inspector.
Precise Car Service will provide you with a Drive Clean Test report after testing your vehicle.
Your vehicle may receive:
  • a Pass
  • a Conditional Pass
  • a Fail
  • a Not Ready Result
You need to receive a ‘pass’ or ‘conditional’ pass to renew your licence plate sticker.
If your car passes the Drive Clean Test use the report to renew your license plate sticker or transfer the ownership to a new owner. A Drive Clean pass is good for 1 year from the date it was issued.
If your vehicle fails the initial Drive Clean test and requires extensive vehicle emissions repairs you can obtain a “Conditional Pass” provided the vehicle has had up to $450 in emission related repairs at a Drive Clean facility and it fails a re-test.
A Conditional Pass can only be used to renew your licence plates. It cannot be used to transfer ownership. It is valid for 1 year.
Your vehicle may get a “not ready” result. If your vehicle was built in 1998 or later it will have an on-board computer. The on-board computer records information about emissions systems as you drive. If your emissions systems are functioning properly your vehicle should be ‘ready’ to communicate with the Drive Clean Testing equipment.  This can be caused by a recently disconnected battery or replacement, a recently drained battery or if the computer codes were cleared or reset. If any of these things happen you will need to drive the vehicle for a few days both in the city and on the highway to get your vehicle ready for the emissions test and be re-tested.
It is also possible that your vehicle receives a “readiness” conditional pass (deemed still not ready) if you receive 2 “not ready” Drive Test Results and no emissions problems can be identified. With a “readiness” conditional pass you will be able to renew your license plate sticker.
Should your vehicle fail the Drive Clean test the Precise Drive Clean Inspector will explain the results to you and you will have to have your vehicles problems repaired before you can take a re-test, renew your sticker or transfer ownership. These guidelines are set out by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Ontario and not at the discretion of Precise Car Service or any other licensed Drive Clean Facility.
Precise Car Services is licensed to provide Drive Clean repairs and provide written estimates based on the results of the Drive Clean test. Once you vehicle is repaired you must have your vehicle re-tested.
Some vehicles are exempt. You do not need an emissions test for:
  • most-hybrid electric vehicles
  • light-duty vehicles with a model year before 1988
  • vehicles that are plated “Historic” under the Highway Traffic Act
  • light-duty commercial farm plated vehicles
  • kit cars
  • motorcycles
Every licensed vehicle in Ontario must be Drive Clean tested. With regular maintenance at Precise Car Service most vehicles pass their Drive Clean testing.  We are here to help you with easy to arrange testing, analysis, recommendations and repairs. We are here to help and make things easy, affordable and painless. Call us to arrange your next Drive Clean test we are here to help.
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