Ontario's Drive Clean

Click to read a fact about the Inspection Process

Which vehicles are required to pass the test? What will a Drive Clean test cost me in time and money?
Where can I get my vehicle tested? What if my vehicle fails the test?
How is the Drive Clean test done? What if I disagree with the test results or repairs?

What happens after my Drive Clean test?

Which vehicles are required to pass the test?

If you own a passenger car or light-duty truck, it will have to pass a Drive Clean test every two years prior to renewing the sticker on the license plate. This applies to vehicles that are more than three years old and less than 20 years old (based on the model year of the vehicle). You will be notified up to 90 days before the deadline for renewing your vehicle license plate.

As well, the test applies at change of ownership. If your vehicle is less than 20 years old, and if the ownership change must have a safety certificate to be effective (e.g. at resale), it must also pass a Drive Clean test.

Vehicles 20 years or older, light-duty commercial farm vehicles and motorcycles are exempt.

Testing at registration will alternate between odd-year models and even-year models. For example, in 2002, odd model-year vehicles will be tested.

Back to the top of the page

Where can I get my vehicle tested?

You can take your vehicle to an accredited Drive Clean test-only facility, or to an accredited test and repair shop. The Ministry of the Environment accredits all Drive Clean facilities. Staff at these facilities are trained and approved as qualified to operate the testing equipment and perform emission diagnostics and repairs. All Drive Clean facilities are strictly monitored to ensure proper testing and repair procedures are being followed.

ATW Automotive is an accredited Test and Repair Shop.

Back to the top of the page

How is the Drive Clean test done? (To see photos of an actual emissions test, click here)

At an accredited Drive Clean facility, an approved inspector will drive your car or light duty truck onto a dynamometer. This machine is like a treadmill that allows the vehicle to be "driven" on one spot at different speeds.

A probe is placed in the tailpipe of your vehicle. The probe is connected to a gas analyzer and computer, which can measure the concentration of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons (including volatile organic compounds) and carbon monoxide. When the inspector accelerates your vehicle, an emissions reading is recorded. Several of these five-second readings are taken and then averaged by the computer.

The test results are compared by a Drive Clean computer to emission standards for the vehicle and its model year. For example, if you drive a 1986 model car, it will be tested against 1986 emission standards with an allowance for vehicle deterioration.

If your vehicle has a safety problem, or releases visible smoke from the tailpipe it will not be tested until it has been repaired. Such problems could lead to injury, and/or malfunctioning of the test equipment.

Back to the top of the page

What happens after my Drive Clean test?

You will receive a computer-generated report at the Drive Clean facility It will state if your vehicle emissions "pass or fail" and give you an analysis of the pollutants coming from the tailpipe. If you fail, you will receive a fact sheet describing some of the possible causes of failure. Vehicles failing must be repaired and retested until a pass certificate is obtained.

You may need to take this pass report to a Ministry of Transportation vehicle license office, along with the other documents needed to renew your license plate sticker or to transfer ownership. The report information may also be needed if you renew your license at a self-service kiosk.

The Drive Clean test results for your vehicle will be valid for ownership transfers and registration renewals for up to six months from the date of the test.

Back to the top of the page

What will a Drive Clean test cost me in time and money?

The Drive Clean emissions test has been developed to be simple, efficient and reliable.

The test will cost you $35.00 plus G.S.T. or about the cost of an average fill-up of gasoline. If your vehicle fails its initial test and needs repairs, the cost for retesting will be $17.50 plus G.S.T., provided the retest is done at the same facility.

Back to the top of the page

What if my vehicle fails the test?

Information from some 40 North American jurisdictions with programs similar to Ontario's Drive Clean shows that 80 to 85 per cent of passenger cars and light-duty trucks pass inspection. However, if your vehicle fails its initial test, you will need to make the necessary repairs in order to pass a retest.

You will receive a report indicating your vehicle's emission results from the test, as well as information on the most common reasons for failing the test.

You are free to do the repairs yourself, go to any local garage, or go to a garage that is an accredited Drive Clean repair facility.

You will only have to make up to $200.00 worth of repairs if your vehicle fails its initial Drive Clean test and you follow this procedure:

If you fail your first test, you must make the emissions-related repairs. You then bring your vehicle back to a Drive Clean facility for a retest. Should your vehicle fail again, you will be given a conditional pass certificate provided you have a receipt from an accredited Drive Clean repair facility proving up to $200.00 worth of emission-related repairs have been done. You bring this conditional pass certificate to a vehicle license office to obtain your registration renewal.

This one-time repair cost limit does not apply to subsequent Drive Clean tests at registration renewal (two years later), or when transferring ownership. It also does not apply to repairs covered by the manufacturer's warranty, or to repairs made if there are still visible smoke emissions from the tailpipe.

Back to the top of the page

What if I disagree with the test results or repairs?

If you disagree with the results of the test or the repairs, you will be able to call the Drive Clean customer service centre to get information that may resolve any concerns. If a dispute cannot be settled, you and the other party may be referred to an independent dispute resolution process.

Back to the top of the page

Drive Clean

ATW Home