DriveON Ontario emissions and safety testing

Ontario is updating its emissions testing process

Ontario is introducing a new emissions and safety inspection program for commercial motor vehicles called DriveON. This is combining the current annual safety inspections with the Etests for heavy (as in over 4500kg) diesel vehicles. Nothing changes for light passenger vehicles.

The new program will make the registration and renewal process easier as now that Ontario has made emissions tests annual, you can get both done at once. The MTO says this “one test, one result” approach should reduce vehicle down time and lower opportunities for fraud to occur and improve commercial vehicle standards.

It’s also a double whammy on helping the environment, as not only will it eliminate paper waste, but it will help keep the air cleaner from pollutants.

DriveON will not change the existing safety requirements and emissions tests will still apply to the same types of vehicle as before.

This program is beginning this April 2022 and will be phased in over the next two years.

The idea is to transition stations that currently participate in Ontario’s emissions testing, and/or the Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS) to DriveON’s new Vehicle Inspection Centre (VIC) model.

This spring will see the DriveON program begin with current emissions testing facilities. By this Fall/Winter of 2022-23 DriveON will begin to include digital safety standard certificate inspections for cars, light-duty trucks, and motorcycles. This will eventually replace the paper certificate system currently in place.

By February 2023 the DriveON program will roll out to stations in the MVIS program which will support the new digital vehicle safety inspection regulations that will come into effect August 2024. The new regulations will require commercial vehicle owners to provide a current annual or semi-annual safety inspection to register or renew a vehicle licence plate.

Emissions Tests

Until July 1, 2022, you can get an emissions test completed by a certified technician at a vehicle inspection center at either an existing emissions testing facility or a new DriveON vehicle inspection center. After July 1 all emissions testing will be completed by DriveON centers only.

Emissions tests are required annually, and if your vehicle qualifies you will receive a registration renewal notice via mail reminding you that an emissions test will be required to renew your registration.

Did you know? If you are outside of Ontario and your vehicle is due for an emissions test you can request a one-time, six-month extension?  If your gone longer than that you will need to contact an emissions test contact centre to discuss other options.

As for what happens during an emissions test?

First: a pre-test check. This involves a visual check of the vehicle. Here the technician is looking for any excess visible emissions (basically anything that can be seen for longer than five seconds in any one minute period).

Other things the inspection will look for during the pre-test check are things like a missing or ill-fitting fuel cap, leaky exhaust system, a motor governor not functioning properly, VIN missing or unmatched to the vehicle permit, and if the data link connector is connectable.

Next up: the opacity test. Just as it is named, the opacity test checks the opacity of the vehicles emissions. The pass on this will depend on the year of the vehicle. If the vehicle is older than 1990, then it’s a pass at 40% opacity (school bus passes at 30%). From 1991 to 2007 it passes at 30%, and 2008 passes with 20% opacity.

And lastly: On-board diagnostic system test. This final test is for vehicles weighing between 4,500 and 6,350 kgs. If the diagnostic test comes back as a fail, the vehicle will fail the emissions test. However, do check if your vehicle may be exempt from this final step of emissions testing.

At the end of the testing your will receive your results via PDF which is valid for 12 months. If your vehicle fails you will get a detailed report and you will need to get it repaired before taking the emissions test again, and before you can renew your registration on that vehicle.

Did you know? You can search your vehicles emissions test history?  You just need your VIN number to do this. Enter the VIN at Ontario’s Drive Clean site to get all the test and repair history on that vehicle.

So at the end of the day when this program is finished rolling out it should make keeping your vehicle tested simpler and easier to do given that it is now required annually by Ontario. Here’s to making things easier on both owners and the environment!