When it comes to properly maintaining your vehicle, there is a lot to consider. One of the many questions asked by both new and experienced drivers alike is ‘What is an Emissions Test in Ontario?’ Does your vehicle require one? How often? We’ve answered everything you need to know below.
What are Emissions Tests in Ontario?
Emissions Tests are procedures done to determine the number of pollutants emitted from the exhaust of your vehicle. In April 1999, Ontario announced the Automobile Emissions Control Program. This allowed Ontario to regulate different pollutants that are released into the air and was done to protect you and limit exposure to substances that can affect your health and the environment. If your vehicle did not pass this procedure, a fine would be put in place! These tests are usually done semi-often to make sure your vehicle is up to date.
Why does Ontario perform these tests?
Air pollutants and quality is something that has been an ongoing concern in Ontario. In fact, the air quality in the province is something that is always being monitored. Generally speaking, we believe everyone would agree they want to live in a province with better air quality and there is always room to improve on it. So, in 1999 Ontario announced the Drive Clean test to help reduce the amount of cars whos emissions are contributing to the issue of air pollutants. As time passed, so did the ability to create more modern vehicles, which is why the government announced the retirement of the program in September of 2018 after much criticism!
Do I currently need an Emissions Test?
This depends on your vehicle! As of April 2019, most lightweight vehicles (4,500 kg) no longer need to get Emissions Tests in Ontario. The government states that this is because most modern vehicles are not a threat, compared to years ago. Though it may not apply to you, most heavy-weight vehicles still need to get an Emissions Test done annually. This includes heavy diesel commercial vehicles with a weight of over 4,500 kg, such as large trucks or buses. Since these are done annually, you will receive a renewal notice in the mail. This will state that you must get an ET done to renew your vehicle registration. If you are buying a used vehicle that is over seven years old, you must also check to make sure it complies with Ontario emissions standards.
What does one of these tests entail?
If any of the above applies to you or you recently purchased an older used vehicle, where should you go? All emissions tests must be done by a certified technician at a vehicle inspection center. Now, you may be curious as to what happens during these tests. Before the test begins, a technician will do a visual inspection of the outside of your vehicle. During these inspections, they will check to make sure your fuel cap is secure and your exhaust is not leaking.
Afterwards, they will perform what is called an “opacity test.” This is where they measure the opacity of the emissions that are expelling from your fuels exhaust. Passing this will actually depend on some details of your vehicle. If your vehicle was made before 1990, you will need a 40% opacity. If your vehicle was made from 1991 to 2007, you will need 30% opacity to pass. After 2008 you will only need 20% opacity to pass! On top of this, they inspect your car for different issues such as an ill-fitting fuel cap. If you pass these tests, you will receive a year-long slip which states your vehicle is road safe. If you fail, you will have to have your car repaired before you can take another test and renew your vehicle.
How can I tell when my last ET was?
If you are curious as to when your vehicle’s last Emissions Test was, you can find out online! You must have your VIN (Vehicle Registration Number). This can be found on your green ownership certificate, vehicle insurance form (pink slip) or in some cases, on the dashboard of your vehicle. From there, you can visit the DriveON vehicles submission report website to see when your vehicle last had an Emissions Test! If you are currently living in Ontario, you can call and request a six month extension on your emissions test.
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