Ontario has made good on a pledge to cut the fee for its Drive Clean emissions test program, along with a handful of other changes conceived to make life easier for the province’s drivers.
The March 31 update was a follow-up to a December 2016 announcement, and brought about the elimination of the fee for Drive Clean test required every two years in order to renew the licence plate sticker on vehicles more than seven years old.
Those scheduled tests will now cost you nothing. In addition, a test will no longer be needed in order to register a car in your name after you purchase it.
That cuts a step out of the process of putting your name on the registration, but it does mean you lose the assurance that the car complies with emissions standards at the time of purchase.
You can look the vehicle’s VIN on the Drive Clean website to find out when it last passed an emissions test (or to verify what the seller tells you) but if you decide to get the car tested as a condition of sale, you (or the seller) will have to pay the old $30 fee for that unscheduled check-up.
Also new are the rules for the program’s conditional pass provision that allows you to renew your plates based on a promise to have any emissions system faults repaired. Under the new regulations, you can’t renew plates on a conditional pass twice in a row; if the car fails again two years later, you’ll have to get the car fixed before the province will give you your sticker.
The $450 conditional pass repair cost limit remains the same, but no longer includes the diagnostic fee, so the entire amount goes toward the fix.
Ontario has left as-is the list of vehicles that don’t require emissions testing, including electric cars, most hybrids, all cars built before 1988, cars and trucks plated as historic or light-duty commercial farm vehicles, kit cars, and motorcycles.