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Oct 8, 2014

What is an E-Test?

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Launched in Ontario in 1997, the Drive Clean Program requires all cars and trucks to pass the e-test, or emissions test.

Emissions Testing

The test checks the level of dangerous and harmful air pollutants found in car exhaust and can be used to make recommendations to car owners on necessary repairs to their cars. The two most important pollutants it checks for are nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide.

The program is intended to ensure better air quality throughout Ontario by identifying cars and trucks that pollute too much and enforcing required repairs to correct these problems. The aim is to reduce airborne pollutants throughout the region and the potential benefits are widespread. Car exhaust is one of the number one contributors to global warming and smog in industrialized areas, and managing this exhaust is key to preventing premature global environmental consequences!

Seeking to improve upon the success of the program, in 2013 the Ontario government implemented a new type of e-test that can read a car’s history from an onboard computer. This On-Board Diagnostic Testing improves the effectiveness of the Drive Clean Program by providing more accurate tests and identifying vehicles that will pollute earlier on.

These tests are also make fraud much more difficult if not outright impossible. Computers have been installed in all vehicles in order to detect their emissions history since 1998, and this new addition to the Drive Clean Program makes great use of the additional data these computers provide.

All vehicles made before 2001 require emissions tests every two years in order to have their license plates renewed. Vehicles that were made after 2001 only require testing every 7 years thanks to improvements in engine systems that have made newer cars more environmentally friendly.

About 3 months before your vehicle comes up for renewal, Ontario will send you a notice informing you that your vehicle is due for registration. On this notice, cars that require proof of a successful emissions test will be marked with an asterisk.

There are hundreds of locations across the province where you can get your vehicle tested, and the maximum price you can be charged is $35 + taxes per vehicle.

If you are trying to buy or sell a used car over a year old, emissions testing will be required for ownership to be transferred. The only exemption from this rule is when the car is being sold to a family member.


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