Allow me to rant about the Etest program, how its evolving and the rules are changing. As always, certain regulatory bodies don’t do a very good job of making the changes very clear and understandable so everybody knows exactly what to do and when to do it. With the new changes in effect for just a few months now …
… we are getting a very clear understanding of the requirements, however we have noticed most of our clients don’t share that same understanding. With that in mind, we are happy to share our knowledge with you. First off some of the official changes along with what these changes ACTUALLY mean to YOU.
The government announced a starting date for the elimination of the $30 Drive Clean fee on vehicles seven years and older. That date was April 1st of 2017. Here is the official chart.
|Vehicle Type||Fee as of April 1, 2017|
|Light-duty vehicles (initial test at registration renewals)||Free|
|Light-duty vehicles not at registration renewal||$30 (plus tax)|
|Retest fees (light-duty vehicles)||Up to $17.50 per test, if it is done at the same facility that performed the initial test.
$30 (plus tax) if the retest is performed:
HERE’S THE “RANT” PART:
What this chart DOSEN’T tell you is that the ACTUAL DATE of your last Etest is very important. Your “free” test is not free until after the 2 year expiry date of the last test. Here is what that means, If your birthday is on, lets say, August 1st and you left your test until the very last minute 2 years ago and got it done on August 1st then ran into the MTO and renewed your plates on the same day … BUT THIS YEAR you remembered early and are planning to go in towards the end of July and have the Etest done, YOU WILL BE CHARGED $30 … WHY? because your test is still valid until August 1st. that sucks because now you are forced to wait until the last minute to renew, or worse, forced to renew late unless you cough up 30 bucks that you shouldn’t have to.
On another rant about fees … Ontario will absorb the cost of Drive Clean testing partly through a 4.3 cent increase in gasoline taxes, money that will be put toward a larger plan to combat climate change. For myself personally, this makes my Etest cost around $83. (the total of 4.3 cents additional cost on 2 years worth of fuel 1920 litres) WOW am I glad I don’t have to pay for my Etest anymore! As always, the government gives a little while taking more, free is not free. KEEP READING … IT GETS WORSE! Dealers have had restrictions lifted … here is the official writeup.
Test no longer required to sell a Vehicle
As of April 1, 2017, Drive Clean emissions test is no longer required when selling a light-duty vehicle.
All light-duty vehicles seven years or older are still required to have a Drive Clean test every two years as part of their licence plate renewal.
We encourage you to check for the most recent Drive Clean test results for the vehicle being purchased. All you need is the vehicle identification number (VIN) or licence plate. This is a free search.
The government also announced that, also starting in April 2017, an emissions test is no longer required on the resale of pre-owned, salvaged or rebuilt light duty vehicles, regardless of age. This would include dealership company vehicles, which are typically grounded and sold with around 10,000 kilometres.
HERE’S ANOTHER “RANT” PART:
“Caveat emptor” … Buyer beware … At least one of the securities of buying a used vehicle, from a buyers point of view, is the fact that the vehicle had to have a “recent” Etest. This meant that at the very least, there weren’t any recent, serious computer or emission related failures and conditional passes were not valid for vehicle transfer. (think … most people opt to sell their old car when faced with a major repair right?) This isn’t such a big deal when you are buying a 1 to 5 year old vehicle with under 100000 km on the clock, these usually have some sort of warranty left on them, but what about that 10 year old vehicle that is being sold from that shady car lot? Keep in mind a 10 year old car is a 2007! that seems fairly new still. These types of vehicles are for sale all over the place and some of them command top dollar from the final buyer. This vehicle could have had an etest along time ago and since then, expensive things have broken-down and the shady dealer that wants to maximize their profits, can easily hide the failures so you don’t know about them until it comes time for YOUR Etest!! I think you can see where I’m going with this … see information asymmetry. We regularly deal with these kind of coverups, and EVERY TIME that it happens, someone is frustrated, angry and feels like they were ripped off. Our suggestion … insist on a recent Etest report with the word “PASS” on it before you shell out hard earned cash for that older used vehicle and make THEM pay for it as a condition of sale. If the dealer refuses to pay the 30 bucks, and you really want the vehicle, pay it yourself … it might be the best 30 bucks you ever spent. If the report says “conditional” … Run away unless they fix it and give a “PASS” report! or they sell it to you REALLY cheap because if a vehicle gets a conditional pass on or after April 1, 2017, it cannot get a consecutive conditional pass. You will have two years to make the necessary repairs before your next test cycle, leaving those costly repairs on your shoulders. Many used car dealers play nice and play fair, and like us, they would never rip one of their customers off, however, we all know there are those out there playing a completely different game, and those are the folks who truly benefit from these rules being lifted. Finally, and I stress this point, WHY THE HECK would anyone exempt a salvage or rebuilt vehicle from ANY test or inspection?? THESE VEHICLES WERE SEVERELY DAMAGED AND NEED TO BE FIXED PROPERLY NOT CHEAPLY!
All vehicles built before 1987 are exempt from Drive Clean testing. This is a fixed date and does not change as most people think. Also consumers do not need an emissions test for most-hybrid electric vehicles, light-duty vehicles with a model year before 1988, vehicles that are plated “Historic” under the Highway Traffic Act, light-duty commercial farm-plated vehicles, kit cars, and motorcycles.
ONE LAST “RANT”:
With our immediate surrounding areas being “RURAL” we see a lot of “hobby farm” type people that have put farm plates on their vehicles. Be aware that the MTO has changed the requirements for owning “farm plates” too. If this applies to you, this article will be very helpful to you before you try to renew your plates.
Finally, with all of the fuss around programs like the drive clean, we will admit … over all we agree with and are on board with the idea with having a biannual test. We at MiMECHANIC have seen first hand a drastic reduction in unsafe vehicles travelling the roads. The vehicles that we service have become more reliable, safe to use and more economical to maintain due to their general good condition. This ultimately leads to happier clients that are not stressing about their vehicles as much, which in turn leads to happier staff and boss, … so … , … even with all the short comings and pitfalls that drive clean has, … we say thank you ….