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I. Ontario's Drive Clean program

Vehicles are a major domestic source of smog-causing emissions in Ontario. Drive Clean, administered by the Ministry of the Environment, reduces smog-causing pollutants by identifying grossly polluting vehicles and requiring them to be repaired. Accordingly, Drive Clean sets up a schedule for when vehi­cles must be tested.

Drive Clean requires diesel-powered, heavy-duty vehicles registered anywhere in Ontario to be tested annually. Non-diesel, heavy-duty vehicles must be tested annually only if they are registered in the Drive Clean program area (for example, southern Ontario from Windsor to Ottawa).

The Ministry of Transportation will notify you if your vehicle needs a test. Or you can check the Drive Clean website or call the Drive Clean Contact Centre at 1-888-758-2999 for more information on the program and test requirements.

Effective September 1, 2011, changes were made that exempt some vehicles from Drive Clean. Please visit the Drive Clean website to see if your vehicle is affected.

Drive Clean offers the owners of diesel vehicles an incentive to be tested every two years, instead of every year. To qualify, your vehicle must register a 20 per cent or lower opacity reading. Vehicles that register over 20 per cent opacity still require annual tests.

If you are buying or selling a used vehicle that is older than the current model year, the vehicle must pass a Drive Clean test so that the ownership can be transferred and the vehicle can be plated for the road. This requirement helps to ensure that you do not purchase a vehicle with emissions problems.

You don’t have to wait for a Drive Clean test to do something positive for the environment. Keeping your vehicle well maintained accord­ing to the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules is an important part of driving clean. For example, if the “check engine” or “service engine” lights come on, go to a qualified repair technician to have your engine checked as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could face costly repairs to the vehicle’s engine or emissions-control system.

All vehicles on Ontario’s highways — whether registered in Ontario or out-of-province — are subject to the provincial environmental protection act. The Act prohibits excessive visible exhaust emissions and the alteration or removal of emissions-control equipment. This applies to vehicles even if they have passed a Drive Clean test.

For more information on Ontario’s Drive Clean program, visit or call the Drive Clean Contact Centre toll-free at 1-888-758-2999.