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Auto Know: A wasteful way to pass Drive Clean

Drivers whose car failed the test advised to let engine idle, drive at highway speeds and more

Published April 19, 2013
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To pass the new OBD e-test, Drive Clean recommends a preconditioning procedure that will take you on a half-hour journey through city and highway — wastefully burning fuel along the way.

The OBD (on-board diagnostics) Drive Clean test taps into your vehicle’s computer to determine whether it’s an emissions pass, fail, or “not ready” — also considered a fail.

If your car has recently been serviced, or battery disconnected, it may be unable to complete the test.

“A day or two of normal highway and city driving will usually reset your vehicle’s computer and ensure it’s ready for the test,” advises Drive Clean.

Alternatively, they suggest drivers complete a “generic drive cycle” as below to prepare their vehicle for the OBD e-test. Information is from driveclean.com.

Generic Drive Cycle:

Make sure the vehicle has been parked eight hours without a start.

Start the engine and let it idle in “Drive” for two-and-a-half minutes with the air conditioner and rear defroster on.

Turn the air-con and rear defroster off. Drive the vehicle for 10 minutes at highway speeds.

Drive the vehicle for 20 minutes in stop-and-go traffic.

Your drive cycle is complete. You can now go in for your test.

Gas tank should be one-quarter to three-quarters full. Driver should avoid rapid acceleration.

Note that 1988 to 1997 model year vehicles require a different test.

These are the lengths Drive Clean advises Ontario motorists to undertake to lessen the odds of a “not ready” failure and subsequent retest. In cold weather, certain vehicles may never be ready no matter how much you drive.

If you fail twice for “not ready,” a conditional pass is available. Resale vehicles that fail twice for “not ready” can pass a two-speed idle (gas analyzer) test instead to be Drive Clean certified for sale.

Had enough? To sign the petition against Drive Clean, visit: scrapdriveclean.ca.

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