Columns & Advice
Eric Lai answers readers’ auto questions every week for Wheels.
Q: My car was serviced on Jan. 11 then failed Drive Clean on Jan. 21 as my vehicle’s computer indicated “not ready.”
They said a new OBD e-test is now used and, if your car was serviced (e.g. battery replaced), it’s a minimum of two weeks before the on-board computer will reset for Drive Clean.
So, because of Drive Clean’s newest swindle, motorists might end up ticketed for expired plates because their car was “not ready” for an e-test needed to renew their sticker.
A: While I sympathize, Wheels readers were forewarned last year of the new Drive Clean OBD (on-board diagnostics) test coming in 2013. I even advised that those requiring an e-test in 2013 could avoid possible dire consequences by preemptively taking the old dyno test in 2012 since tests are valid for one year.
Many who had a lit “check engine” light followed my advice, and bypassed the new OBD test – which considers that an automatic fail – until 2015.
Readers were cautioned that disconnecting the battery or clearing trouble codes with a scanner would result in an automatic OBD e-test fail as the system would indicate “not ready.”
Even if your battery wasn’t replaced, it may have been disconnected for safety reasons during vehicle servicing – thereby clearing the on-board computer.
On Feb. 7, Drive Clean announced that motorists who fail twice for “not ready” can receive a “readiness conditional pass” provided 24 hours have elapsed before the second test, it’s been driven at least 30 km more, battery not disconnected nor OBD codes cleared in last 30 km.
So, one way or another (clear pass or conditional), your Drive Clean ordeal for this plate renewal should be over at your retest. If the “check engine” light is on though, you will fail and have to spend up to $450 on repairs.
If your plates have expired, you can purchase a temporary “T” sticker, valid for 10 days, to keep driving your vehicle legally until it passes Drive Clean.
Without a temporary validation, you can indeed be ticketed if driving with expired plates.
Mohamed Bouchama of Carhelpcanada.com, a non-profit consumer group, adds:
The new OBD e-test is also causing great difficulty for used car dealerships as many vehicles with a lit “check engine” light easily passed the previous dyno test, but now this is an automatic fail – making such vehicles unsellable. It’s also not uncommon for dealers to replace a battery, so now these cars will have to be driven for a few days before they can obtain a Drive Clean pass and be delivered to the buyer – if they’re willing to wait.
Drive Clean does little, if any, good for the environment. It’s my opinion that consumer interest is best served if the program is eliminated entirely.
Columns & Advice
Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X