About Drive Clean


Doing the right thing for the air we breathe

The Drive Clean program helps Ontarians make smart choices about the way we maintain and drive our vehicles. “Driving clean” through proper vehicle maintenance can:

  • save on fuel consumption
  • prolong your vehicle’s life
  • help protect the air we breathe

Improvements in vehicle-emissions technologies continue to reduce harmful emissions from new vehicles. However, these vehicles can become heavy polluters too, unless they are properly maintained. And, many older vehicles that do not have the newest technologies will be on our roads for years to come.

Different programs for different vehicles

Drive Clean has a program for light-duty vehicles and one for heavy-duty vehicles:

Light-duty vehicles Heavy-duty vehicles
  • passenger cars
  • vans
  • light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating [GVWR] or gross combined weight rating [GCWR] of 4,500 kg or less
  • sport utility vehicles (SUVs)
  • motorhomes
Diesel and non-diesel

  • large trucks
  • buses
Parts of the province covered by the Drive Clean program
  • From Windsor to Ottawa (the area of the province with the highest population density and the greatest number of vehicles).

  • All of Ontario


  • From Windsor to Ottawa

Owners’ responsibilities

Under Drive Clean, your vehicle must have an emissions test to renew your registration and licence plates. If your vehicle needs a test, you will be notified by the Ministry of Transportation in the registration renewal documents.

Effective September 1, 2011, vehicles will need a test at seven years of age, instead of five. If your vehicle’s registration renews before September 1, 2011, the old rules apply.

As a consumer-protection measure, an emissions test is also required when buying or selling used vehicles with a model year older than the current calendar year. This helps ensure that consumers do not purchase a used vehicle with emissions problems.


Seeing results

Here are some very positive facts about – or resulting from – the Drive Clean program:

  • Motor vehicles are a major domestic source of smog and several other toxic contaminants. Smog can have serious health consequences for many people, particularly children, the elderly and those with respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.
  • Through Drive Clean, vehicle owners have an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the quality of our air through good vehicle maintenance and by identifying and correcting emissions problems.
  • From 1999 through 2008, Drive Clean reduced smog-causing emissions of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons from light-duty vehicles by an estimated 266,000 tonnes. During the same period, the program also reduced emissions of carbon monoxide by about 2.5 million tonnes and carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, by about 250,000 tonnes.
  • Drive Clean reduces particulate matter emissions from trucks and buses by an average of over 200 tonnes.
  • Starting in 2012, Drive Clean is phasing in a new testing technology that, by 2013, is expected to reduce emissions from on-road vehicles by 20 per cent over what can be achieved with the current test.
  • A well maintained vehicle that is using less fuel saves money at the gas pumps as well as emits fewer pollutants. Early identification of emissions problems also helps avoid major repair bills and results in vehicles that are more reliable, run more smoothly and will likely last longer on the road.


Drive Clean Compliance

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.

In addition, the act makes it an offence to be involved in the production of a false Drive Clean pass or to try to use one for a vehicle registration transaction.