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New ODBII Emissions Testing - What you need to know

February 22, 2013

Recently Ontario's Drive Clean Program introduced a new, standardized ODBII testing procedure. In the past few months I've spent a considerable amount of time answering questions related to these new tests so I thought it fitting to blog about it.

In the past Drive Clean was simply a gas analyzer. A probe would be inserted into your tailpipe that monitored emissions. If it found emissions to be in range you'd pass, if not you'd fail. As of recent Drive Clean is using your onboard ODBII diagnostic system (which is capable of monitoring emissions) to perform the test instead of an exhaust probe. The main difference is that your ODBII emissions monitoring system allows for far less emissions before if reports a failure, so it's harder to pass the new test.

What does this mean for my high performance Mustang and/or other ford vehicle?

Simply put - you may not pass emissions tests anymore even if you had success in the past.

Why may I not pass emissions tests anymore?

The new test looks for ODBII readiness in several categories (catalytic converters, EGR, EVAP, etc). In 99% of vehicles programmed in the last 10 years, rear o2 sensors we're disabled. If you've had your vehicle tuned by Steeda.ca (on the dyno or just a programmer) chances are your rear o2 sensors have been disabled. This means, you'll fail the new test because it requires that your rear o2 sensors are enabled (for readiness).

Why did Steeda.ca disable my rear o2 sensors?

In many applications high - flow catalytic converters are installed. When high flow catalytic converters are installed, your onboard ODBII diagnostic system will report a catalyst inefficiency and your check engine light will be illuminated. We disable rear o2 sensors to prevent this from occurring. Turning off the rear o2 sensors had no effect on your vehicles performance and no effect on emissions test results, so we had no reason not to do it (until now of course).

What if I'm not from Ontario?

If your province hasn't adopted emissions testing, or has yet to adopt the ODBII testing procedure for emissions, chances are they will in the near future and for this reason the same fate awaits you.

How do I know if I'll pass the new emissions test?

It basically boils down to how efficient your catalytic converters are. If you have high flow cats installed, you may have passed emissions tests with flying colours in the past, however you'll fail now (the new test is much more demanding of your catalytic converters).

You don't have to visit an accredited Drive Clean centre to discover that you'll fail. You may setup an appointment with Steeda.ca prior to setting up an emissions test at an accredited Drive Clean centre. We may perform the same test here, so we'll be able to tell you if your car will pass emissions before you waste your money and time failing an emissions test.

What if Steeda.ca determines I won't pass the new emissions test?

Chances are you'll pass the new emissions test however if you don't, it's not the end of the road - we've built 1000hp cars that have passed emissions tests legitimately. We know what needs to be done to produce an emissions compliant vehicle (regardless of its modifications) and will recommend the necessary components in order to make your vehicle emissions compliant.

You may require new, more efficient catalytic converters. We offer high - flow catalytic converters that yield less emissions than factory (restrictive) converters. These converters typically aren't standard with high - flow x - pipes or h - pipes that are available on the market however they may be swapped out with relative ease.

What if my exhaust system is stock?

If your exhaust system is stock, you'll likely pass the new test without issue. We may still have to reprogram your vehicle and re - enable the rear o2 sensors (assuming they're disabled).

When should I contact Steeda.ca related to my vehicle's emissions compliance?

Don't panic!

We recommend that you setup an appointment with us 1 month prior to when your next emissions test is required. This will give us ample time to establish your vehicles emissions compliance status and take the necessary steps to make it emissions compliant if needed.

I still have questions!

Not a problem - if you have further questions related to emissions testing and how it potentially affects your vehicle's emissions compliance we'd ask that you email us. We'll be more than happy to answer your questions at our earliest convenience.