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Ontario changing used car safety standards and that's good news for buyers

I have heard that there is a new safety inspection coming soon to Ontario. Because I am in the market for a used car, can you shed any light on what to expect? – John B.

Ontario's passenger cars and light duty vehicles are certified for the road based on regulations implemented 42 years ago. That is all about to change. As of July 1, vehicles registered in Ontario will be required to meet a new standard to accommodate vehicle design advancements, including new federally mandated safety equipment.

If you are in the market for a used car, this is good news. Many consumers mistake their safety certificate for a warranty, proof that they have bought a safe, reliable vehicle. With the new safety inspection, the vehicle they just purchased will be closer to the "good car" they are hoping for.

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Vehicle owners will receive a report completed by the inspection station detailing all the required measurements and observations. A road test is now mandated, allowing the technician to record driveability concerns along with proper odometer functionality. Wheel spacers are no longer allowed and tires have to meet tougher standards. Significant oil leaks from turbo chargers and power steering systems will fail the vehicle. The complete list of changes and additions is available online.

Once the dust settles and all the initial confusion is overcome, the new safety inspection will make it clearer for the technician to score a pass or fail. The grey areas have been clarified – incomplete wording in the previous documents have been expanded and completed.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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