New changes coming on safety standards for used cars.
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2016 5:02PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:47PM EST
If you're in the market for a used car, or you're selling one, you will want to know about some changes coming your way. As of July 1st, a used car will have to pass a whole new set of standards.
Mechanic Nate Lalonde is checking out this car's shock absorbers to make sure they work. Something that will have to be standard procedure for all safety inspections come July 1st.
“In the previous handbook,” says Lalonde, “they just had to be attached to vehicle, now we have to make sure they're functioning properly.”
That “handbook" has grown to some 96-pages as the Ontario government works to ensure that cars on the road, both new and used, are as safe as they can be.
“I think it's great,” says Lalonde, “they had grey areas before that we weren't too sure about. Some of the time you saw something the vehicle shouldn't have on it, you weren't able to call it on the safety.”
This is the first time the province is updating its inspection standards in more than 40 years. It will require mechanics to go through a much more detailed process before passing a car.
That "pass" is needed in order to get a license plate for the vehicle. Among the changes, according to the Ministry of Transportation:
1. An inspection report must be provided to the consumer that includes important information on the vehicle including certain measurements that were taken during the inspection like tire tread depth and brake pad depth and warning lamps etc.
2. Federally mandated safety equipment is now captured, like Electronic Stability Control on vehicles 2011 and newer must function, and Airbags, which are not covered in the current standard despite being standard equipment on most passenger vehicles for many years.
3. Vehicles will now also be subject to a road test.
4. Window tinting will be part of the vehicle safety inspection for all vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2017. The windows to the right and left of the driver must not exceed maximum tinting levels as outlined in the criteria. In addition, windshields will not be permitted to have any aftermarket tint applied.
And there will be a focus on “hybrid” cars.
“There’s no definition of hybrid cars in the current standards act,” says Gary Moskalyk, the manager at Gary’s Automotive on Bank Street, “so there's going to be a whole new list checking the electrical system because hybrid cars are mostly electric.”
At Gary's Automotive, mechanic Zack Gauthier does about 5 to 10 safety inspections a week. 20% of those cars fail the test, he says, and figures that number is about to increase.
“I’m pretty sure we will see double the amount of cars failing now,” he says, but believes this could be a good thing, “It’s better for the consumer in the long run. Better cars on the roads, safer roads, too.”
But more things to check during a safety inspection means more time in the shop.
“Well time is money in this business,” says the manager of the Frisby on Clyde Avenue, “so if it takes more time, it will cost more money to do a safety check.”
So, if you're looking to buy a used car, the advice from the mechanics is to make sure the seller gets the safety done before you buy or you could end up paying a lot more than you thought.