Service technicians, consumers and dealers have a few months to get up to speed on the first changes the Ontario Ministry of Transport has made to used-vehicle safety standards in 42 years.

Many think the changes are long overdue, as recent developments such as anti-lock brakes and even airbags weren’t even available in 1976. The new requirements for a used vehicle to pass the province’s safety inspection will go into effect on July 1.

And many of the changes might impact dealer’s willingness to pay strong values to take in trades, knowing they will likely have to recondition to a more stringent level, in light of the coming updates. There is also the worry that inspection times will increase, putting more potential stress on dealers’ reconditioning facilities and service technician work flow.

The changes impact the Passenger/Light Duty Vehicle Inspection Standard, which many dealers know well as Regulation 611 under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

The updates impact all 10 sections of Regulation 611: powertrain; suspension; brakes; steering; instruments/auxiliary equipment; lamps; electrical; body; tires and wheels; and coupling devices.

Regulation 611 works to lay out which elements of the unit’s components and systems much be checked, what condition they must be in, and more, to be deemed road-safe.  

The Ministry of Transportation provided a summary of the changes that will go into effect this summer. Here are a few key highlights:

First up, the Powertrain section has a bunch of new items for technicians to keep track of, including: accelerator pedal, throttle actuator, exhaust system, drive shaft, differential, clutch, clutch pedal, engine and transmission mounts, gear shifter/ selector and position indicator, drive belt pulley, electric and hybrid electric powertrain, gasoline and diesel fuel systems, and compressed natural gas and propane fuel systems.

For tires, the regulations are much stricter with an increase in the tread depth regulations. And the new requirement fails a tire “if any single point on a tire’s tread is below the minimum”  

And don’t forget suspension; the new requirements include new regulations for ride heights, bushing and shock/strut requirements, as well as new checks for suspension components and suspension system travel.The steering system checks are also being updated, with new requirements for components such as strut bearings and tilt/telescopic steering column hardware.

The Ministry is taking a particular interest in structural integrity. For example, specific requirements have been introduced “to deal with the loss of structural integrity of  cab, cargo or passenger body, frame or sub-frame, tailgate, bumper, seats and seat belts due to specified weaknesses, deficiencies, damage, seizure, wear, loss of components or material or improper repair procedures.”

Furthermore, occupant protection systems required by federal law must now be tested for functionality via the vehicle diagnostic lamps.

“The system check includes, when originally equipped, air bags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, and side air bag curtains,” the Ministry reported.

Lastly, the Ministry reported, “Lighting requirements have been changed to incorporate the lighting equipment required by the federal safety standard at the time the vehicle was new.”

The Ministry of Transportation published a summary of the changes to its inspection standard here.