12 Air Repair OBDII Review Volume 2 Number 1
How to Deal with OBDII Canadian Vehicles
From the January 2005 issue of Air Repair.
By Ken Beauvais, Repair Industry Outreach
Ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement
was ratified in the mid-90s, Canadian vehicles have been
allowed to be imported into the United States.
Automakers build vehicles to meet safety and emissions
requirements for United States and/or Canada. The
import process is relatively simple. It involves changing
speedometers and odometers from kilometers to miles,
changing the labels on the doors and engine compart-ment
and then submitting the paperwork to the U.S.
Department of Transportation. The paperwork indicates
that these imported vehicles meet the United States
safety and emissions requirements. This is the legal
But tens of thousands of non-compliant vehicles
have crossed the borders in untraditional or “gray
market” channels. These vehicles that make their way
into this country are often stolen and/or have salvage
titles, labels and documentation that have been forged,
and they could have cloned VINs. A few dealerships
near the border take advantage of lower Canadian costs
and import to the United States. Also the border patrol,
like many government agencies has faced cutbacks in
staffing and financial resources that make it easier to
cross the border.
US owners of gray market cars can have issues of
no warranty coverage and can be faced with seizure of
vehicles that have been proven stolen, forged or cloned.
Many owners are not aware they have gray market
vehicles, but this gray market affects both new and used
vehicles bought and sold by dealerships and private
The Illinois Vehicle Emissions Test program does not
have the jurisdiction and resources to fully investigate all
of these situations. Our purpose is to provide clean air.
The vehicles in question are model years 1996 and
1997. All 1998 and newer Canadian vehicles (except
Volvo V70 built prior to 9/1/1997) are considered by the
USEPA to conform with U.S. emissions requirements.
The USEPA’s website lists 1996 & 1997 model
Canadian vehicles that are compliant with U.S. emissions
requirements. Some may require a retrofit or
recalibration. These known fixes are required to pass the
Illinois emissions test. All other Canadian vehicles will be
subject to a visual inspection of the label on the door or
engine compartment and an exhaust test will be autho-rized.
This can be accomplished at any test station
Monday-Friday from 8-4:30 pm.
Canadian Vehicle Information Resources:
Canadian vehicles considered by EPA to conform
with U.S. emissions requirements are listed at:
Carfax is cited as a resource because of the strength
of its database if a particular vehicle meets US
highway safety specification. Carfax.com
Smart Search is a resource that accesses the data-base
in the Canadian provinces. LienQuest.com
From the October 2004 issue of Air Repair.
By Scott Kendall, Co-Owner Tahoe Automotive,
Certified Master Auto Tech, L1 Certified
With this article I will revisit a couple of issues that I
covered in previous articles. The first being the difficulty in
getting OBDII monitors to set on 1996 and 1997 vehicles.
The second, using Mode 6 data to spot a potential problem.
I got a call from the owner of a 1996 Ford Explorer,
which was repaired at a nearby shop. After the repair, the
Explorer was repeatedly rejected for the OBDII emissions
test because of three monitors not being run. It had failed
the initial test because the MIL was illuminated with a code
P0153 for Bank Two, O2 sensor one circuit slow response.
Replacing the upstream O2 sensor on Bank Two kept the
MIL off, and there were no further codes or pending codes.
I told the man on the phone with full confidence that
I could definitely fix the Explorer, figuring that the
previous shop had just failed to use the correct drive
trace. The previous shop as it turns out had gone so far
as to replace the PCM not once but twice, in its month-long
effort to get the monitors to run. The shop also, as I
would find out later, burned up $36.00 worth of gas in
the process of driving it in every possible manner.
When the owner dropped the Explorer off at our
shop and I looked at the VIR, I realized that the only non-continuous
monitor that had run in the month since the
Continued on page 13.
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