Front Page: Traficom
Front Page: Traficom

As of 1 June 2024, operators carrying out vehicle engine control unit (ECU) programming and modifications must provide evidence that the vehicle complies with emissions requirements following the modification – sufficient evidence includes a report issued by a recognised expert or designated technical service or a type-approval certificate.

The amendment to the Vehicles Act entering into effect on 1 June 2024 shifts the obligation to demonstrate compliance with emissions requirements to operators that offer ECU programming modifications, exhaust system modifications or both to customers. 

Operators offering ECU programming services or exhaust system modifications for vehicles used in traffic must be able to provide evidence demonstrating that their services comply with provision and regulations concerning emissions. 

“As of June, the party responsible for emissions compliance in all service provision corresponding to the definition of emissions manipulation is the service provider, and this responsibility cannot be shifted to the consumer,” states Inspector Kaarle Röyttä from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom. “In other words, the current practices of carrying out and offering modifications to consumers without providing any information on emissions levels or selling services ‘not for road traffic use’ for vehicles included in the Transport Register will no longer be possible as of June,” Röyttä clarifies. 

What is ECU programming and emissions manipulation?

ECU programming and emissions manipulation mean making modifications to a vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU) that affect the operation and characteristics of the engine, such as increasing power and optimisation. 

Emissions manipulation also refers to making modifications to a vehicle’s exhaust systems, such as the DPF, SCR and EGR, which are essential parts of exhaust systems. 

How is the compliance of ECU programming demonstrated?

Sufficient evidence in terms of emissions includes a report issued by a recognised expert or designated technical service or a type-approval certificate. There are many designated technical services that can issue such reports in both Finland and across Europe. At present, there are no recognised experts in Finland qualified to issue reports on vehicle emissions. 

An emissions measurement certificate issued by a repair shop or inspection station is not considered valid evidence of a vehicle’s emissions levels or for demonstrating compliance. 

Consequences of not providing evidence

An economic operator offering services corresponding to the definition of emissions manipulation to consumers without providing the required evidence may be issued a penalty fee of up to EUR 30,000 by Traficom. 

Vehicles modified before 1 June 2024 

There are large numbers of vehicles in Finland that have had emissions manipulation systems installed on them. “If you know that your car has undergone ECU programming modifications or had exhaust system components removed, you should verify the vehicle’s roadworthiness with a manufacturer’s representative, for example,” Röyttä advises. “If you want to undo the modifications and restore the vehicle to its original state, you should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer’s representative. If, instead, you want to retain the modifications and make your vehicle roadworthy, inspection stations can help with matters related to the required modification inspections and vehicle approval,” Röyttä continues.

The traffic use of modified vehicles is supervised by the police, the Finnish Border Guard and Finnish Customs.  The supervisory authorities may impose traffic penalty fees of EUR 300–30,000 on the owners or holders of vehicles that have undergone emissions manipulation.


Designated technical services in Finland  (External link)

Designated technical services in Europe

Recognised experts in Finland   (External link)

Vehicles Act (in Finnish) (External link) sections 2, 6 a, 7 a, 189 and 193

Government Proposal 291/2022 (in Finnish) (External link)