There has been lots of talk regarding the new items that are going to be included in the annual MOT test from the 01st January 2012.
We have put together this document to put at rest the forum talk over “illegal” ECU chipping.
The EU have put into place a new directive, number 2010/48/EU which is a revised directive of 2009/40/EU. This will come into force as of the 01st January 2012. The items to be included in the annual MOT from this directive are as follows:
Airbag warning lights
Seat belt pre-tensioners
Headlamp bulb and unit incompatibility
Illegal engine 'chipping'
New diesel emission limits for vehicles registered on or after the 01st July 2008
The main subject that has had major discussion is the illegal engine chipping which we will try and explain what the UK might adopt in the process of the inspection during the MOT.
There are some tuning companies that supply tuning boxes that work as a 'piggy' back to the ECU or connected somewhere in the fuel system. These types of tuning boxes will be easy to pick up on the MOT by a Nominated Tester (NT) and will be failed under the new rules.
The other tuning companies that use the OBD to access the ECU to carry out a remap, will be ok when it comes to the MOT as there are no signs of modifications. The only time that this type of tuning will become a problem is if the software that is used is poorly written and clearly has no respect for emissions levels or smoke levels on diesels and will fail the basic emissions tests.
A visual check should be the method of inspection that may be introduced by the Department for Transport (DfT), and the same rule that applies now with regards to 'no dismantling' will still be there. There is however a huge flaw in this, if a car has had a damaged ECU and this has been replaced with obvious signs then this would be classed as a fail. If the ECU is tuned and replaced in the car correctly with all the correct anti tamper bolts this is a pass.
The DfT are also unlikely to introduce any new tool to the MOT to check ECU's via the OBD. Such a tool will be very costly and if brought in will mean an increase in the MOT fee which is currently at £54.85 for class 4 (other fees are different dependant on test class). We would estimate that the test fee would need to go up by 50 - 100% in order to cover costs of the tool and the extra time taken for the test, the logistics of this would also be prohibitive meaning every manufacturer would need to submit their entire database of standard files accessible to a system the DfT would have to develop to check this and service 19000+ outlets. For all these reasons, OBD tuning will not be checked.
Vehicles are built to a type approval standard and when chipped some EU States believe this defeats the object of the approval in regards to emissions. At present the emissions test is only carried out with no load on the engine. The DfT may bring in something to the MOT test to check emissions under load but again this is very unlikely due to the time needed and the NT having to take the vehicle out on a road test.
So in summary.....
Any vehicle that has a remap/chip will and can be failed under new proposals. As long as you have a OBD, chip, direct bench flash remap and no tampering is obvious to the ECU as well as the vehicle passing its emissions test, you will be fine and your beloved vehicle will pass year after year.
If you have bought a plug in tuning box you will find it hard to get an MOT pass as the NT will see it and then fail the vehicle.
So now may be the time to think about who you use for your tuning.
We hope you find this document of some use and hope that now some forums will stop panicking and scaremongering.
Written by GHE Tuning and John Robins @ DNA Tuning
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