Are Diesel Tuners Illegal?

There is no way around it; tampering with or modifying your truck’s emission system in any manner is completely unlawful. It is not a state or local law (though such do exist), but rather a federal law. The first thing clients remark when we discuss it is that “it’s only for off-highway use” or “it’s for tractor pulls.” They believe that by doing so, they will be able to avoid any laws, but this is far from the fact.

Yes, your emission system can be lawfully removed from your vehicle, but it will require recertification by the manufacturer and the issuance of a new emission label and certification. You can’t just sign a piece of paper and declare that your engine has been recertified. You’d have to pay to have your engine re-certified by the original equipment manufacturer, which is a costly process.

Myth #2 There are no EPA Police

This is technically correct. A federal emission law, on the other hand, can be uploaded by any state or local government. This misconception is similar to someone declaring, “There are no IRS cops,” despite the fact that the IRS can collect and enforce laws from a building thousands of miles away. The extent of testing and enforcement will differ depending on your state and county.

Myth #3 – The EPA doesn’t go after the little guys

Another prevalent misunderstanding among clients is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not target small enterprises. For your convenience, the EPA maintains a list of every single resolution filed against the Clean Air Act for cars, organized by year. Cases range from tuning equipment providers being taxed over $4 million to a single owner doing a DPF delete on a single car.

If you think you’re “too small” to be noticed or cared about, rest assured that you’re wrong. It only takes one employee or service provider to report the problem, and you’ll be in serious trouble in no time. If the removal/tuning has been done frequently or on a wide scale, the cases might be both civil and criminal.

The fines can quickly mount, since the EPA has the authority to levy civil penalties of up to $7,500 per day for major violations and $37,500 per day for minor violations.

Myth #4 – Only California Cares about Emissions

We get calls from county and state governments asking for a software solution to detect pollution manipulation on commercial trucks on a regular basis. We don’t have a response yet, but I can assure you that someone is working on one right now. There is a sizable demand for a device like this. The reason for this is that the fines are so high that a government agency might pay tens of thousands of dollars each month for that software and still make a profit.

California isn’t the only state with this problem. Several counties in Texas already require emission testing on commercial trucks, and states like Minnesota, as well as New York, are following suit. They’ll find a means to collect fines if there’s money to be made!

Myth #5 Deleting my emissions will solve all my problems

This isn’t even close to being accurate. Your first task will be to find a competent “tuner” to assist you, and based on our experience, there are more incompetent ones on the market than competent ones. To be honest, the truly outstanding tuners aren’t promoting because they know what they’re doing. In terms of technical expertise and capability, the ones that do advertise are often at the bottom of the totem pole. They frequently clone one ECM software to another without thoroughly inspecting the intricacies.

So, what exactly does this imply? It indicates that if your engine is tuned by a bad tuner, you will have serious issues. Poor engine performance to your engine flinging a rod through the block are all possibilities. Inexperienced tuners, for example, will often remove the EGR on the PACCAR MX engine. The EGR, on the other hand, cools the combustion chamber. With the EGR removed, your head will crack, and you’ll be dealing with a far worse problem. Modern engines are built to work in harmony with all of their components, and changing one component might lead to more serious issues. If you think it’s just MX engines, consider this Facebook user who had an ISX removed:

Aside from these urban legends, there are a few more things to consider.

Finding a Shop to Help You

You’ll have a hard time finding a franchised dealership to help you after you’ve removed your emissions. They don’t want to take on the risk of working on decommissioned emission equipment, and they can’t guarantee the work. That means you’ll have to find a qualified independent facility willing to work with you on your own. Even if the engine problem you’re having has nothing to do with your tune or delete, as most of you know, seeing these on the open road can be challenging at best.

Reselling Your Truck

If you ever consider selling or trading in your truck, you will almost certainly run into problems. If you sell it with parts removed, the individual who buys it or takes it in trade will have a legal case against you. You made an unlawful change without informing the customer, and now you’re facing legal (and financial) consequences. You will very certainly have to pay to restore all deleted components to their original configuration. Even taking your truck to an auction doesn’t exempt you from liability, as one forum user pointed out. Law enforcement frequently attends public auctions to guarantee that no illegal activities are taking place. Note:


There are two basic approaches for emission adjustment, according to the “economy.” The first option is to save money by learning to do it yourself. Because it requires downloading ECM information to your laptop/computer, updating the software, then pushing it back, you should have a foundation in computer science and how diesel engines work if you go this route. The actual “tuners,” who are subject matter experts, do exactly that.

These folks, on the other hand, are often hard to discover and are aware of the risks indicated above. They gain money in a different way, by selling the “tunes” to repair shops. Do you remember the guy who advertised on Facebook and Craigslist that he would do a tune for $1,000? That individual has no idea what he’s doing. He’s buying tuning files from real specialists, marking them up, uploading them to your ECM, and then walking away from you for good.

That’s all we know about eliminating and optimizing your engine. Our recommendation is to avoid it and instead work with a local, experienced repair shop that has access to correct diagnostic instruments and repair information. You’ll be alright if your engine is well maintained and you can locate a qualified repair facility that can precisely troubleshoot emission difficulties. If you can’t find one, we recommend taking advantage of our aftertreatment diagnostics hands-on training program.

Is it illegal to hire a truck tuner?

Yes! Yes, there are! Make sure you select a reliable shop to tune your vehicle that is familiar with the appropriate legislation and can guide you in the proper route. It’s a good sign if you can even find it locally, because it’s illegal to sell the same parts that are prohibited to modify your vehicle with.

Is the EPA putting a stop to diesel tuning?

At least 28 separate companies were identified to be engaged in the production of at least 45 diesel tuners, according to E.P.A. investigators. The companies are not named in the study because the E.P.A.’s investigation into the subject is still ongoing, according to the report.

It would be far more difficult to crack down on the diesel-tuner business than it would be to go after a single company like Volkswagen. Mr. Kodjak of the International Council on Clean Transportation explained, “There are a lot of little enterprises in play; it’s more difficult to police than one major multinational automaker.” “Amazon has diesel tuning equipment for sale.” Your engine may be retuned for $400.”

“By no means are all of these illegal,” he continued. “A lot of them are small businesses.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shut down various manufacturers as part of its investigation: Punch It Performance and Tuning, a small Florida company that had been selling illicit diesel tuners online, was fined $850,000 earlier this year by the government.

The settlement was reduced “due to their restricted financial ability to pay a bigger penalty,” according to E.P.A. papers. Defendants have stated that they will sell residential real estate properties obtained with earnings from the manufacture and sale of defeat devices in order to pay this penalty.”

Is it safe to use diesel tuners?

Massive amounts of black smoke should not be coming out of your exhaust as a result of the chip. Although diesel chip tuning is a more straightforward operation when compared to petrol chip tuning, this does not imply that diesel engines are unbreakable.

With a diesel engine, you don’t have to worry about detonation, but you do have to be concerned about exhaust gas temperatures. Excessive exhaust gas temperatures can harm your cylinder head, valves, and possibly even your turbo.

Unlike a petrol engine, where adding more fuel lowers exhaust gas temperatures, adding too much diesel has the reverse effect, which is why you should avoid using a chip that produces too much black smoke.

You may boost the performance of your diesel engine without producing a lot of black smoke.

Extra black smoke may be OK for brief amounts of time if you’re driving to the track, but regular and repeated black smoke events, as well as the excess heat that comes with them, must take a toll on the engine’s life.

Excessive black smoke can also harm or clog your DPF, but good heat shielding that keeps the DPF at a high temperature can help to counteract the effect of the excess soot by making the DPF more effective. DPFs (Diesel particulate filters) prefer to operate at high temperatures; driving about town, for example, is not ideal for a DPF; they need good exhaust flow and heat to fully clean themselves.

Is it worthwhile to tune a diesel?

Diesel tuning will boost the power, torque, and speed of your diesel vehicle, primarily improving its performance. It’s usually reserved for newer or turbocharged vehicles. New automobiles are also easier to tune because they have more adjustment points and take less time to alter the ECU.

Give these substantial benefits to increasing the performance of your vehicle: increased medium-range torque and power, cost-effective fuel gains, longer service intervals, a more reliable motor, and larger fuel savings than oil vehicles.

Are turbos CARB compliant?

April 1, 2018 Sacramento, California The California Air Resources Board (CARB), long known as the emissions watchdog in both the OEM and aftermarket arenas, made a surprise announcement this morning, stating that all forms of turbocharging on gasoline engines will be considered noncompliant with the state’s strict emission laws as of April 1, 2019. Furthermore, the new CARB regulation’s wording applies not only to aftermarket turbocharger systems, but also to OEM turbocharging.

The notice, which was sent out early Sunday am on the wire, added, “In lieu of a grandfather provision, a one-year lead time was chosen to allow current owners of turbocharged vehicles time to bring their vehicles into compliance before facing a $50,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail.”

Other forms of forced-induction aren’t included in the official release, but given the state’s preference for electric vehicles, we have to wonder whether OEMs would explore technologies like Audi’s electric supercharger, which would be permitted under the new regulation’s phrasing. We’re also left wondering if CARB will target diesel platforms next, given that diesel engines account for the majority of OEM turbocharging.

On the condition of anonymity, we spoke with a source close to the situation (aka Lirpa Sloof) to get a sense of what’s on the minds of California lawmakers. “What it boils down to is that turbochargers have advanced tremendously technologically in the last decade,” Sloof explained. “OEM and aftermarket turbo systems can now meet CARB emissions standards while still providing incredible power and making automobiles enjoyable to drive. The underlying issue is that CARB finds automobile fun to be unacceptable.”

Sloof continued, “This was not an easy decision to make. Over the last few years, California has been suffering from a severe drought, and the tears of enthusiasts who were beaten by turbocharged automobiles were really helping to alleviate the drought by a significant amount. After some heated debate, it was decided that CARB was unconcerned about California’s water shortage.”

During the compliance period, which will finish 90 days before the regulation takes effect on April 1, 2019, a public feedback area will be available HERE. Let your legislators in California know how you feel before it’s too late and the new regulation takes effect.

Is it unlawful in California to use a diesel tuner?

All Six-Gun, Economind, and OttoMind Diesel Tuners for Ford, GM, and Dodge pickup trucks are now covered by the California Air Resources Board Executive Order (CARB E.O. ), making them legal to operate in all 50 states.

Will shops be able to work on a truck that has been deleted?

It doesn’t matter if it’s a deleted Ram or a Yugo, any vendor will take your money. Dealers are not prejudiced. The only time you’ll have problems with the dealer and deleting is if you’re working on a warranty.

Is it beneficial to remove a diesel?

To put it clearly, any diesel pickup’s emissions equipment should not be removed. It is a federal criminal to remove any factory-installed emissions equipment, regardless of local or state testing regulations. The factory warranty on the vehicle is also void when emissions equipment is removed. Before you say anything, there is no way to prevent a dealer from discovering that emissions equipment has been removed. Even if the hard parts are replaced, the ECM will still show signs of adjustment.

What makes a tuner different from a programmer?

Performance tuners and power programmers are practically the same thing. The terms are frequently interchanged. Both provide power increases for your car, truck, or SUV and interact with your vehicle’s computer.