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Old 04-22-2013, 01:17 PM   #1
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Talking Will A Tune Void My Warranty?



In “Will This Mod Void My Warranty?” we discussed the relationship between modifying your car and warranty law. The conclusion of that post was that a service department or automotive manufacturer can not legally void your warranty simply because you have installed aftermarket parts or have modified your vehicle. They can, however, deny a warranty claim if they can prove the issue in question was a direct result of the installed part or modification. But how does that apply to those who want or need a performance tune?

The tune in your ECU (Electronic Control Unit) controls every aspect of the engine’s operation: fuel and ignition maps, variable valve timing, rev limits, speed limiters, and many other functions. From the factory your car’s tune is set pretty conservatively in an effort to strike a balance between performance, emissions, fuel mileage, and reliability. Air/fuel ratios are generally a little rich and ignition timing is generally retarded to reduce the likelihood of detonation. Rev limits are set low to reduce wear and stress. And on and on it goes. Adjusting many of these setting will result in more power and better performance but, like almost all performance upgrades, it is a give and take. A leaner fuel map and advanced timing will add power but leaves you more vulnerable to detonation. A higher red line allows you to run out a little longer but at the cost of additional wear and an increased risk of a catastrophic failure. An experienced professional tuner is capable of writing a well balanced customized performance tune, but the OEM manufacturers (AKA: the guys who are ultimately on the hook for the warranty) see it differently.

The OEM manufacture’s stance is that a change to the stock tune exposes the engine and drive train to unknown and untested stresses that can negatively impact reliability. Because of the unknown consequences of this additional stress it is their policy to cancel all remaining engine and drive train warranty. Below are PDF copies of Ford and GM service bulletins laying out their policies on the matter.

GM 09-06-04-026A

Ford 11-7-7

If you get a tune and then have an engine or drive train problem you are most likely going to have a serious uphill battle. The thing to keep in mind is that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)) still applies. They can not deny a warranty repair unless the issue in question is the direct result of the tune. If there is no link then they have to honor the warranty. If there is you are on the hook.

A tune is absolutely necessary for anyone looking to maximize the performance of their car. My advice is to focus on other aspects of your vehicle until you are prepared to take responsibility if an issue were to arise. Once you are, the sky is the limit.

Last edited by Apex Motorsports; 08-25-2013 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:54 AM   #2
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Thanks.
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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Don't believe the OP, he does not have a clue what he is talking about.



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Old 05-20-2013, 08:07 PM   #4
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Don't believe the OP, he does not have a clue what he is talking about.



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Yeah, clearly.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:12 PM   #5
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That's exactly why I bought a ZL1 over modding an SS like everyone always likes to say.

I would rather have the factory power and maintain the warranty than to take a new car and be on the hook if something fails on a modded one.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:11 AM   #6
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That's exactly why I bought a ZL1 over modding an SS like everyone always likes to say.

I would rather have the factory power and maintain the warranty than to take a new car and be on the hook if something fails on a modded one.
This is a great point. GM has done a great job of fleshing out the 5th Generation Camaro line up. There are niche models available that appeal to different types of customers that do not require any modification. Just buy and drive. Or you can buy a standard SS and build something completely unique.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:56 AM   #7
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What if the tune just does speed corrections, and removes the governor?
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:47 AM   #8
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This is a great point. GM has done a great job of fleshing out the 5th Generation Camaro line up. There are niche models available that appeal to different types of customers that do not require any modification. Just buy and drive. Or you can buy a standard SS and build something completely unique.
Well some of us don't have $60k+ to buy a zl1 when you can buy a used SS for $27k and after putting lt's, intake, and a cam in it making it faster than the zl1 which uses the same drivetrain components anyway lol

On a side note unless I misread I saw nowhere in the tech bulletin about being able to tell if it was previously tuned. meaning that if you restore the factory tune to a car that has light bolt ons where driveability wouldn't severely be affected, they would not know it had previously been tuned and would still cover the failure unless your mods were the cause of the problem directly.
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:42 AM   #9
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The ZL1 does not use the same driveline components. the clutch, drive shaft, rear end and cv shafts are heavy duty. The brakes are also better and you need that with a SC.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sugarfree135 View Post
Well some of us don't have $60k+ to buy a zl1 when you can buy a used SS for $27k and after putting lt's, intake, and a cam in it making it faster than the zl1 which uses the same drivetrain components anyway lol

On a side note unless I misread I saw nowhere in the tech bulletin about being able to tell if it was previously tuned. meaning that if you restore the factory tune to a car that has light bolt ons where driveability wouldn't severely be affected, they would not know it had previously been tuned and would still cover the failure unless your mods were the cause of the problem directly.
The ECM makes a record when it is re-flashed. When they pull the info they will be able to tell if you re-flashed it back to the stock tune.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #11
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But does it save the date and time it was done or just that it was done? My thinking is that if you bought a used car you could argue the previous owner did it not you, as long as it's not time stamped.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:47 AM   #12
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The ECM makes a record when it is re-flashed. When they pull the info they will be able to tell if you re-flashed it back to the stock tune.
True in certain circumstances Chase. According to Trifecta and some other third party testers on a manual V6 you can load the tune in ghost mode and flash back to the factory tune without the dealer ever knowing. I have never tired it myself nor would I personally choose trifecta for my tuning needs just saying what has been reported.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:52 AM   #13
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True in certain circumstances Chase. According to Trifecta and some other third party testers on a manual V6 you can load the tune in ghost mode and flash back to the factory tune without the dealer ever knowing. I have never tired it myself nor would I personally choose trifecta for my tuning needs just saying what has been reported.
That may be the case with the V6, I am not as familiar with that system. I was thinking about the SS.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:57 AM   #14
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That may be the case with the V6, I am not as familiar with that system. I was thinking about the SS.
Yup I understand that part and I didn't mean to call you out since you know more than me in several other topics but I just wanted to clarify since you aren't in the V8 sub forum and didn't want a V6 to read and think that it would apply to them as well.
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