Legality of Deletes
Now to the elephant in the room — the legality of deletes. It’s simple: They aren’t. Removing or tampering with anything related to pollution-control components is a direct violation of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). If you, or the shop doing the work, is caught and prosecuted, the EPA can assess a fine of up to $4,527 for each “tampering event or defeat device,” in accordance with Section 205(a) of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. § 7524(a), and 40 CFR Part 19.
Tampering with or removing pollution-control components also voids the engine warranty, according to GM, Ford, Ram and Nissan warranty policies. Then there’s the resale and trade-in aspects to consider. The resale of a diesel pickup that has had the engine modified isn’t specifically addressed under the federal law. However, state or local laws may require vehicles to be “smog legal” for them to be licensed or registered.
Restoring a diesel pickup’s pollution-control components back to OEM can cost $4,000 if all the parts have to be replaced and reinstalled. The DPF, alone, can cost upward of $2,000 for your truck. Will a dealer service a truck that’s been modified in this way? Sure. Servicing a diesel that’s been “deleted” is the same as servicing any other diesel — you just don’t have to deal with EGR-related problems.