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I’m newer to this platform and am making an assumption here but you seem to be concerned about failing emissions. I think just a tune will yield big increases and I can’t imagine that would cause you to fail emissions. In Illinois all they do is hook a sensor up to your tailpipe at idle and it’s pass/fail. I can’t imagine an aftermarket tune changing the level of emissions at idle to the point the car would fail. If you removed the cats from the exhaust that would be a different story, but I would think just a tune would be okay.
I'm planning on tuning mine someday. Just want the warranty for now. I have tuned all my cars since the 90's and all passed emissions. We had a guy with open headers trailer his car to an emissions station. Bet the attendants he could pass and he fired it up, they plugged it in and it passed. Drove back on the trailer and went home. Just about anything can pass with plug in inspections with the right tune/file.
 
I work for an OE and do flash validation. I'll tell you what I know from an OE side and an aftermarket side for my other car....

The OE does tons of testing and tuning, and a majority of it is for EPA. Most cars are tuned down to meet those EPA standards. Yes, there are a few parameters that must be tuned lower to meet the OE's 70% or 75% or whatever it may be for sensor thershold.

Most aftermarket tunes (up until last year when the EPA started really cracking down) will more then likely cause a vehicle to fail emissions testing. I'm not sure how true this anymore as I live in a non-testing state and there's no plans to bring it back.

Now, as far as will a tune void a warranty.... If the car is found to have a tune...100% yes! However, Trifecta used to make an "invisible tune" that stored a tune in non-used memory. You would turn the cruise control to the "ready" position and the tune would switch with the current OE tune. GM got wise to this. So they started reading how many times the PCM was flashed because the PCMs all now keep track of how many times they're flashed and the OE I work for 'bricks' at 99. So everytime you would turn the tune on and off, it counted as a flash and the register number would show that. So GM can void warranties even if you aren't caught with a tune in your car.

Most tunes will take your forced air vehicle to 90% or so of capability, where the OE tune will be about 70-75%. An NA car is much harder to get hp out of without adding some sort of forced air. And NA vehicles are consistently tuned much less then even the 70% thershold because most people won't spend $7k to turbo or supercharge it. Does any of this reduce life expectancy? Let me put it this way. If you're very anal about maintenance, your car should last almost as long as it would have without tuning it. If you don't believe in maintenance, then your car is going to have a short life whether or not it's tuned. My Solstice, and my Caddy will have oil changes every 5k. (new study shows that changing 100% synthetic every 3k is worse then letting it go 12k miles because it doesn't have time to break down and bond...but my thoughts are still out on that!!!) I used to change my oil on my Sol every spring when I pulled it out of storage and every fall before putting it away for the winter....but I only drive the car 2k miles/yr.
 
Because I'm stupid I have to ask, but does the EPA or some other government organization have anything to do with how/why GM tunes it's car?

100% yes. They are THE biggest reason that most cars are not tuned to maximum potential.
 
I work for an OE and do flash validation. I'll tell you what I know from an OE side and an aftermarket side for my other car....

The OE does tons of testing and tuning, and a majority of it is for EPA. Most cars are tuned down to meet those EPA standards. Yes, there are a few parameters that must be tuned lower to meet the OE's 70% or 75% or whatever it may be for sensor thershold.

Most aftermarket tunes (up until last year when the EPA started really cracking down) will more then likely cause a vehicle to fail emissions testing. I'm not sure how true this anymore as I live in a non-testing state and there's no plans to bring it back.

Now, as far as will a tune void a warranty.... If the car is found to have a tune...100% yes! However, Trifecta used to make an "invisible tune" that stored a tune in non-used memory. You would turn the cruise control to the "ready" position and the tune would switch with the current OE tune. GM got wise to this. So they started reading how many times the PCM was flashed because the PCMs all now keep track of how many times they're flashed and the OE I work for 'bricks' at 99. So everytime you would turn the tune on and off, it counted as a flash and the register number would show that. So GM can void warranties even if you aren't caught with a tune in your car.

Most tunes will take your forced air vehicle to 90% or so of capability, where the OE tune will be about 70-75%. An NA car is much harder to get hp out of without adding some sort of forced air. And NA vehicles are consistently tuned much less then even the 70% thershold because most people won't spend $7k to turbo or supercharge it. Does any of this reduce life expectancy? Let me put it this way. If you're very anal about maintenance, your car should last almost as long as it would have without tuning it. If you don't believe in maintenance, then your car is going to have a short life whether or not it's tuned. My Solstice, and my Caddy will have oil changes every 5k. (new study shows that changing 100% synthetic every 3k is worse then letting it go 12k miles because it doesn't have time to break down and bond...but my thoughts are still out on that!!!) I used to change my oil on my Sol every spring when I pulled it out of storage and every fall before putting it away for the winter....but I only drive the car 2k miles/yr.
My understanding is the fact that a vehicle is tuned does not automatically void the warranty. The manufacturer has to prove that the tune (or modification) caused the part in question to fail to deny the warranty coverage.

Also each platform is very different with respect to built in thresholds. As an example the A45 AMG type S puts out 416hp out of a 2.0L 4 cyl from the factory. This car (AMG) is much higher than the 70% capability from the factory, probably closer to 90%+.

Maintenance and tuning will also be very platform dependent. Some cars you can just tune and get an extra 50whp and never worry about. The Golf GTI on the other hand with a manual will almost certainly require an upgraded clutch if you tune it and that has nothing to do with the maintenance and everything to do with the thresholds of the stock hardware. There are many variables including driving style in addition to the platform that can impact longevity and what is a safe threshold.
 
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Most aftermarket tunes (up until last year when the EPA started really cracking down) will more than likely cause a vehicle to fail emissions testing. I'm not sure how true this anymore as I live in a non-testing state and there's no plans to bring it back.
Do you have first hand experience with this in your line of work? I’m genuinely curious, I’m not in the industry but I have been pretty active in various car forums over the years. While I have personally only tuned one of my vehicles, I have read a lot of information across various platforms and I can’t recall any concerns or problems people have had with emissions and tuning only, though most of my vehicles have been newer and Illinois only requires emissions testing in certain areas and vehicles that are 3 years or older I believe. The only time I have seen people referencing needing to go back to the stock tune is relating to bringing the car into the dealer for any type of warranty work (though that may not work with key cycle counts), but I’ve never read anything about a tune only impacting emissions.
 
Do you have first hand experience with this in your line of work? I’m genuinely curious, I’m not in the industry but I have been pretty active in various car forums over the years. While I have personally only tuned one of my vehicles, I have read a lot of information across various platforms and I can’t recall any concerns or problems people have had with emissions and tuning only, though most of my vehicles have been newer and Illinois only requires emissions testing in certain areas and vehicles that are 3 years or older I believe. The only time I have seen people referencing needing to go back to the stock tune is relating to bringing the car into the dealer for any type of warranty work (though that may not work with key cycle counts), but I’ve never read anything about a tune only impacting emissions.

California has been collecting ECU data for years in preparation for checking for tunes. In the last year or two they implemented the program and now scan the ECU specifically looking for tunes during emissions testing. My guess is this was in response to diesel trucks rolling coal. For now, I believe only CA checks for tunes.

CA and EPA have also shut down and fined most of the Diesel tuners - including demanding and receiving customer lists (though I am not aware of them doing anything to customers yet). A few have stepped up to perform the drive cycle tests to sell their (now emission compliant) tunes, or folks are getting tunes from Canada or other countries.

It has always been illegal to tune any car with an emissions label (so every car that was not designed as a race car). There has never been an exception for modifying federally certified cars for racing / off road use, but until the Biden administration the EPA turned a blind eye. In the last few years the EPA and CA have cracked down on both the tuners and end users. I suspect enforcement will only get tougher. Eventually tuners for gasoline-powered cars will likely go underground or become emissions compliant just like Diesel has in the last couple of years




Edit: I just read through the EPA settlement (last link) and it looks like the EPA crack down started during the Trump administration

"33. Respondents violated Section 203(a)(3)(A) of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. §
7522(a)(3)(A), by knowingly removing and/or rendering inoperative emissions-related elements
of the ECM installed on or in motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines that were in compliance
with Title II of the CAA, including the Black Ram 1500 inspected by EPA on July 9, 2019.

Civil Penalty
34. Based on analysis of the factors specified in Section 205(c) of the CAA,
42 U.S.C. § 7524(c), the facts of this case, information that Respondents provided to EPA, and
Respondents’ ability to pay, Complainant has determined that an appropriate civil penalty to
settle this action is $350,000. EPA has reduced the civil penalty based on information provided
by Respondents to support their claims that they are unable to pay a higher civil penalty and
remain in business."
 
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My understanding is the fact that a vehicle is tuned does not automatically void the warranty. The manufacturer has to prove that the tune (or modification) caused the part in question to fail to deny the warranty coverage.
Yes and no. An engine tune won't have anything to do with a failed window regulator. But if there's a drivetrain or powertrain failure, expect that to be not covered. Pay to play.
 

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