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Is the EPA making tuning illegal?

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I told a car enthusiast friend of mine that I started with the HP Academy and while he was super enthusiastic, he sent me a text from the EPA (U.S.A. Environmental Protection Agency) web site he said: " Just FYI, The EPA considers "tuning" illegal. "Section 203(a)(3)(B) prohibits aftermarket defeat devices. This includes hardware (e.g., modified exhaust pipes) and software (e.g., egine tuners and tunes)" ...

Can someone with USA legal experience please comment on this. I don't want to pour my life into a career that is now or will be shortly illegal. As much as i love it and want to.

I think that's "street" related, I don't think motorsports will be illegal ever.

Just my thought

The main issue seems to be the [insert description of your choice] environmental nutters are trying to make it impossible to dual purpose vehicle for road and track use - regardless of the state and federal legislation for exemptions, etc - with any modified vehicle to be declared ' off road only' with no provision for returning the vehicle to road use.

As with most things, they do have a small amount of justification as some state and federal prohibit modifying a vehicle with non-approved and certified parts - however, this doesn't apply everywhere, and there are a lot of things you can legally do to the vehicle that are emissions approved... even in california. The zealots are even against the CARB approved parts being used.

The actual legislation the EPA is trying to use to prohibit ANY is based on the quoted section - it was intended to stop people disabling things like EGR, removing cat's, etc, but they're trying to apply it to everything - even things that actually reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.

I'm, personally, concerned with the environment, and I expect anyone who's old enough to remember the smog, acid rain, lead poisoned kids, etc. prior to the introduction of pollution controls will at laeast partially support any moves to preserve air and water quality - but the EPA are being completely power hungry extremists over this. There are many, many more important things they should be chasing up on, such as ground water degradation from fracking, oil sand/shale pollution, etc. that is going to have a LOT more damaging long term affects.

Thanks for the input. While I was waiting I actually searched the EPA web site for anything related to tuning.. What I Found (and corrected my friend who got that quote from someone else... go figure)... what I found was that #1 - tuning is not even mentioned in that section at all. #2 I read both the EPA intiative behind the code and it clearly is going after deletes. If the tune helps the delete it's illegal. If the tune does not delete anything, it's legal (assuming it allows the car to pass smog). In California Chip tunes or any other tunes are legal, however when having your vehicle smogged, you must return the car to OEM tune. They compare your car to the OEM parameters, so they instantly know if it's been changed. But it's perfectly legal to tune as long as it passes smog and your allowed to return it to OEM for that inspection. #3. I read every single legal filing on the EPA website regarding tunes and deletes. I found that by far most of them were diesel deletes. However, there were some marine engine imports from China that had unapproved catalytic converters. There were some off road vehicles imported from China that also had unapproved catalytic converter designs.. That was most of them.. FlowMaster also settled with the EPA and were dinged because of selling their straight pipe system that both removed the catalytic converter AND tuned it to delete the engine warning regarding the Catalytic converter sensors.

SO in the end, #1 my friends friend literally made up text from the code (the eg. tuning, tuners, tunes) does not appear in the official code at all, though it is implied. #2 - it is clear this is about deletes #3 I am confident this is not an issue for high performance tuning. So I am ALL IN!

Cool, that's what I understood the initial legislation intended, but there does seem to be some confusion (to be charitable) on the part of some EPA officials - some 'tuners' have been hit with hefty fines on an assumption they were selling 'legal' products that would be used to make vehicles illegal - the EPA didn' t check who was using them, whether they actually affected the emissions or even if the vehicles would be used on the road, just hit them for ALL the product sales.

There is certainly a lot of FUD driven by the EPA's actions, some of which seem contrary to State and Federal laws.

Interesting you mentioned diesels - I expect the damn-fool idiots who fancy themselves as "tuners" and run hugely excessive fuelling and left clouds of smoke and oily soot everywhere they go are almost entirely responsible for this clamp-down!

Worry less about the EPA and more about state regulations. The EPA governs more general situations, while state regulations usually specify more strict controls. NY for example, will fail a car for inspection if there is any Calibration ID other than that from the factory or superseded by the OE. If you have a chip as well, the car will not pass inspection, even if it actually will pass emissions requirements.

Try to find your state's info, and as long as all your emissions equipment is still in place, the EPA does not care.

That's good to know. I read that in California where I live, you can mod away, but for smog test, you have to put it all back to stock. Then you're free to change it all back again. Except, you can't remove the CAT converter

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