Beware: The EPA is Cracking Down on Diesel Emissions Delete Devices
Everyone is trying to save money these days. The cost of fuel and diesel replacement parts cause diesel emissions delete devices look very attractive. Smog-control workarounds and DPF deletes came about in 2013 when the EPA mandated systems for pollution control on diesel pickups. Manufacturers and performance enthusiasts were driven to uncover ways to bypass restrictive EPA measures.
DPF deletes are products that replace the DPF and any components that impede the exhaust flow downstream from the turbo. Some also replace or block the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system. DPF delete kits also re-programmed the ECM (engine control module) on late-model diesels so that the removal of exhaust control devices would not set off warning codes or cause the trucks to be forced to limp home in a reduced speed or crawl to a stop.
The software tampering that change timing and other performance functions are called “tunes”. Such tunes void warranties and negatively affect engine wear.
Even with the consequences of voided warranties and a shorter lifespan of engine operation, enticement remains for some to tinker with their exhaust emission controls by adding DPF deletes and tuner shortcuts to increase horsepower.
But in this quest to maximize fuel efficiency and power, diesel truck owners seem to overlook the law:
There are absolutely no exceptions to the Federal Clean Air Act, the heart of our country’s smog laws since the 1970s. Emissions defeat devices and tampering with emissions systems causes the release of excess PM, NOx, and other pollutants that threaten public health—lung disease, irregular heartbeats, aggravated asthma, and a whole host of respiratory issues.
The fines and penalties extend far and wide. Diesel owners convicted of federal smog law violations related to any form of tampering, disabling, or removing pollution-control devices on a vehicle face civil penalties of $4,819 PER INFRACTION (as of January, 2020). The manufacturer of the delete devices, the seller of these devices, and the installer also face stiff fines—As much as $48,192 (10 times the amount of a single violation). California State violations could also be imposed along with incarceration if criminal intent is involved. Even if you purchase a truck with tampered diesel emissions, you could be slapped with hefty fines.
As recently as August of this year, the EPA imposed fines against three companies for disabling diesel emissions control systems and installing or selling illegal defeat devices—A clear violation against the Federal Clean Air Act. Their combined fines were over $200,000! In a separate case, courts also granted a $455,925 civil penalty against the owner of two companies, because he failed to respond to an information request from the EPA.
What constitutes a criminal infraction?
Shops and owners are under the EPA’s enforcement radar when installing and driving with EGR bypass kits, DPF delete kits, delete software, and any gizmo designed to improve performance by spewing pollutants into the air. To say that the EPA is taking violations against the Clean Air Act seriously is putting it lightly.
Here’s how to avoid diesel emissions defeat devices:
• When buying a truck, ensure that emissions components are in place. If the truck’s “check engine” warning light is aglow, pull the codes from the ECM to check for underlying modifications.
• Maintain your DPF, EGR cooler, and perform valve clearance adjustments on a regular basis. Here at AECS, we assess the condition of your diesel exhaust system and troubleshoot any issues. Our experts clean and repair all OEM filters, and we carry OEM-approved replacement parts to keep you running without worry of CARB or EPA violations.
Contact our in-house emissions consultants, Bob Gaffney and Stephen Davis, for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to get the facts straight on EPA and CARB regulations and how you can ensure that you are operating in the clear: (559) 240-6076.