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Is It Legal For a Dealership to Sell a Deleted Truck

Is It Legal For a Dealership to Sell a Deleted Truck

No, it is not legal for a dealership to sell a deleted truck in the United States or Canada.

Tampering with or modifying a vehicle’s emission control system is a violation of federal law under the Clean Air Act in the US.

In Canada, diesel emission tampering is also prohibited under environmental regulations.

What is a Deleted Truck?

A “deleted truck” refers to a diesel truck that has had its emissions control components removed or disabled, typically through aftermarket modifications.

image of a deleted truck putting out diesel smoke

The process of “deleting” emissions equipment often includes:

  1. Physically removing the DPF and installing a straight pipe exhaust instead
  2. Uninstalling or bypassing the EGR system and intake
  3. Removing the DEF injection system and SCR catalyst
  4. Reprogramming the engine control module (ECM) with aftermarket software to disable emissions controls and optimize performance

Why Delete a Truck?

Truck owners usually delete their trucks to gain increases in engine power, torque, and fuel efficiency, as well as to eliminate issues related to DPF clogging and regeneration cycles.

Dealerships face significant legal risks and consequences for selling deleted trucks:

  • It is a direct violation of federal emissions laws in the US and Canada
  • Dealerships can face hefty fines, penalties, loss of business licenses, and even criminal charges
  • Government agencies like the EPA are cracking down on emissions violations with stricter enforcement
  • Dealerships do not want the liability of selling tampered trucks and usually will not accept them for trade-in or resale

Risks for Truck Buyers

Purchasing a deleted truck also carries major risks and downsides for the buyer:

  • The truck is not emissions compliant and cannot pass inspections in most areas
  • If caught, the owner faces fines and must restore the emission controls at their own expense
  • Emission deletes can lead to engine damage, higher maintenance costs, and difficulty finding repair shops willing to service the modified truck
  • Reselling a deleted truck is very difficult as most dealers will not accept it, and selling it exposes the owner to legal issues for not disclosing the modifications to the buyer

The Bottom Line

Truck emission deletes may offer short-term performance gains, but selling a deleted truck is illegal for car dealerships.

The legal, financial, and practical risks far outweigh any perceived benefits for both dealers and owners. Dealerships usually understand the risks and liabilities, which is why they avoid selling tampered trucks altogether.


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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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