What happens if you get caught with a deleted truck?

Modifying vehicles for increased performance is commonplace, as there are numerous upgrades you can make. The aftermarket options can feel limitless for some makes and models, letting you optimize speed, acceleration and fuel efficiency. 

However, some modifications could get you in trouble with the law and bring unwanted outcomes. For example, what happens if you get caught with a deleted truck? Here’s a guide on the penalties for this truck alteration. 

Penalties for Having a Deleted Truck

You probably won’t find deleted trucks at your average dealership or racetrack because they’re illegal in all 50 states No matter your state or jurisdiction, you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the law with this modification. 

Here are a few things you might face depending on your local regulations. 

Monetary Fine

The most common consequence of driving a deleted truck is a monetary fine. The amount depends on your state and jurisdiction, but you can be sure that law enforcement will take action against violators. 

You can expect a fine of up to $5,000 per part if you install non-SMOG-compliant devices in your truck — an amount nobody wants to fork over for a preventable issue. 

Deleted trucks directly violate the Clean Air Act and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies. Federal law requires automakers to install emissions devices and track how much nitrogen oxide (NOx) comes from the tailpipe, and many also signed legislation that forbids you from tampering with your vehicle with illegal defeat devices. 

A 2020 EPA report projects diesel truck tampering adds about 570,000 tons of excess NOx and 5,000 tons of particulate matter over their lifetime. 

Fines are a significant concern, but deleted trucks could land you in serious trouble. For instance, selling deleted truck kits has landed people in jail in the past.


Source: https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2021-01/documents/epaaedletterreportontampereddieselpickups.pdf

Voided Warranty

Emissions control software is critical to automotive industry leaders, and they don’t want the public to associate their vehicles with high emissions. Therefore, they’ll levy severe consequences if you tamper with the truck’s engine. 

Among the harshest repercussions is a voided warranty, which could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs if you need a mechanic.

While deleted trucks may bring performance boosts, they also increase the risk of breakdowns and failures. Suppose your deleted truck has an engine failure, necessitating a mechanic’s help to fix the problem. 

What happens if you get caught with a deleted truck and bring it to the shop? Automotive professionals are smart enough to detect where you altered the vehicle, thus making it less likely they’ll take the job due to its liability for their business.  This has become more and more commonplace as the EPA makes a habit of surprise visits to diesel repair facilities around the country.  If they are caught to have violated the Clean Air Act by installing or even by working on a deleted truck, huge fines or penalties can be assessed.  

Insurance Risks

Another entity you’ll alienate with a deleted truck is your insurance company. Automotive insurers are already wary about modified vehicles because they require you to obtain special coverage for these machines. 

Finding coverage for a deleted truck is nearly impossible because insurers know what is and is not legal. If your insurer discovers your deleted truck, they could increase your premiums or drop coverage entirely.

Lowered Value

Losing insurance and facing fines may push you to sell your deleted truck, but this process will be more complex than you might think. Vehicles with an emissions delete modification will be more challenging to sell because buyers won’t want to take on this liability — at least, not at the fair market value.

Your truck naturally loses much of its resale value over the years, but a delete might ruin any chances of getting your money’s worth. At best, someone will buy your truck and strip it to pieces. 

Another reason for the decreased value is the vehicle’s shortened life span, considering its survival rate. The EPA says tampering may provide benefits for a temporary span before reducing the number of years you get from your truck.

epa statistics


Other Risks

Fines and insurance loss are significant worries for getting caught with a deleted truck. However, the punishments keep coming, depending on how strict your state law enforcement agencies are. 

Losing Your License

For instance, a deleted truck infraction may even lead to a suspended or revoked license. This punishment is as serious as the others because now you can’t drive your deleted truck or any other vehicle. Thus, getting to work and performing daily duties is harder. 

Another risk you take with deleted trucks is seeing your vehicle impounded by the police and adding more hoops to jump through to get your truck back.


Inspections are a common way for officials to catch deleted trucks. Most U.S. states require emissions testing and will hand out fines for non-compliant vehicles so that this assessment would reveal your delete. Inspections are random in some states, so don’t risk getting caught with a delete kit.

When buying a vehicle from a private seller, inspect the truck to ensure the owner hasn’t installed a delete kit. In the past, people have faced fines for selling non-compliant vehicles on online marketplaces. In this instance, the seller said he had to return the machine to stock before legally selling it to another user.  

Why Do People Drive Deleted Trucks?

Deleted trucks are illegal in all 50 states, so there is no haven in the U.S. for somebody to make modifications. Why do some people take the risk anyway and tamper with their truck’s emissions systems?

The goal of a truck deletion is to boost performance by removing parts of the vehicle. For example, someone may try to increase the power output by removing the diesel particulate filter (DPF) and the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. 

Taking these devices out may let diesel truck owners accelerate faster and reach higher speeds with elevated horsepower. Your exhaust won’t limit how much airflow you get, thus increasing the engine’s output. 

Improve Your Durability With a BulletProof EGR Cooler

While EGR deletes are not legal in any state, there are alternatives to consider for your truck. For example, BulletProof offers upgraded EGR coolers from Power Stroke, Cummins, Mercedes, and other reputable suppliers. Check out the full selection and pick a BulletProof Diesel EGR cooler to enhance your truck’s durability and reliability. These devices are safe, cost-effective, and good for the environment — unlike EGR deletes.