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jon_bousfield

Warranty issues with performance upgrades??

29 posts in this topic

Hi folks after a bit of advice please.

Been considering a performance upgrade (remap or plug in type box of tricks) for my new Q5 2.0 TDI. Theres a couple of places that friends have used and get very good reviews not far from me at Sedox at Sunderland and Motorscope in Northallerton for the remaps which when researching seems to offer better performance than the cruder plug in type boxes.

My main concern with either type though is the detectability during main dealer servicing. Car is only a few months old so don't want to effectively be writing off 3 years warranty if anything big goes wrong on it. Are main dealers (Audi in particular) really switched on to this? Are remaps obvious as soon as they plug into the ECU? Will they make a big issue of it if they do find one on the car?

Any thoughts or advice on best route to go would be appreciated.

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Yes, remaps can be detected. A lot of it depends on your dealer though - some of them aren't bothered, others just say "no warranty claims". Weirdly, it tends to depend on the service manager.

One option worth looking at is the Shark Performance STS - performance remap, which you can remove when you need to and overwrite it with the OEM one. Clever stuff and not that expensive. Don't confuse it with a plug-in box. It's not. The STS is like having one of Shark's people uploading a remap or standard map to your car, without the hassle of having to go to them. Shark Performance - Self Tuning System

HTH

:beer:

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The old standard comment was that they can't invalidate your entire warranty. It's only an issue if the modification causes a failure and that seems perfectly reasonable.

However in the US, Audi have been tagging modified cars on their database and refusing unrelated warranty claims. I'm not sure if it's legal. Perhaps they're just hoping word of mouth puts people off.

At the end of the day if the car manufacturer digs deep enough they can find traces off remaps. You can on a risk when you remap and have to accept that. Most people appreciate that the risk is small but if it's gonna worry you then don't bother.

Oh and don't be tempted to think you can hide it from the insurers. If you're upside down in a ditch and unable to un-remap your car and they then test it and find it, you'll be without insurance and possibly liable for all the huge claims etc

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Thanks for the pointers guys. Scotty I would definitely always declare to my insurers for the very reasons you mention and also having had a couple of quotes back it seems wouldn't make a great deal of difference to my premium. Will definitely have a look at the Shark STS if that can return ECU to original map for servicing etc though.

Also hear good reports about the plug in box from tdi-tuning.co.uk which sounds a bit more sophiticated than the cheap and crude resistor type plug ins which just fool the fuel temperature sensor to chuck a bit more diesel in.

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Also hear good reports about the plug in box from tdi-tuning.co.uk which sounds a bit more sophiticated than the cheap and crude resistor type plug ins which just fool the fuel temperature sensor to chuck a bit more diesel in.

It's the same thing, just in a fancier box.

Tuning boxes have their place (I've used them myself over the years with no issues), but nothing does it better than a proper remap.

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Where does one stand if you honestly didnt know the car was remapped? A friend of mine bought a one year old car from one of these car supermarket jobbie thingies. Never once thought it was mapped till he took the car in for warranty work. They did do it in the end but was such a ball ache for him and he honestly did not know.

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It's the same thing, just in a fancier box.

Tuning boxes have their place (I've used them myself over the years with no issues), but nothing does it better than a proper remap.

Not all plug-in boxes are the same. There's a few on the market, but underneath the better ones are purely there to allow to you apply and remove the remap and then you unplug them - that's how the Shark STS works.

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Where does one stand if you honestly didnt know the car was remapped? A friend of mine bought a one year old car from one of these car supermarket jobbie thingies. Never once thought it was mapped till he took the car in for warranty work. They did do it in the end but was such a ball ache for him and he honestly did not know.

Is that not a "buyer beware" thing?

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Not all plug-in boxes are the same. There's a few on the market, but underneath the better ones are purely there to allow to you apply and remove the remap and then you unplug them - that's how the Shark STS works.

Yes but that's not what he's talking about, the Shark STS (among others) is simply a vehicle for delivering a proper remap without having to visit a tuner.

The other tuning boxes (resistor in a box as he says) are essentially all the same, they stay connected to the car all the time, and simply intercept the signals from a number of sensors, and essentially fool the ECU into putting more fuel in.

The upside of the plug in (resistor in a box) devices is twofold, firstly you can remove them without trace, and secondly you can sell it on when you sell the car.

The downside is that it is a very crude way of 'tuning' a car, as I said, I've used them before and been very happy with them, but they cannot compare to a proper remap (whether Installed by a tuner or via an STS type device) for outright power gains, drivability/smoothness or reliability.

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We're saying the same thing, just in different ways +++

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We're saying the same thing, just in different ways +++

No, no, no, what's happening is that you're using different terminology to express a broadly similar concept.

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WARNING - if you are planning any remap which involves flashing the ECU on Audo you will get a TD1 flag. It does not matter how good your relationship is with your dealer as it gets flagged at the factory.

Fourtitude.com - TD1 warranty flag

Maybe, maybe not! Each manufacturer has their own take on this - the fact is that even if a mod is detected is does not mean a manufacturer can 'void' a warranty entirely. It's for the manufacturer to prove your mod directly caused the problem that they are trying to avoid paying out on. I'm sure Audi do not check with HQ for every warranty claim, in any case warranty work keeps most dealers afloat so it's a fine line and not in their interest to refuse every modified car.

VAG pays the dealer for warranty work,so it is out of the dealers hands,if VAG denies your warranty,the TD1 stays for the life of the car. Believe it or not,BMW & Nissan are actually even more hardcore about this,and they flat out deny warranty if mods are detected.

Speaking as someone with first hand experience of having warranty work done on both modified BMW and Nissan cars what I can say is that they are very reasonable - BMW were I believe unaware but nothing flagged and the work was done no issues. Nissan were aware of the engine remap but still performed a gearbox bell housing replacement with no fuss +++

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Maybe, maybe not! Each manufacturer has their own take on this - the fact is that even if a mod is detected is does not mean a manufacturer can 'void' a warranty entirely. It's for the manufacturer to prove your mod directly caused the problem that they are trying to avoid paying out on. I'm sure Audi do not check with HQ for every warranty claim, in any case warranty work keeps most dealers afloat so it's a fine line and not in their interest to refuse every modified car.

It may be the manufacturer's responsibility to prove it but can you imagine the potential recharge bill if the mod was the cause (however unlikely) ?

Audi don't need to check with HQ. They plug the car up to the computer on every service. That's why the Audi situation in the US or car's being flagged is a big one. Big brother is gradually removing the dealers scope to choose.

I know that Audi UK were picking up many bills why they thought they shouldn't have been. Dealers being "mod friendly" often meant they were doing things under warranty that they shouldn't and effectively were defrauding Audi. Not surpisingly Audi have taken steps to protect themselves.

I think any manufacturer who states they wouldn't cover cars with mods would lose a lot of business so I think they need to tread very carefully.

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Indeed Audis get plugged into HQ more or less on every dealer visit and I know the flag comes up on a modified car in the UK and that Audi would look to refuse any drivetrain warranty claim on a flagged car. Dealer or Audi UK could do it under 'goodwill' but do you want to take the chance? Having been through this I decided I did not. An Audi A7 engine replacement is £20K for example. I agree it is a fine line but as Scotty says the choice is now being taken away from the dealer. I know one dealer who has been through their entire used car stock in case they unwittingly stocked and sold a flagged car and thus would end up picking up any warranty bills. The only way around this I see is if the tuners step up to the plate and underwrite any refused warranty claim on cars they modify. If they say their mods are safe and well within the limits of what the car can handle this should not be an issue but it will not happen because of the massive grey area of whether a mod caused or contributed to an issue or not. I suspect any owner might eventually win any claim but do you want a car off the road, or money out of pocket or all the aggravation involved? Each to their own but know that any tuner who says their mod is 'undetectable' is not correct. One tuner suggested to me to take the car to them to have the remap taken off before each dealer visit and also in case of breakdown have the car trailered to them before it went on to the dealer. Hardly a realistic option in either case.

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The only way around this I see is if the tuners step up to the plate and underwrite any refused warranty claim on cars they modify. If they say their mods are safe and well within the limits of what the car can handle this should not be an issue but it will not happen because of the massive grey area of whether a mod caused or contributed to an issue or not.

It's tricky cos a tuner you're then exposing yourself to the risk that faults not caused by your mod could end up on your lap. Tuners do not have the resource to argue with Audi in a court of law about who's fault the failure was.

What does wind me up is that a number of tuners have misled the public when coming up with their own warranties. There were many examples of people being told that they'd be covered and not getting anything in writing and also of others who were sold it as a warranty cover when in fact it was simply a warranty on the map. i.e. map goes faulty it'll be replaced but not the car's warranty etc.

It's a nightmare area and ultimately you do take on some risk if you mod.... although that risk is generally very low.

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As Bazza says, the manufacturer can only refuse warranty claims on parts that have been directly affected by any modifications, so with a remap for example, they could refuse a claim on the main engine itself, the mechanical parts of the gearbox (but not the bell housing as it's a passive part, just a lump of metal) the fuel pump, injectors, and turbo, as a remap will directly affect these parts, but not say, the alternator, steering pump or A/C pump which are attached to the engine, as the remap doesn't affect these parts in any way.

They cannot just say 'your car is modified, the warranty is void'.

Ford tried this with me when I bought my Galaxy, it needed a new clutch and flywheel at 40k and was booked in to have it done under warranty, I'd changed the wheels from the original steels to the optional 18" 5 spoke jobbies that were a genuine Ford option, only I didn't buy them form Ford.

They said this constituted a modification and my warranty was void, I asked them to explain exactly how the wheels could have effected the flywheel and clutch and they came up with some stupid story about the larger wheels putting more strain on the transmission, I politely asked them what modifications they would have made to my transmission if I'd purchased the optional wheels from them and they didn't answer.

In the end I had to argue it out with Ford customer services, and they backed down pretty much straight away when I mentioned to them I was looking at the optional wheels on their website as I was talking to them, I had a rather large, smug grin on my face when I took the car into the dealer to be sorted.

The 'mechanic' that came up with the story ended up getting sacked for stealing money and not doing work at the weekends in the end which rather amused me, but not my colleague who's car he was meant to fix but didn't, but that a whole different story and court case.

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"Tuners do not have the resource to argue with Audi in a court of law about who's fault the failure was."

and neither of course does the average owner. Fighting your own corner you are more likely to win on goodwill as they want to keep you as a customer. If you go off in a huff to another brand they are all in the process of taking a similar stance so out of frying pan into fire.

I agree the risk is quite low BUT I was told it could apply to any element of the drivetrain including, say, brakes and you can see how they might argue these cases.

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When I had my Mondeo ST remapped, Superchips warranted the engine and transmission in the event the Ford declined a claim, fortunately in 100k of taxi driving and track days I never had to claim.

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I agree the risk is quite low BUT I was told it could apply to any element of the drivetrain including, say, brakes and you can see how they might argue these cases.

That simply wouldn't stand up, a remap has no effect on the brakes whatsoever.

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That simply wouldn't stand up, a remap has no effect on the brakes whatsoever.

I am not disagreeing but surely they could argue that the brakes are having to work a lot harder than they were designed to and they could even claim that changes to the engine management potentially effects all the work that interacts engine management and braking e.g. Start/Stop systems. Not disagreeing just saying. I also got this from an Audi dealer when discussing any potential issues "The implications of a warranty claim in regard to drive train issues (engine, cooling system, turbo, brakes, gearbox) is that the manufacturer will not support the warranty." I just (personally) decided it was not worth the potential hassle.

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That simply wouldn't stand up, a remap has no effect on the brakes whatsoever.

Giving the car more power has no effect on the brakes??

No effect whatsoever?

Seriously?

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Giving the car more power has no effect on the brakes??

No effect whatsoever?

Seriously?

Of course it doesn't, if you're braking from 60 mph, what difference does it make how quickly you got there?

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They cannot just say 'your car is modified, the warranty is void'.

Of course it doesn't, if you're braking from 60 mph, what difference does it make how quickly you got there?

:grin: Jesus, I find myself agreeing with Tipex twice in one thread! :roflmao:

I'll repeat, there is no such thing as a totally 'voided warranty' - I've actually just picked up a voicemail from my local Mercedes AMG tech as I was enquiring about the impact of a secondary Cat delete on my C63 - the repsonse was that I'd be out of luck for a claim on my exhaust system. Anything in line of the exhaust, such as the engine, would need careful looking at but even he admitted they would need to prove the mod caused the problem before a claim could be rejected. Everything else on the car would still be fully covered by warranty.

This is why I don't buy into this Audi "TD1" flag which the worriers seems to think will block any warranty claim on a modified vehicle...

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