What Happens When You Get Caught With a Deleted Truck?

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By Jessie Villanueva

deleted truck

Running a deleted truck is a serious violation that can result in fines and costly penalties. Under certain conditions, driving a deleted truck can even be the reason for getting criminal charges of “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle’. 

However, what exactly happens when you get caught driving a deleted truck? You will be heavily fined with individual penalties that start from $2,500 and can go up to $ 7,500. These amounts can differ as they depend upon the geographical regions and severity scale of driving a deleted truck. 

It is necessary to know that driving a deleted or modified truck publicly, that doesn’t have proper emission parts, is against the law. Let’s continue with this discussion to know more about the consequences of driving a deleted truck. 

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So, Why Are Deleted Trucks Illegal?

In trucks, a Diesel Particle Filter (DPF) is an important part. When the air leaves the exhaust, this diesel particle filter immediately traps the finest particles. In deleted trucks, DPF along with the Exhaust Gas Regulation (EGR) system is also removed. The function of EGR is to lower the temperature of the intake chamber by recirculating the exhaust gas into the intake chamber. The reason for lowering the temperature of the intake chamber is to produce a low amount of NOx gasses. When EGR and DPF are removed from the truck, high amounts of toxic NOx gases are emitted directly into the atmosphere. These gasses then further become the reasons for the increase in environmental pollution. 

According to the EPA, more than 550,00 deleted trucks have been found operating in the United States in the past decade, which severely increased diesel truck pollution by 15-17%. Furthermore, these deleted trucks pollute the air so much that it will take 9 million non-deleted trucks to create such extreme levels of air pollution in a lifetime. Due to such a severe impact on Mother Nature, the United States in 1997 made mandatory use of DPF and EGR systems in vehicles. Since then, tampered trucks have been regarded as illegal. 

What Are The EPA Laws And Regulations Regarding Emission Deletes?

old toyota hilux

To guarantee that vehicles run smoothly and have permissible standards for emissions, the EPA enforces Title II of the Clean Air Act. Now the truck manufacturers have to follow these given regulations to make legal sellings in America. Looking at the 2007-10 Clean Diesel Program, crucial steps were taken to minimize fuel costs at the same time enhancing benefits from vehicles. 

It is not allowed for anyone to install a component that renders, or defeats any emission controls especially when they fully know the reason for that specific item. It is also not allowed to deactivate an emission control device before selling the vehicle to others. All such prohibition comes under Title II distinctly bars acts. To maintain the amount of emission emitted by vehicles, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set laws and regulations. These regulations must be obeyed by truck manufacturers.

What Happens If You Get Caught With A Deleted Truck?

State and federal law both strictly prohibit the driving of the deleted truck. If you still are driving a deleted truck publicly and get caught then you can get fined in between the range from $2500 to $ 7500. Companies that manufacture deleted trucks can be fined approximately 14 million depending upon the severity of the violation. 

If you have tampered your truck from inexperienced mechanics then your vehicle can stay in limp mode. This will cause severe fines. It’s not only the driver who can be fined but also the manufacturer who deleted the truck. You can even face criminal charges for violating the Clean Air Acts. 

What To Do When Your Truck Is Deleted?

If you have purchased a vehicle but don’t know whether it is deleted or not then you can have an inspection. If you have been sold a deleted car then you have the full right to sue a lawsuit against the company. In some states, before registering the vehicle, you would be required to pass an emission test. Only the deleted truck would be unable to pass this test. So in the case of a deleted truck, you have the full authority to return your vehicle or you can choose to put the emission tool back. 

Is It Legal For Tuners And Shops To Delete Trucks?

modified ford truck

No, it’s not like that. However, there are many shops and tuners that have deleted trucks. They must know that if they get caught, then they have to follow severe consequences. What most shops and tuners do is that they sign a contract with the customer which states that the customer will not use the tampered truck publicly. This contract signing process is usually done before deleting a truck.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Deleted Truck

If you are using your truck for heavy loads then tampering or deleting will give you many benefits. Let’s get to know about the disadvantages and advantages of deleting trucks;

Advantages Of Deleted Trucks Are:

The major benefit you get from deleting trucks is fuel savings. Around 20% of the fuel is saved which further enhances the engine’s power. Moreover, you don’t often have to struggle with maintenance. More benefits are;

  1. Increased Fuel Economy:

In non-tampered trucks, a ‘regeneration’ process occurs which requires extra fuel. In case of tampered or deleted trucks where DPF is absent, the extra fuel that has been used for the regeneration process will be saved. Thus there is a 20-30 % increase in overall fuel economy. If you are a trucking company, the increased fuel economy is tempting to the bottom-line.

  1. Engine Power Boost:

Usually, after 30 miles, the trapped particles in DPF get burned. It means you have to drive 45 miles /hour or more speed to make your truck hot enough to burn these trapped particles. 

Removing DPF removes such a struggle of starting the ‘regeneration process’ and keeps your engine healthy. 

  1. Less Maintenance Cost:

It is not constant to have the perfect speed every time for the trapped particle to get burned within DPF. Thus, over time, DPF gets blocked by these particles which eventually minimizes the engine performance. 

Then to unblock the DPF, you have to clean it manually. Plus repairing DPF is costly. So removing DPF can save your maintenance fee. 

Disadvantages Of Deleted Trucks Are:

Dielsa air pollution is one of the major disadvantages caused by deleted trucks. Plus the fear of getting caught and getting fined will always keep pressure on one’s mind. Let’s look at the disadvantages in detail;

  1. Air Pollution:

Removing DPF in deleted trucks results in emitting contamination straight into the air. In the past decades, around 15-17% of air pollution has been increased by deleted trucks 

  1. Resale Value Drop

Buying and operating deleted trucks is something not everyone will like. It can cause the risk of being costly fined. Thus, deleted trucks have less resale value. 

  1. Rumbling Sound

Non-tampered trucks have a quiet exhaust system while tampered or deleted trucks don’t have DPF which results in producing high-growing sound. 

  1. Risk of being fined

For operating a deleted truck you have often been charged from $2500-$7500. You can face criminal charges in some states as well. 


Overall, running a deleted truck is not free of cost as you have to face the consequences. While they may be able to offer soothing performances, the risk factors are also aligning intensely. That’s why it is necessary for you to be aware of these factors and choose legal substitutes to avoid penalties.