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    Thread: VW Tuner that won't void warranty?

    1. Junior Member rroman's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 11:21 AM #1
      Does anyone know if there is a Tuner for VW similar to what Dinan does for BMW? Mods done with Dinan products will not void the BMW warranty.

      I asked VW if installing springs would void my warranty. I couldn't get a straight yes or no, they just said "We don't recommend modifying your car, if a service technician deemed a modified part caused another to fail, VW may not honor the warranty repair"

      My issue with that statement is that it seems too open ended and up to the discretion of the service tech. Thoughts or comments from anyone?

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      08-16-2012 11:25 AM #2
      Quote Originally Posted by rroman View Post
      Does anyone know if there is a Tuner for VW similar to what Dinan does for BMW? Mods done with Dinan products will not void the BMW warranty.

      I asked VW if installing springs would void my warranty. I couldn't get a straight yes or no, they just said "We don't recommend modifying your car, if a service technician deemed a modified part caused another to fail, VW may not honor the warranty repair"

      My issue with that statement is that it seems too open ended and up to the discretion of the service tech. Thoughts or comments from anyone?

    3. Member snobrdrdan's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 12:01 PM #3
      There isn't one that will 100% protect your warranty, per say

      BUT there are some VW dealers that happen to also be APR dealers.....so they kind of turn the other way/work around it & work with you obviously
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    4. Junior Member rroman's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 02:11 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by snobrdrdan View Post
      There isn't one that will 100% protect your warranty, per say

      BUT there are some VW dealers that happen to also be APR dealers.....so they kind of turn the other way/work around it & work with you obviously
      Interesting you say that. I kept searching around and found a dealer not too far from me that is listed as a APR dealer. I sent them an email to ask about the warranty/mod issue. I'll update the post with what they tell me.

      I'm in NJ by the way, in case anyone is going to ask that next.

    5. Member dcbc's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 08:04 PM #5
      I have looked into this pretty closely. Here is what I have learned. If someone knows otherwise, don't hesitate to correct me (like you needed permission).

      1. No tune is invisible. If you go into a dealership and they plug in their diagnostic system, your ECU will show up as tuned, will be flagged, and will be sent to VW of America.

      2. A tune may void your warranty. This is true on paper. Yes, technically, they must show that the tune caused the issue. But can you afford to litigate this? There have been plenty of people that have had warranty work done when they have a tune, even work that could, if VAG wanted to argue about it, be not covered and blame the tune (rightfully or not).

      3. Most tuners will flash you back down to stock and then flash you back to the tune again later. There may be a small charge for this. But once you're tuned, reflashes can usually be done through the OBDII port, which should not be too expensive.

      On this note, I can speak from personal experience. I got a Unitronic Stage 1+ flash in July. On August 2, I got a flashing check engine light and horrible shuddering, hesitation, crummy idle, limp mode, the works. My tuner was about 120 miles away, so the next part took time. Once I had it diagnosed by an independent mechanic as a potential powertrain issue (I'm still under my PT warranty), I had him pull the ECU and reinstall the stock airbox. I shipped the ECU to my tune installer and he flashed it back to stock for me. He didn't mention money, but I dropped a check for $25 in the box and he seemed happy with that (since the ECU was already removed). I paid return shipping obviously. Got the ECU back, had it reinstalled, and went to the dealer. Long story short, it is being repaired under the powertrain warranty and they have not mentioned the possibility of my being tuned. Now, whether it showed up on the diagnostic report and was flagged, I do not know. Unless I see it, I'm not asking. Was it a huge pain to go through all of this? Yes. But it was worth (1) having the tune, which I will soon have again and (2) worth the delay of shipping the ECU to be sure I did as much as I could do to stay invisible from VAG, who either doesn't know or doesn't care about the tune in this instance (particularly since the problem appears to have no logical relation to the tune.

      If you have a local tuner, and they are good, use them. If you don't, understand that you might be in for some delays if you don't want to risk going in for warranty work with a tune. I have a second car. So this was only a minor inconvenience for me (I do miss my car a lot).

      YMMV
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      08-16-2012 09:30 PM #6
      Don't know if Linden VW was the one you found in Jersey, but they do APR and just about every type of mod there (suspension, exhaust, etc..). I'm sure they won't install a mod then turn around and void the warranty because of it.

    7. Junior Member rroman's Avatar
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      08-17-2012 08:07 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by secondletter23 View Post
      Don't know if Linden VW was the one you found in Jersey, but they do APR and just about every type of mod there (suspension, exhaust, etc..). I'm sure they won't install a mod then turn around and void the warranty because of it.
      I saw that one listed too. I contacted DouglasVW since they are the closest dealer/tuner to me. I sent several emails and left a message but have not heard back as of yet. So far, I'm not impressed with their communication (or lack there of). I know they have a wheel thread on here and seem to keep up with that. I hope they get back to me soon, I'd like to check them out.

      Douglas VW, call me back!!!

    8. Junior Member rroman's Avatar
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      08-17-2012 09:07 AM #8
      UPDATE

      I got in touch with JC (wheel thread guy). He was very helpful in answering my questions. They have a very fair view on mods. I'm not sure that he would be ok with me posting what we discussed but I would suggest you PM him for details.

      I'm going to look into having them do my first mod, suspension.

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      08-17-2012 11:00 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by secondletter23 View Post
      Don't know if Linden VW was the one you found in Jersey, but they do APR and just about every type of mod there (suspension, exhaust, etc..). I'm sure they won't install a mod then turn around and void the warranty because of it.
      Just to clear things up for everyone.

      The way a warranty works on a New VW

      Any work or aftermarket parts installed on your vehicle have the potential to void your warranty. This does not mean that installing a flash on your car immediately voids your warranty, and no further work will be covered by VW. Also just because the work is performed at a dealership does not mean the warranty stays in tact.

      With that being said getting your car flashed at a Dealership has value. Some dealers especially the ones who dont flash cars have a knee jerk reaction when they find out a car has been flashed.

      Sometimes this stems from the fact they may have been burned in the past by an aftermarket install. Part of this frustration is legitimate, as someone may have been dishonest with them in the past. This most likely may have cost them days in an attempt to diagnose a car only to find out that the customer was dishonest, and had they disclosed what had been done it would not have cost them all that time(and because they are now not being paid money). I also understand some dealer have an immediate reaction if you tell them your car is flashed, my suggestion would be dont have them work on your car.

      Flashing a car is a simple straight forward upgrade that rarely causes any kind of warranty voiding. During my time at Keffer (we were a REVO dealer) we did not have a single issue with a warranty problem. That does not mean it cant happen though. If you get your car flashed and in a year your ECM goes bad. That would not be covered.

      For an aftermarket part to void your warranty it has to have caused the problem. This becomes a little be of a grey area, but for the dealers who understand the performance end it is pretty clear. Please dont go back to your dealer and attempt to argue with them based on what I have said. This will most likely not get you anywhere. It would be best to work with a dealer who understands you as a customer. The biggest value a dealer who flashed your car brings is that if they are working to diagnose a problem and they can remove the software to rule it out.

      Hope this helps. I tried to skim the surface on this. I plan to write an article on this and put it up on my site when its up. www.DeutscheAutoParts.com

      Thanks
      Paul Barrett
      Coming soon www.DeutscheAutoParts.com save it in your favorites. VW and Audi parts at super discounted prices

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    10. Member dcbc's Avatar
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      08-17-2012 11:01 AM #10
      If you have a dealer that offers mods and will agree cover you modded under warranty even if VAG will not. Go for it. Otherwise, no matter how mod friendly a dealer may be, it's VAG that pays for warranty work. And with mods, the coverage is a question, even if, often, it works out in favor of coverage.
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      08-17-2012 08:18 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by rroman View Post
      Does anyone know if there is a Tuner for VW similar to what Dinan does for BMW? Mods done with Dinan products will not void the BMW warranty.
      This is technically not true. The Dinan mods still have the potential to void the BMW warranty. The difference is, Dinan has their own warranty that matches the "void" BMW warranty. Dinan covers the costs of repairs through the BMW dealerships that are Dinan dealers.

      I researched this greatly when I had my 335i.

    12. Member snobrdrdan's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 01:12 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by dcbc View Post
      1. No tune is invisible. If you go into a dealership and they plug in their diagnostic system, your ECU will show up as tuned, will be flagged, and will be sent to VW of America.
      This is true

      But if you're in there for only oil changes or stupid stuff.....they won't be "diagnosing" the car and/or trying to find it
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    13. Member dcbc's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 01:24 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by snobrdrdan View Post
      This is true

      But if you're in there for only oil changes or stupid stuff.....they won't be "diagnosing" the car and/or trying to find it
      Right. But if you have a CAI or aftermarket exhaust, they can "manually" flag you by entering that info into the system.

      I am in for powertrain warranty as we speak. I was flashed to Stage 1 with a CAI. Before I took it to the dealer, I had my tuner flash me back to stock and removed the CAI. They are covering what could amount to some major engine work. If the problem proves to require more intensive labor to fix, I'm hoping that that will be covered and assuming with fingers crossed that it will since they have covered a bit of invasive labor thus far. Very curious if my tune showed up after flashing back to stock. I knew there was a chance that it would, but figured I'd do what I could to stay below the radar.
      Last edited by dcbc; 08-20-2012 at 01:28 PM.
      2010 CC Sport 6MT, Clear turns, Modshack Intake, Unitronic Stage 1+, RNS 510 Upgrade, 9W7(L) upgrade, 10 spkr Audio Upgrade with Amp and 10" sub.

    14. Member snobrdrdan's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 01:57 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by dcbc View Post
      Right. But if you have a CAI or aftermarket exhaust, they can "manually" flag you by entering that info into the system.
      Your dealer would have to be some MAJOR douchebags to pull that though...I'd avoid any place like that

      That info may or may not get back to VW though, and might just be internal at THAT dealer
      The ECU flagging DOES go straight to VW... I know that.
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    15. Member dcbc's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 02:15 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by snobrdrdan View Post
      Your dealer would have to be some MAJOR douchebags to pull that though...I'd avoid any place like that

      That info may or may not get back to VW though, and might just be internal at THAT dealer
      The ECU flagging DOES go straight to VW... I know that.
      You are correct. I should mention that I took my car to a dealer one town over. My local dealer (did not buy the car there) does have some MAJOR douchebags working for it. It is also owned by the King of dbags.

      I'm going to try to take a peak at the scan when I get the car back.
      2010 CC Sport 6MT, Clear turns, Modshack Intake, Unitronic Stage 1+, RNS 510 Upgrade, 9W7(L) upgrade, 10 spkr Audio Upgrade with Amp and 10" sub.

    16. Junior Member rroman's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 02:39 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by ClarkGriswold View Post
      This is technically not true. The Dinan mods still have the potential to void the BMW warranty. The difference is, Dinan has their own warranty that matches the "void" BMW warranty. Dinan covers the costs of repairs through the BMW dealerships that are Dinan dealers.

      I researched this greatly when I had my 335i.
      Thanks for clearing that up. I also confirmed this with my friend who had a M3 with some Dinan mods. My point was that with Dinan, you still have some sort of warranty.

      I spoke with a local VW dealer/tuner about suspension. They state they are mod friendly but will report to VW if they clearly find the culprit to be a mod. Of course, if you let them do the installations, I'm sure they'll do the right thing and "work around" the issue.

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      08-21-2012 09:50 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by snobrdrdan View Post
      There isn't one that will 100% protect your warranty, per say

      BUT there are some VW dealers that happen to also be APR dealers.....so they kind of turn the other way/work around it & work with you obviously
      Agreed! dealer i go to is APR dealer as well, and if you do install thru them they OK all the modes!

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      08-27-2012 06:07 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by dcbc View Post
      Right. But if you have a CAI or aftermarket exhaust, they can "manually" flag you by entering that info into the system.

      I am in for powertrain warranty as we speak. I was flashed to Stage 1 with a CAI. Before I took it to the dealer, I had my tuner flash me back to stock and removed the CAI. They are covering what could amount to some major engine work. If the problem proves to require more intensive labor to fix, I'm hoping that that will be covered and assuming with fingers crossed that it will since they have covered a bit of invasive labor thus far. Very curious if my tune showed up after flashing back to stock. I knew there was a chance that it would, but figured I'd do what I could to stay below the radar.
      This can be done but it is my opinion that it would not be the practice of most dealerships. The intention of the system to flag cars is intended to block people from doing deceitful things.

      Ex You have a cold air on your car and its slammed to the ground. One day during a bad storm you drive through a deep puddle and hydro lock your engine. You bring it to dealer 1 and they tell you this is not covered under warranty due to blah blah blah......... You tow your car out bring it to your house take the intake off and take the plugs out, get the water out of the engine and tow it to dealer 2. The whole point of the system is to stop people from going from dealer to dealer until they trick someone into repair their car. Not to flag every car ever flashed. Now with that being said not all dealers treat modified cars the same so its always best to ask about the policies of a store before taking your car there.
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