VAG Warranties and tuning, do they mix?

Tuning under warranty

Please note* We are not solicitors, this is not legal advice or any kind of legal document. Simply an interest article using our insight having worked in the industry.

You have a shiny new, or at least very young VW/Audi Group vehicle and you’re looking to push it to the next level. As a premium performance parts supplier we get asked this question countless times every day;

“Will changing this affect my warranty?”

So you’re looking to modify your vehicle but you don’t want to affect the manufacturer’s warranty right? Here’s the low down on “warranty safe tuning”.

The bottom line is this, it does not exist… here’s why! The vehicle manufacturers we know and love give you a warranty on a car they have designed, built and tested rigorously. It is then outlined in most warranty documents that if the vehicle is modified in any way, they are no longer willing or legally obliged to warranty the vehicle and cover you for anything that goes wrong. Objectively, that’s not a completely unreasonable request as they don’t know the source of the parts/software nor how they were fitted. We modify/tune our cars because we love them, want a better sound, we’re a sucker for the gains or any number of other reasons… but it’s on you.

As an example, VW/Audi Group have codes or “markers” if you like built into the vehicles onboard systems which are designed to detect and log modifications the vehicle thinks have been made. These are then categorised and turned into ammunition for a dealer to refuse warranty work at their discretion.

TD1 – engine modification (this can be hardware or software)

TG1 – Gearbox modification (most likely software but with vehicles pushing more power it could be hardware too)

TB1 – Suspected use of tuning box probably the most difficult one for them to prove as they have to look at torque figures that the car has been producing and these leave very little traces if removed completely.

Will this work? Can it be detected? What if I remove it?

There are always ways to try and cheat a system, it’s a gamble that some people like to take. However what you have to remember (and particularly with VAG vehicles) is the TD1/TB1/TG1 markers mentioned above can be flagged either visually by a technician at dealer level or through software checks online via ODIS to VW’s servers.

In Conclusion

We do what we do for the love of cars and tuning, as with all gambling if you can’t afford to lose when it goes wrong then don’t do it. But if you’re going down the tuning route it’s even more important to choose your products and software carefully. After all if you’re going to take a risk… you may as well negate further chances of something going wrong. Gather feedback and choose quality from companies who put months of development into their products and test them for 1000’s of miles before releasing anything and putting their reputation on the line… Moreover, they are the ones who will back you up should you have a problem.

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