Tech Talk: Is a Flash Tune Bad for Your Chevy Truck?

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Before you run out and reprogram your truck, there are some important things you need to consider.

On the surface, engine programmers look like a no-brainer purchase. Spend a couple hundred bucks, plug it into your truck, and you can quickly dial up more horsepower and better fuel economy. Heck, it makes you wonder why manufacturers don’t simply offer these magical boxes themselves. But some folks claim that using a programmer can void your warranty or even damage your engine. So is a flash tune really as safe as it seems?

It’s a question worth answering, and one that The Fast Lane Truck recently tackled in their latest “Ask Mr. Truck” segment. According to the resident expert, a flash tune is a quick and easy way to change or improve your truck’s settings. But those improvements come at a bit of a cost, after all. Funneling more fuel into your ride also generates a good bit of heat. And as you might guess, that can lead to problems down the road.

Flash Tune

The solution? As with any other performance mod, you must consider the total package. Additional mods might be necessary to get rid of that extra heat, like a bigger radiator or free flowing exhaust. And don’t be surprised if you find other parts wearing out faster. Like injectors, which Mr. Truck admits to blowing up with a custom flash tune.

That could cause warranty issues, of course, if the dealer can prove that your modifications led to the problem. But then again, you can also easily return to a stock tune and remove the programmer before taking the truck in for repairs.

So while programmers might seem like a miracle worker for your truck, they aren’t infallible. Turns out, they come with pros and cons, just like any other performance modification out there.

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts.

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