By on May 3, 2014

Do_not_press_button

 Years ago, a coworker constructed a sinister device. Inside of a RadioShack project box he attached a capacitor, a battery, and a 120 decibel personal alarm. On the outside he attached a simple on/off switch, and a button he labeled “Do Not Press.”  He would leave this in conspicuous places, and invariably, someone would pick it up, turn on the power, and press the button despite clear instructions to the contrary. The alarm would shriek and the capacitor ensured that once the power was applied, the alarm could not be turned off until you accessed a hidden reset port with a straightened paper clip to interrupt the circuit. As sinister of a prank as this was, it played upon a human trait; people, especially men, enjoy pressing a button that they’re told not to touch.

Nissan came to understand this with the GTR and Ford is showing clear understanding with the line lock feature on the 2015 Mustang GT.

YouTube Preview Image

 If you haven’t heard, in order to appeal to their demographic (save your snarky comments, I AM their demographic), the 2015 Ford Mustang will have a line lock switch available that will hold the front brakes and allow the rears to smoke the tires at will. Just typing that makes me giggle a little. The option is engaged through the track apps menu.

 YouTube Preview Image

 Oh but as you are enjoying that video, take look at the small print that appears immediately at the bottom of the screen; “Professional driver on a closed course. Racing your vehicle will void your warranty.” The discussion in the video is pointing out this is for the Mustang owner who wants to run their car at the local drag strip. I.E, it is an intended feature for the Mustang GT owner who wants to race their car.

 When the E46 M3 debuted with the SMG, the Internet was abuzz with a super-secret code launch control, a series of switches and actions roughly akin to Mario Brothers cheat codes. The engine would rev, the brakes would hold and the clutch would drop. The owner was rewarded with a tire-smoking, neck-snapping, launch as the M3 hurled into the future. The internet spurred rumors of null warranties, technician shenanigans and dealer witch hunts. The conspiracy theory held the belief the computer inside the M3 would track how many times this it happened, and anything more than eight would void the warranty on your German super touring sedan.

 The theories were not without precedent. Mitsubishi dealers were accused of trolling SCCA results and voiding the warranties of Evo customer’s cars, and Subaru was also called out for doing the same with WRX buyers.  A close buddy was told by his service tech to pull the SCCA inspection sticker off his doorjamb before the senior manager saw it.

 Then Nissan introduced Godzilla, complete with what became known as the “void warranty” selection on the center console. A class action lawsuit later, and Nissan came revised to the launch control software and plaintiffs were rewarded with a free oil change.

 

From ridelust.com

From ridelust.com

 

 And now, Ford has their “burnout button.”

 When engaged locked the front brakes and allows the rear tires to break traction in order to dust them off and heat them up for a optimized drag launch. In the aforementioned fine print, engagement in racing will void your warranty.

From Ford

From Ford

Bait and switch? Shady practices? Hardly. Ford is merely engaging and the latest series of marketing that Nissan learned. The launch control button created mystique, added to the legend and probably moved some cars. Ford understands and it goes all the way back to my friend’s little cruel plastic Joke.

 It is mystery and magic. The “I wonder what will happen” factor. Invariably when the 2015 Mustang GT hits the market, the Internet will swell with stories of service technicians using the burnout button and rendering the warranties of customer’s cars useless. How many of these will actually be the customers blaming it on the service department and how many these will be real events?

 It doesn’t matter. Because all the talk is going to accomplish one primary goal for Ford, sell Mustangs. Heck, it will probably sell Fiesta’s.

 I would expect to see more of this kind of optioning, rather than less. Because running deeper than our love of bloated SUVs, the need for a leather seats, navigation systems and top notch stereos; is a primordial desire to press a button.

 Especially when we’re told not to.

 

 

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63 Comments on “The 2015 Mustang Burnout Switch and Forbidden Buttons....”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    lol, line lock, like its the 60s all over again.

    Although warranty voiding features seem to defeat the purpose of a feature or a warranty.

    On the bright side, being able to hit buttons no other man had got me a dang good wife.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Chrysler engaged in similar practices during its turbo 2.2/2.5 days, with several high-boost logic modules that unlocked an additional 18 ponies and 20 lbs-ft of torque, all of which could be obtained through honest parts counter dealers for less than $200. Swapping in the part took less than 5 minutes, making it the best bang-for-buck performance mod ever sold. There’s a reason Hypertech didn’t bother marketing their crappy chips to owners of Chrysler products; Mopar was doing it better and for far less money.

    Upon moving to CO and experiencing the hassle of required tailpipe tests, I discovered the high boost module also ran cleaner compared to the stock computer. Just remember to swap it back out when you visit the dealer for recommended service intervals; no telltale checksum violations here!

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      It’d be nice if you could order stronger shift linkages along with that logic module.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Ah yes, those polymer-collared rubber linkage connectors would shatter after all that heat crazing; fortunately they were quick and easy to replace, although I have seen more than a few upgrade their transmissions with heim joints to avoid that frustration.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          The real kicker is that according to an old TTAC post, Chrysler actually had stronger linkages available but they wouldn’t use them since it’d cost $10 more peer a car.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            $10 per car is huge on a mass-produced product. Engineers go through hell and back to find a way to shave a nickel out of their component.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “$10 per car is huge on a mass-produced product. Engineers go through hell and back to find a way to shave a nickel out of their component.”

            I saved them quite a bundle then. By buying something else.

  • avatar
    imag

    To be fair, racing a car does add a huge amount of stress to a wide variety of components. Even as someone who tracks his car, I am not surprised that manufacturers don’t want to warranty track miles or extensive drag racing.

    That said, I think a modern car that is sold as a high performance vehicle should be able to stand up to a few track sessions per year with nothing but brake and tire replacement. There is simply nowhere else to safely use all that performance. I couldn’t care less about burnouts, but to me, a high performance car that suffers from brake fade after a few laps is a sham.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Agreed, buying a high performance car and racing it out on tracks promotes safer driving for the streets, plus its sort of what they’e made for.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If there was a way for manufacturers to ensure that only street legal tires were to be used, things would be lots easier. Speccing brakes able to stand up to pure race tires in 100+ degree heat in a car with all the weight of a street car, is hardly the way to stay price competitive….

      The solution: Get a bike :) Physics dedicates that braking force is limited by rear lift even on street tires. While cornering forces go largely straight up the frame due to lean. Magically having the “power” to hit the speed limit even in Los Angeles, where even Ferraris are de facto limited to 5mph most of the time, is just a bonus. That’s the reward for working “with the force”, rather than trying to work against it and beat it into submission.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        I agree that fitting slicks should void the warranty. That is a whole other ballgame on high horsepower cars. My problem is with production performance cars that fade on their spec tires, even with track pads.

        I agree that bikes make sense for the track. Their real advantage is their lack of mass. My personal preference would be for a Caterham, but I don’t have $75K laying around.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          Yep the first lesson I learn when tracking my 350Z – the brakes suck! Granted I don’t have the “track” model with Brembos but the stock system can’t take much before the fluid is cooked. After replacing fluid the pads and rotors become the weak point. All of this on a stock car.

          Its kind of scary when your realize how under-braked your car is. Granted slowing from 100 mph to 30(ish) four times in just 2 miles isn’t “normal” driving but I’d expected better from my “performance” car.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Did talk of Mitsubishi shafting their customers sell any Mitsubishis? I doubt it. I don’t think chatter about Ford’s frangible transmissions sold many Mustangs either. If the linelock feature is all about fine print and voided warranties, it won’t help sell Fiestas. It probably won’t hurt much though, judging by how some people are still buying Fords even as they’ve plumbed the depths of low quality and derivative styling.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I feel like there is a difference between having warranty issues because you competitively raced your car or hacked your transmission and having warranty issues because you use an option that came with the car.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      As best I can tell, burning your tires won’t void the warranty. Racing the car will.

      Frankly, I see Ford doing nothing wrong. They sell a performance car that some people will want to race. Great. They are not required to warranty that, but you are free to use it that way if you want.

      The entire notion that because Ford makes the car compatible with racing, but won’t warranty it if you take it racing is ridiculous. What if they made it with extra wide wheel wells so you could easily install track tires? What if they made it easy to install a supercharger & reprogram the computer? Should they be required to warranty a car because you chose to take advantage of those designed-in features to take it to the track? How is designing-in those features different than designing in an electronic feature? Does making it in a menu really different than making it in hardware?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I don’t have a problem with Ford voiding a warranty with proof that someone raced their car. I do have a problem with Ford potentially voiding a warranty because someone hit a button they provided. Especially if they are not extremely explicit in telling this to customers.

        “Does making it in a menu really different than making it in hardware?”

        In my opinion yes. I think there is a difference between taking advantage of an easy aftermarket modification opportunity and using a factory-supplied feature that is listed in the owner’s manual.

        I used to own a Grand Prix GTP. If I put a smaller supercharger pulley on it and blew it up then that’s on me. If GM supplied me with the smaller pulley when I bought the car and I brick the engine then I think that should be on GM.

        It seems that I am in the minority on this opinion though, and I’m not going to buy a Mustang or GTR anyway so I don’t really have any skin in this game. If high-performance vehicle buyers are into it then have at it, I just hope “void warranty” buttons don’t make it into the mainstream vehicles.

        FWIW, there is nothing definitive that says Ford will void a warranty for using the line-lock feature, so this whole thing might be about nothing.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    With 255/40-19s priced from $250 to $350 EACH on Tirerack, I salute those with the financial wherewithal to burn off their Mustang rear tires! (Somehow it doesn’t seem that long ago when you could buy a whole SET for that much LOL).

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Ultra High Performance tires can still be bought for that price (per set), if you go for 15″ sizes. It’s the larger sizes that really set you back.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    So, automotive engineering has gotten to the point where makers will force well-educated engineers to install warranty-voiding buttons just for the sake of some internet buzz?

    And for the record, Fords “Line Track” option would be more practical if they sold an extra set of slippery, burnout-happy tires (that didn’t void the warranty), if I were doing burnouts I wouldn’t be smoking my regular tires.

  • avatar

    My 300SRT lacks the 8-speed.
    To get maximum thrust you have to switch SPORT MODE on. This causes it to dip into gear 2, 3 or 4- decreasing fuel economy, but providing more power.

    To do burnouts, you have to switch off ESC and enable SPORT MODE.

    May I ask that car developers place these buttons CLOSE TO THE DRIVER rather than the passenger?

    Why the hell would I want ESC or the 4×4 mode near the passenger???

    Little kids like to play with buttons.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    I don’t think this is so terrible. It allows owners who wish to get factory engineered racing mods at the (reasonable) loss of full warranty (hemis weren’t warranteed in the old days either).

    Suppose some ‘consumer ‘group successfully sues and stops this. That means no more cool factory racing goodies at the extreme edges of performance.

    We lose.

    • 0 avatar
      old5.0

      Actually, the 426 Street Hemi did come with a warranty. It was just a much shorter warranty than it’s wedge-head counterparts.

      Ultimately, the warranty isn’t the issue, the issue is how Ford responds to claims. I remember a buddy’s then-new 88 Mustang GT going back to the Ford dealer on a stretcher with the drag slicks still in place, rubber hanging from the quarters, and our ham-fisted attempts at modification right out there in the open for everyone to see. The zone rep didn’t even blink, he just covered the tab. Regardless of Ford’s “official” stance on racing, the rep knew damn well what sold new Mustangs. Even farther back, in the 60′s, racing voided virtually every manufacturer’s warranty, but it was the zone guys who made the final decisions, and they were often encouraged to look the other way. Pontiac in particular was well known for their “No racing ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’” policy.

      Until and unless a denial-of-claim pattern emerges, there’s probably not much to see here.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Reminds me of a story from the Civil War.

        A Confederate unit was on a long, weary march after a defeat when they came to a farm. The colonel said that he didn’t want to see any of his men loot the farm for food.

        Then he turned his back.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Ultimately, the warranty isn’t the issue, the issue is how Ford responds to claims.”

        This right here. It will typically only matter if there’s a failure to a specific related component and racing was suspected as the cause. Racing will not void the warranty on your power windows or radio.

        Contrary to popular belief, automakers don’t have task forces of undercover warranty analysts camping SCCA events or your local drag strip. There’s usually an event or some obvious thing that triggers a warranty restriction. If there’s any question, usually the repairs get covered.

        Dealers don’t typically go out of their way to try and restrict customers warranties, unless they’ve been burned by a chargeback or warned for warrantying modified vehicles or covering abuse related repairs. Some greedy dealers may try and force the issue to try and get a retail repair instead of one at warranty rates, but most know it’s easier to get the OEM to actually pay the bill.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    My 2011 VW GTI DSG has launch control built into the automatic. According to the owners manual i put the transmission in “S” mode hold the brake pedal down and wind the engine up to to 3500 RPM and release the pedal.The transmission will hold each gear to the max up to sixth gear. Now i ask in NYC where can i drive like that and if i did and the transmission went south would the transmission be covered?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The current Mustang with the track app has this as well and its adjustable (essentially a rev limiter that you dial in) to account for differing track conditions and tire types.

      Launch control and line locks, and people dismiss Mustang drag racers as an extreme minority!

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Oh man, I’d forgotten about the GTR’s little $20,000 transaxle snafu. It still blows my mind that Nissan released that car to the general public with a gearbox that the driver could frag just by flipping the right combination of switches.

    Yeah, yeah, I know – big power, big traction.

    Certainly never have that problem with Corvettes. The powertrains in those things regard attempted abuse with the same contemptuous disdain as the French Taunter.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I’d like to see more “disable” features on all vehicles let alone performance units.
    The F150 Raptor can engage its E-locker and it stays engaged at any speed in 4×2 and 4×4. Same for the “OffRoad” mode which changes braking, engine, and shifting dynamics.
    I’d like the option of keeping the locker engaged even if it risks voiding warranty on a regular truck. Government Safety Nannies mean the E-locker disengages and re-engages traction and stability control at 35 mph. Really stupid setup for anyone who actually drives in poor conditions.
    I wonder if performance cars are plagued with the same stupid nannies?

    Sounds like they are……

  • avatar
    Rasputin

    Many drugs have side effects, usually too many to completely list in a television advertisement. Most drug ad disclaimers will list the five or so most serious. From its very first advertisement Viagra warned of the possibility of having “an erection lasting for four hours.” This is a low probability and does not have particularly serious consequences.

    The marketing executive who insisted on including that warning is a legend in the trade.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I asked about Viagra once and the doc told me that because I was on BP meds it would be unwise. It might cause a precipitous drop in my BP.

      So, I asked, why not take me off the BP meds and give me a maintenance dose of Viagra? He declined to answer beyond repeating it was unwise.

      Thought I had something there for a moment.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Viagra works as a vasodilator(simplistically). You open up the blood vessels and it increases blood flow. Viagra for limp dicks and nitroglycerine for limp hearts killed a lot of guys until they figured out the 2 don’t mix well.

        Atherosclerosis is a disease that hits every artery in your body.
        Chest pain relieved by nitro is angina caused by Atherosclerosis.
        Transient Ischemic Attacks of the brain is Atherosclerosis of your brain arteries.
        Intermittent claudication is Atherosclerosis of your leg arteries.
        A limp dick is Atherosclerosis in your pecker (main cause of erectile dysfunction).

        Simplest way to explain and understand.

        How did this come up in the first place ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “How did this come up in the first place ;)”

          Post-CABG limp dick =:-o

          But exercise and paying-back 30 years of sleep debt with a CPAP made me all better :-D

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Hard arteries are the last thing anyone wants…………….. think of it as a line lock but unlike the one on the Mustang, it takes all the fun away ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “How did this come up in the first place”

          Old guys trying to rev their engines any way they can without voiding the warranty/dying

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    So rather than spend time and money developing that inherently makes the car a better car….Ford develops this gimmick which does nothing to enhance the car’s ability.

    Typical Ford. This is why a CEO change was needed.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Because foregoing the clever implementation of already existing hardware with a few lines of code prevented what pray tell?

      GM engineers responsible for the ZL1 had messed around with a “line lock” feature among other tricks using the ABS and TCS systems on the car during development only to have the idea nixed by the legal department.

      I’m sure if this feature proves popular GM will likely dust off the concept and implement it in their own way provided Ford hasn’t locked the concept down in some manner.

    • 0 avatar
      catachanninja

      Yeah they need to find a way to get bailed out or bought by the iItalians before it’s too late, stupid ford being financially successful and not bankrupting, maybe it’s not too late?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Z71_Silvy – with a moniker like yours, you shouldn’t be too critical of Ford……………. one should RECALL all of the current troubles GM is having…….

      One could say that using the word “recall” in that way is a sign of a BANKRUPT entity…….

      Another Freudian GM slip.

      Someone should BAIL ME OUT before this gets any worse……….

      Oops…….. my bad.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s better to have the line-loc feature and never use it, under warranty, than never have it at all. Someday the warranty will expire and it’s all your’s to do as you please.

    Like Elvis counting the days till Priscilla turned 18. Or was it 16???

    But I’d like to see a Boss 302-like “TracKey” on GTs that unlocks extremely aggressive profiles, 104 octane timing, lumpy idle, 8200 rpm redline, hard upshifing “shift kit” for autos, turns off all traction-nannies if wanted, line-loc, launch control, etc, etc.

    Using this key would immediately void the warranty, but that’s up to the consumer (to hide the key in a safe place until then).

    This would definitely sell more Mustangs and create a buzz for the entire brand.

    But using such a key, in such a car, wouldn’t guarantee destruction of the drivetrain. I mean using it within reason, under warranty.

    I’ve yet to have a warranty issue in decades. I do my own oil changes on warranty’d cars and trucks, way beyond the recommended intervals. And I don’t save the receipts when I do. Still I’ve yet to blow an engine under the warranty period. Or blow and engine, trans, rearend ever.

    By the by, the 3 pedal, heel-n-toe “line-loc” is what we used as kids.

    • 0 avatar
      catachanninja

      This was my exact thoughts, I wouldn’t want to take a car I just bought to the track anyway, I like to get to know a girl first.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Lumpy idle? Hahaha….that would be completely useless on a modern engine that uses any kind of variable valve timing. Lumpy idle should only be on classic muscle cars.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        On classic muscle for sure. But there’s just something damn sexy about a lumpy idle on a modern sports car.

        Here’s a GTR:

        youtube.com/watch?v=LPBsgx0wiEo

        And ’11 Mustang GT:

        youtube.com/watch?v=ySD5suMXeQY

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I really like the idea of the Track Key, having a dedicated race programming that agressivizes everything, but then the regular key tames it all back to normal. It’s be best of both worlds.

  • avatar
    dwford

    If they really don’t want line lock used, Ford could either require a service department “unlock” with accompanying waiver signed, or only have it unlock after the warranty expires (imagine people running their Mustangs ragged to get to that odometer reading, lol).

    Personally I don’t feel that any manufacturer should develop, promote and include a feature that explicitly voids the warranty. That’s like a computer manufacturer including a switch that doubles the processor speed but voids the warranty. Ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Ridiculous to you, but enthusiasts have been modifying cars, way beyond OEM specs and recommendations, since there’s been cars. It created something we like to call the “aftermarket”.

      What’s new is OEMs actually modifying them for you, and tapping into that market. But with special clauses that absolve them of warranty’d repairs. That’s if you chose to use the feature. Seem like a perfectly good compromise.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @DenverMike – I have to agree. Companies know that there will always be guys that will race their products. They might as well cash in on the aftermarket.

        We already see car companies do this. There are many examples in the pickup world. Running boards, box liners, tonneau covers, mud flaps, tow hitches, trailer brake controllers, driving lights, mag wheels etc. were at one time the exclusive domain of the aftermarket.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Many manufacturers even have lines of “warranty approved” performance products that won’t affect the vehicle’s original warranty if installed at a dealer. They’re really trying to get a piece of that aftermarket pie and having warranty approved parts is a big advantage that the aftermarket guys without OEM relationships can’t match.

  • avatar

    Oh, this isn’t new. The owners’ manual on my 1990 ZR-1 insisted over and over that the power key (the one that turned on all the fuel injectors and took the engine from 210 hp to 375, and which was really intended as a way to keep the valets from joyriding) was for “OFF ROAD TRACK USE ONLY”. This might have fooled the EPA, sort of, but it sure didn’t fool anyone else.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    I don’t know the man, but I believe I’ve worked with a few of his relatives. Must be a family trait ;)


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