Change searched term

So I’m trying to set up a search form in which which the term actually searched for would be different than what the user entered in. Specifically, I needed any dashes in the searched terms removed. For example, let’s say the user enters “7-18”. What the search actually needs to query is “718”. I’m thinking

pre_get_posts

might be the way to go but I’m not sure how to go about writing it. Something like

function alter_query($query) {
$unedit = the_search_query();
$edited = str_replace(“-“,””,$unedit);
the_search_query() = $edited;
}
add_action(‘pre_get_posts’,’alter_query’);

Takes the entered value, removes the dashes, and uses it at the new search query in the search form. It doesn’t work though, and I don’t know if it’s because you can’t set the_search_query() with php, because it forms a loop, or if there is some other reason. Thoughts?

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