Though many people wish for faster and more economical cars, cost concerns put them off buying new vehicles. A good way of getting some extra performance at a fraction of the cost of a new car is by chiptuning the vehicle you already have. Chiptuning is relatively easy to do, but before you decide to do it on your own, consider the following tips.
What Is Chiptuning?
Chiptuning is a way of improving performance or efficiency without physically changing the car or the engine. High-performance exhaust systems and turbos are no longer the only way to upgrade engine performance. Modern cars use engine control units (ECUs) to manage various engine components, with pre-programed engine management systems keeping an eye on performance, fuel economy, extended service intervals, or some combination of all three. Plugging a laptop or a hand-held computer into the car's diagnostic port allows you to remap or tune the ECU settings to improve performance and fuel economy, or even change them back to the original factory settings.
Benefits of Chiptuning
How much extra performance you can squeeze out of your car largely depends on the type and the age of your engine. The vast majority of cars on the road have an ECU, which is a computer controlling the engine's ability to perform at its best. By chiptuning the parameters on this control unit, you can dramatically improve your car's power, torque, fuel economy, throttle response, and in many case, all of them at once. Chiptuning often takes mere minutes, rarely involving more than the installation of a replacement microchip or a direct alteration of the ECU software, using a computer plugged into the vehicle's diagnostic port. Chiptuning essentially brings your under-performing engine up to the levels the factory uses for higher-performance versions of that same engine. Keep in mind that separate chips designed specifically to boost fuel economy or increase power output are readily available on the market.
Considerations When Chiptuning
Chiptuning is more commonplace than you may think, with a growing popularity amongst people who do not consider themselves petrolheads. Modern technology can boost your car's performance in a matter of minutes, but remember that if you already have the most powerful version of the engine currently available, chiptuning is not likely to improve either performance or fuel efficiency greatly. Remember also to use a chip or program specifically for your vehicle, so be sure to select one based on your model year and engine, as remapping or chiptuning is specific to these variables.