How to Buy Car Performance Chips

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How to Buy Car Performance Chips

Modern vehicle engines do not live up to most people's expectations. In fact, the engine that is under a person's hood has far more potential than it is using. Newer vehicles come with built-in computers, which help to run the show when it comes to functions, such as auto transmission shifting and even the air-to-fuel ratio. There is good news for those wanting a little bit of extra power from under the hood. The computer built into a vehicle can be reprogrammed to help unlock its true potential. The key to accomplishing this is through a car performance chip.

Car performance chips can be purchased in a wide variety of places, such as an auto parts shop and even online at eBay. Since there are a few different car performance chips from which to choose, it is best to first gather all of the necessary information needed to understand the pros and cons of each type. When all of the pros and cons of the installation of a performance chip are weighed, a better, more informed decision can be made. Before purchasing car performance chips, consumers should know how a car performance chip works, the types of car performance chips, and what is changed by the addition of a car performance chip.

How a Car Performance Chip Works

When a vehicle is fresh off of the assembly line, the chip inside is commonly referred to as a lookup table. The lookup table contains valuable information that tells the engine exactly how it is to respond. When a driver is driving down the highway, and they have to press the accelerator all the way down, the chip tells the onboard computer just how much petrol it should send into the engine.

In addition, the chip communicates when the vehicle is shifted into a lower gear, and decides how the timing should be adjusted. A vehicle with a factory chip already has its parameters set by the manufacturer. However, when a car performance chip is installed, the parameters can now be set to the user's own specifications.

The Installation of a Car Performance Chip

Car performance chips, believe it or not, are fairly easy to install. One must remove the cover under the vehicle dashboard to gain access to the factory chip. From here, the factory chip is pulled out and replaced with the performance chip. It is important to remember that installing a car performance chip in a vehicle may void its warranty.

Pros and Cons to a Car Performance Chip

When making the decision to alter a vehicle's performance, it is important to weigh all of the options, including the various pros and cons that installing a car performance chip may offer to a vehicle.

Cons to Installation of a Car Performance Chip

When a car performance chip is installed, a vehicle may experience a reduction in fuel economy as well as increased emissions. With an increase in vehicle performance, additional wear and tear on the vehicle's engine is to be expected. This means that it requires more frequent tune-ups and visits to a mechanic. Once a car performance chip is installed, it is important to keep a close eye on the vehicle and maintain regular maintenance. Do not be surprised if additional cash is spent for replacing parts more frequently than is typical.

Pros to Installation of a Car Performance Chip

A car performance chip does exactly what its name says, it increases the performance of a vehicle and surpasses factory expectations and potential. The installation of a car performance chip provides the vehicle with more torque and power, as well as a much smoother ride all around. In addition, a vehicle experiences a gain in horsepower when the performance chip is installed. One of the biggest benefits of all is the increase in fuel efficiency from the vehicle.

Types of Car Performance Chips

There are three main types of car performance chips available on the market today. While each type of chip features different benefits, the three all share one commonality: they were created to bolster the full potential of the vehicle's engine.

Engine Management System Performance Chips

If it is total control of a vehicle's onboard computer system for which a driver is looking, then an Engine Management System performance chip is the way to go. An EMS is considered to be a substitute for the factory onboard computer system, which helps to give the user complete control over every aspect of the vehicle's system. These types of car performance chips help to fine-tune the lookup table to the specifications that are set by the user.

Control Module Car Performance Chips

A control module car performance chip helps to intercept the data from the vehicle before it reaches the onboard computer, and helps to analyse all of the incoming information to make the proper adjustment to key functions, such as the air-to-fuel ratio and ignition timing. Each performance module is customised to maximise the efficiency of a vehicle's specific make, model, and year. A control module car performance chip helps to deliver accurate engine turning, because it is consistently reading data and analysing it for the best possible output.

Power Programmers Car Performance Chips

Power programmer chips are similar to those of the control modules in that they help to reconfigure the onboard computer system. The difference lies in the fact that they are a plug-and-play device, rather than being a permanent installation in a vehicle. Think of it like this: when a driver is ready to venture out, they simply plug the power programmer into the port located underneath their dashboard. One downside to this type of performance chip is that the user must answer a series of questions about the vehicle specifications before any changes are made.

Changes Made by a Car Performance Chip

While each type of car performance chip has different features, one element remains constant throughout all of them: the type of changes made to a vehicle's computer system. The following chart shows the different programmes to which changes are made by installing a car performance chip.

System Program


Air-to-fuel ratio

Determines the amount of air-to-fuel that is present in the combustion engine


Allows for recalibration of features within a vehicle, such as speedometer and odometer readings

RPM or rev limiter

Allows for a limited amount of revs that a vehicle can perform

Ignition timing

Helps to determine the piston position and crankshaft velocity in a combustion chamber

Speed limiter

Allows for a limited speed that the vehicle can hit

As evident in the chart, there are many different programmes responsible for how a vehicle performs and runs. These programmes, while limited to their factory settings when a vehicle is purchased, can be customised by installing a car performance chip.

How to Find Car Performance Chips on eBay

eBay offers a wide variety of car performance chips to suit the needs of virtually any driver. To begin your search for car performance chips, begin at the eBay home page. If you are familiar with the exact brand for which you are looking, simply type those keywords into the search field. For example, type "BMW erformance chip" into the search field, and hit the search key. eBay provides you with a number of different BMW performance chips for your review. If, however, you are unfamiliar with the different types of performance chips available, a simple "performance chip" search warrants a large number of results.

It is always a good rule of thumb to write down the make and model of your vehicle before starting the search for a performance chip. With so many different chips from which to choose, it can be quite confusing. The good news is that with the many different types of chips and categories that eBay provides, your search is simplified. eBay provides a great way to view many different chips, while reviewing all of the different factors that are most beneficial to your vehicle.


Purchasing a car performance chip is a decision that should not be made lightly. It is most beneficial to weigh all of the pros and cons ahead of time, as well as reviewing the current specifications on a vehicle. By taking a look into how a vehicle is currently performing, it can help to determine the benefits that can be acquired from installing a car performance chip. When determining which performance chip is best, it is important to review the make and model of the vehicle in which the chip is installed. Keep in mind that with the installation of a performance chip, more frequent vehicle maintenance is required. By increasing a vehicle's performance, the chip also creates additional wear and tear on all vehicle parts.

Different models respond differently to various changes or customisations made to the onboard computer system. Finding out which features are best suited for the model you have can help determine which type of car performance chip is more suitable. No matter the reason for purchasing a car performance chip, one thing is certain: a large selection can be found to suit every need on eBay.

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