How to Make Your Car Race-Ready with Car Performance Chips

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How to Make Your Car Race-Ready with Car Performance Chips

If buyers are interested in increasing the power and efficiency of their car for the purpose of racing, they should consider installing car performance chips. These chips are accessories that affect numerous electronic and mechanical functions of a car's internal system. They are used to replace the initial manufacturer-installed chip that manages fuel consumption and other areas of the car's maintenance. In essence, a driver can choose to install a new performance chip in their car that allows them to achieve greater performance for races.

Before selecting a new performance chip, buyers need to understand how performance chips work, know what they modify, and become familiar with the various types available. Different types of car performance chips modify different aspects of a car's performance; therefore, buyers need to determine which functions of their car needs moderation and how each chip can impact their vehicle. After which, they can decide if the prospective outcome is what they need to make their car ready for racing.

How a Performance Chip Works

Cars are now being built with their own on-board computers or on-board diagnostic systems (OBDs), which are responsible for almost all functions including performance controls, such as ignition and timing, air and fuel ratio, and speed and rev limiters.

The vehicle is initially factory programmed to accommodate normal driving conditions and everyday drivers. These controls are geared more toward convenience and less about performance; therefore, the performance chip intercepts the signals between the computer and the car's sensors, and then makes its own adjustments, which are more performance oriented. If drivers want their cars to be maximised to a high racing potential, a performance chip is the way to accomplish that goal.

What Can Be Modified Using Performance Chips

The car performance chips alter the communication process between a car's on-board computer and its vital engine systems. Therefore, the performance chips are made to change ignition timing, adjust the air to fuel ratio, and other limitations that were initially set by the car's manufacturer. These adjustments allow the vehicle to be able to reach its maximum performance potential.

Ignition and Timing

Before buyers can understand how a car performance chip affects a car's engine, they must understand how the combustion works. Aside from the air and fuel combination, the combustion in a car also depends highly on timing. The combustion is a minute explosion that occurs when the spark plugs produces a spark, which is added to the compressed mixture of fuel and air at the beginning of a piston cycle.

The car performance chips affect ignition timing by adjusting it to its highest level to increase performance. Drivers should never try to make the adjustments manually because that could result in a detonation problem where the cylinder misfires and leads to uncontrolled combustion.

Air and Fuel Ratio

The combustion in the engine is responsible for the power that propels the vehicle. Aside from the needed spark from the spark plugs, the two most important components of the combustion are the fuel and oxygen. The OBD in the car is responsible for creating the right mixture, but the manufacturers do not tune the initial chips for maximum performance. Buyers who plan to race with their car should get a performance chip to adjust the air and fuel to a more potent mixture, which increases power.

Speed Limiter

While horsepower plays a vital role in the top speed of a car, the car still cannot excel past a certain point based on its tyres. The fact is that manufacturers program the car's OBD to ensure that the vehicle does not exceed the speed that standard tyres are able to manage. This is done for safety purposes; therefore, buyers need to upgrade their tyres to a higher speed rating before reprogramming the OBD with a performance chip. Once the tyre upgrade has been made, buyers can use the chip to adjust the car's speed limiter to match.

Tyre Speed Ratings

Due to the fact that not all tyres are conducive to racing, they have been given individual speed ratings to help buyers in selecting the best one for their car's performance level. The chart below provides an approximate indication of the maximum speed that is safely achievable by each tyre type.


Maximum Speed (km/h)

























When upgrading tyres for racing purposes, buyers should take the time out to view the coding embossed on the sidewall of the tyres. The code includes both numbers and letters, where the letter at the end indicates the tyres speed rating. The numbers preceding the letter indicates the tyres load weight code. For instance, '108R', indicates that the tyre has a speed rating of 170 km/h and a load weight of 1000 kg, which corresponds to the load code of 108.

Rev Limiter

Revs per minute (RPMs) have a lot to do with the acceleration of a vehicle. For instance, most NASA race cars rev meters do not max at the usual 7000 RPMs as per regular stock cars but rather maximise at a whopping 19,000 RPMs or thereabouts.

A performance chip can improve the race capability of a regular car by pushing the rev limiter limits, thus extending the rev range so that the car's transmission does not need to disengage from the motor as frequently in order to switch gears.

Types of Performance Chips

Car performance chips are generally broken down into three main types. Each type is usually equipped with its own characteristics and capabilities, but they are all still geared towards one common purpose, which is to improve a car's performance beyond mere factory level. Three main types of performance chips are control modules, power programmers, and engine management systems.

Control Modules

A control module is a type of performance chip plugged directly into the car's electrical system situated under the hood. It serves as the mediator between the various car sensors and the car's OBD. The chip intercepts the data being transmitted from the sensors, analyses it, determines the best fuel and air ratio, ignition timing, and other related adjustments, and then sends a new set of commands to the OBD.

Each control module provides custom adjustments per car because it stays plugged in and constantly reads and interprets the sensors' data before telling the OBD what to do. In essence, each chip customises itself to the car's make, model, year, transmission type, engine size, and even the tyre size.

Plug and Play Power Programmers

These plug and play devices are similar to control modules in the sense that they reconfigure the car's OBD to perform at optimal levels. However, these power performance chips are not permanently installed into the car's electrical system but rather plugged into the OBD port before a race to make the adjustments.

When the device is plugged in initially, the driver needs to input certain required details in regards to the cars modifications, if any, and the desired power output. Once the driver finishes with the Q and A segment, the device uploads a new set of commands to the OBD. The program does not need to be uploaded before each race; however, if changes are to be done to ascertain a new performance level, then the device would need to be plugged in again and new information entered.

Plug and play power programmers provides the driver with more control over his cars performance. Some models allow the user to recalibrate the OBD to tyre size changes, speed rating, or even the gear ratio for the rear end. Big brands like Superchips even allow the user to tune the engine to accommodate regular octane usage as opposed to the typical 91 plus fuel grade.

Engine Management Systems

Engine management systems (EMS) are complete performance chips that not only reprogram the car's OBD but replace it entirely. This type of performance chip gives the user total control over every aspect of the vehicle's control system, from air and fuel mixture and injector control to speed and nitrous rheostat.

The EMS is mounted in the engine compartment, where the wires from the factory installed OBD is unplugged and replugged in the EMS. The EMS then synchronizes itself with the sensors on the car so that it receives the incoming data from all the necessary sections. It then uses the acquired data to determine how to operate the engine at its highest performance level. Most EMS devices even allow the user to view performance details and manipulate various settings by attaching their laptops to it.


Any driver who wants their car to reach its maximum race potential should consider purchasing and installing a car performance chip, but before making such a purchase, they first need to understand the purpose of the chips and how they work. After understanding the process behind a performance chip, buyers need to familiarise themselves with the functions of the car that the chips modify and then decide how much modification they are willing to subject their car to. With that said, buyers should also learn about the various types of chips and their functions to decide which chip is best suited for their car.

Due to the different types of chips available on the market, buyers need to shop at a store that houses a wide selection. eBay houses a various chip types for numerous car makes and models, and buyers can easily locate their preferred united by utilizing eBay's in depth search engine and helpful filter options.

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