Car & Truck Tuners

Car engine tuning is the adjustment or modification of your engine through your car's computer, known as the engine control module or engine control unit. There are a number of reasons that you might want to "tune your engine" and most of them have to do with enhancing performance or better tailoring your vehicle to your driving habits and needs.

Why Buy Performance Tuners?

Basically, when your car rolled off the assembly line, it was engineered for the average, maybe even boring, driver. The engine was tuned perfectly to be as economical, reliable, and fuel efficient as possible for your everyday person.

That being said, there are some people -- namely car enthusiasts who want to squeeze more performance or power out of their engine. They know cars and trucks have a lot more power "behind the pedal" and chip tuning can help unlock some of this untapped power. Due to a variety of factors that can range from environmental to safety to regulatory concerns, manufacturers don't usually program new vehicles to operate at their full capacity.

Tuning or remapping your engine essentially allows you to tweak your car's maximum and minimum parameters through the its computer programming. Whether you're looking for better fuel efficiency, more speed, or quicker acceleration -- custom tuning your car's engine computer can produce the results you are looking for.

How Does Chip Tuning Work?

There are two ways you can make alterations to your car's engine computer, tuning (also known as remapping) and reprogramming. Tuning actually doesn't change the entire programming of the computer, it just allows you to adjust the the parameters or limits that the programming allows the engine to operate in. This allows you to tweak things like maximum peed, power, and fuel economy to get your vehicle driving just how you like it.

Because the ECU controls most of the components in your engine by altering the limits set in the unit's programming, you are able to alter what the ECU/ECM allows different engine components to do. For example, because your vehicle's computer software controls fuel injection, the positioning of the rotating assembly, the transmission, idling, and the throttle, you're able to "tune" it and change:

- Maximum speed
- Gear shift mapping
- Maximum cruise control speed
- Adjust idle shut down timer
- Fuel injection volume

How to Tune Your Engine

Manufacturers typically build one engine and use several different software versions, known as maps, to achieve the different power and performance levels. Using the proper equipment, you are able to plug into the engine computer's on-board diagnostic (OBD) port. This allows you to access the software, edit the files, and make changes to your car's performance parameters.

The safest way to tune an engine on your own so that there no chance of damage to your vehicle or of a decrease in performance is by using a third party "re-map." This called "re-flashing" and basically just changes your existing parameters to a new set of parameters without any customization

The second way you can tune your engine is called custom tuning. This is a bit more complicated and will usually require someone who is trained to do it. Custom tuning involves connecting your car's engine computer to a laptop, but instead of uploading a one-size-fits-all remap, the parameters for your individual vehicle can be altered. This is usually combined with runs on a dynamometer, so your vehicle's performance and fueling is checked and tweaked all the way through the rev range.

Should I Purchase a Chip Tuner for My Vehicle?

At the end of the day, whether you want to tune your engine depends on what you are looking to get out of your car. If you are serious about taking your vehicle to its full potential, then you need the performance gains that are made possible by tuning.