Remapping used to be the sole domain of performance junkies who wanted to squeeze every last bit of power out of their cars. It required a lot of technical know-how and, in the early cases, some trial and error. Get it right and you would have a rocket; the wrong settings would have gotten you a junker.
Today, remapping/chip tuning/chipping — whatever term is used to describe it — has become accessible to anyone who owns a car with an ECU. It is done by simply connecting to your OBD port and the software is installed through a laptop PC.
Chip tuning experts can attest to the performance and fuel efficiency gains of remapping on both petrol and diesel engines. In fact, the techniques and technology have evolved to make ever greater customization possible. For as long as the tuning is done by a professional, the process is relatively painless and safe. The cost will vary depending on what you need done for your car.
The ECU controls many of your car’s functions. It determines the amount of fuel that is injected as well as many other aspects of your car’s overall performance. Straight out of the factory the settings on your ECU are set at levels way-below potential and/or peak performance.
Manufacturer’s deliberately set the ECU this way since they cannot be sure of the running environment in which the car will be used. Remember that most manufacturers produce the car in one country and then sells it around the world. Factors such as fuel quality, legislation and regulations, even weather and climate will have an effect on the car’s reliability.
Manufacturers would rather release a car at less than optimal tuning to ensure reliability over a broad range of driving conditions and ownership. Not all people love their cars like you do. Fuel quality differs across many countries and regions. To ensure that the car performs reliably in any of these differing conditions stock, out-of-the factory performance is one size fits all.
There are a few things you need to watch out for before you actually have it done. These four are the basics.
Regular Maintenance. When your car’s tuning is optimized, you have to be conscientious about maintenance. Regular and consistent car servicing will ensure that your car runs well for a long, long time. Talk to your professional chip tuner to find out the potential costs and benefits with the remap configuration you have in mind.
Professional Remap. Look for a reliable, professional service shop who can do the chip tuning. It would be great if they also have the right equipment to immediately test the results of the remap. This way you can even fine tune the settings before you leave their shop.
Manufacturer warranty. In most cases, it will void your manufacturer warranty. However, there have been reports where manufacturers have either turned a blind eye to the remap or even encouraged the chip tuning. But these are still rare cases. Be aware of the implications on your car’s warranty.
Your insurance provider. Let your insurance provider know about it. In most cases, it will mean additional insurance costs for you. Aside from needing to update your vehicle information to reflect the remap, some insurers increase the cost of your premiums.Read more