Most cars, produced after 1980-s, have an on-board electronic control unit (ECU), which controls all of the key systems. Engine mode maps are stored in ECU memory, so special chip-tuning tools have to be used to achieve maximum power.
It is important to find only the best licensed ECU tuning tools for sale, as counterfeit solutions can cause inefficient engine modes and even damage engine or vehicle electronic parts.
Re-writing ECU memory allows adjustment of different key performance parameters, including:
- Air intake values.
- Emissions sensor settings.
- Exhaust timeshaft position.
- Fuel injection timing.
- Speed limits.
- Spark advance.
- Startup timing.
- Torque model.
- Transmission settings.
- Turbo boost (for cars with turbo).
- Warm up parameters.
Best results are achieved when chip-tuning is combined with physical air intake and exhaust adjustments. In addition, it is preferable to use only high-octane gasoline on tuned cars.
Car Engine Tuning Devices
The following types of solutions for chip-tuning are currently widely used:
- Scanners – these tools are developed for diagnostics purposes, but some advanced models can edit some variables in ECU memory.
- Editors – software package that can display contents of decoded ECU flash files. Most editors are used for calibration of settings before ECU reprogramming.
- Adapters – these devices allow connecting a PC to ECU through the car inner network. Adapters are in most cases connected to the OBD port of the car. As signal protocols of USB and OBD are very different, all adapters have a built-in microcontroller that makes necessary signal alterations. Most adapters are cheap and universal, but they are not a stand-alone solution, as they require the use of third party software (flashers or editors) in order to actually make any adjustments to ECU memory contents.
- Flashers – in most cases, these are stand-alone solutions, which consist of software and hardware, but some flashers are just a program package and require the use of an adapter. Flashers can read files from the ECU, decode them, encode edited files, so they can pass checksum test, and write them back to the memory of ECU.
- Tuning boxes – these devices do not alter contents of ECU memory. Instead, they are connected to the OBD port and make dynamic adjustments to the data, sent to ECU by sensors, essentially realizing “man in the middle” attack. Such approach gives only limited tuning ability, but these tools can be quickly connected and disconnected to turn tuning “on” and “off”. In addition, the use of tuning boxes leaves no trace that any tuning was performed after the box is removed.