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ECU tuning in questions and answers

ECU tuning, also called chip tuning or remapping, is becoming increasingly popular. This method of electronic tuning is a simpler and safer alternative to mechanical tuning. Many drivers choose to remap and optimize the engine and its components. In this article, we present answers to the most frequently asked questions about ECU tuning.

What is ECU?

The ECU (Engine Control Unit) is an electronic device which manages the work of the engine and its components (including ABS, ESP, TCS and air conditioning). Sensors installed in the car transmit data to the controller, which is usually in the form of a microprocessor. In its memory, manufacturers place so-called maps which specify the properties and operating parameters of the engine, such as the engine speed, fuel dose, injection angle, turbocharging pressure, and the fuel injection pressure.

How does ECU tuning work?

ECU tuning, also called chip tuning, involves remapping the parameters saved by manufacturers on universal maps to increase engine torque and increase power. This is possible because the full potential of the engine is not achieved at the default settings. This is due to the fact that subsequent car models often differ only in software, not the engine model.

This is a type of electronic tuning that is certainly safer and cheaper than mechanical tuning.

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What does remapping do?

The ECU remapping procedure allows to obtain a number of beneficial effects:

  • increase the engine’s torque;
  • increases the engine’s power;
  • increase the dynamics and comfort of driving of the car.
  • reduce fuel consumption – resulting in greater economic efficiency;
  • increase maximum speed;
  • increase acceleration.

Can you remap any car?

Engine tuning is a fast and effective method of electronic car tuning which can be carried out on most vehicles. Of course, chip tuning cannot be performed on engines which do not have a computer, for obvious reasons. Vehicles equipped with diesel engines and turbocharged cars are best suited for this treatment.

How long does a remap take?

Unlike mechanical car tuning, ECU remapping is a procedure carried out quickly and efficiently. The duration of such a procedure depends, of course, on the type of service, the controllers, and the car model. At best, the whole process will take only a few hours, after which the car will be ready to go. Most often, specialists reserve an entire working day for car remapping.

There may be unexpected obstacles during the remapping process and you should be prepared that in such a situation, the process may take several days. However, this happens extremely rarely.

How do you remap a car?

Engine remapping is usually done through the OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) socket using professional interfaces, such as K-TAG and KESSv2.

The best way to remap your car is to rely on specialists. Individual controllers must be used for each car and engine model. Knowledge and experience are also needed to prevent over-exploitation of the car, which can result in malfunction.

Is remapping illegal?

Performing chip tuning is completely legal in the UK. However, by law, any modification of the car carried out on your own should be reported to the insurer. Moreover, depending on the insurer, specific modifications may result in increased insurance costs.


Does ECU remapping void the car warranty?

Unfortunately, the detection of changes resulting from the performance of ECU tuning voids the warranty. Changes made using the OBD socket are difficult to identify, but discovering them will terminate the warranty.

Does ECU remapping improve fuel economy?

One of the benefits of ECU tuning is the reduction in fuel consumption. This is due to a lower level of engine combustion occurring thanks to the overall power increase at low and medium loads. It is also caused because of the correction of ignition, and the angle and amount of pre-injection.

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How much should remapping cost?

The price of ECU tuning may vary depending on individual workshops. It is important to focus on trusted and experienced specialists who will efficiently perform the entire procedure.

The price of basic ECU tuning in good showrooms is usually around 90 euros. However, at TC Performance, it is possible to buy special tokens, thanks to which the price for chip tuning will be only 70 euros. This offer is especially good for car workshops, which can save up to 1000 euros on the purchase of remapping controllers.

Can I remap my ECU myself?

It is possible to remap the car yourself, but it is not recommended. Modifying ECU controllers is a great interference in the engine’s operating parameters and if it is carried out without specialist knowledge and experience, it may result in malfunction and dangerous consequences.

In addition, when the chip tuning procedure is performed in a professional tuning salon, additional tools will be used, such as a dynanometer, to which most drivers do not have access. Such devices allow to professionally determine the results of ECU tuning.

How much bhp will I gain from a remap?

One of the main reasons why drivers choose chip tuning is the increase in engine and horsepower. After chip tuning your car, you can expect an approximate 20-30% increase in bhp (break-horsepower). This applies to both diesel engines and turbocharged cars.

What precautions should you take?

If you want to chip tune your car, it is very important to use the services of experienced and professional tuners. ECU tuning should be carried out with the individual selection of appropriate controllers. In addition, knowledge of how to operate the engine is essential. Raising the car’s power to its maximum may result in a serious breakdown, which can sometimes be irreparable. This is due to the fact that in theory it is possible to increase the parameters of each engine, but in practice some models do not withstand such high loads.

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