What is remapping?
Engine remapping has become increasingly popular over the past decade or so, as drivers become more familiar with the little boxes, that control their cars vital functions, and more aware of the opportunities to ‘tweak’ the settings.
The process used to be called chipping, as it literally meant swapping a microchip in your car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with a modified version. Nowadays the black art has advanced to the point where home-brewed engine remapping software is available to download from various internet groups for brave and/or tech-savvy home-tuners who like to experiment. We’d never recommend that route, as unsurprisingly there’s a significant risk of causing expensive engine damage if a remap is not done properly.
So for most people an engine remap involves a trip to a local specialist Like Tuning Emporium, where we can overwrite your factory engine settings via a laptop, directly into your car’s OBD port, or we can tune your ecu on the bench.
There are two primary reasons for wanting a remap, and they’re called power and torque. When your car left the factory there’s a very good chance its performance was deliberately muted in order to meet product planning objectives or economy and efficiency targets.
These days the power and performance of most cars is limited, not by any particular mechanical factor, but by the software running in the engine control unit (ECU).
Computer algorithms running behind the scenes while you’re driving a modern car affect all sorts of parameters, such as ignition timing, air/fuel ratio and turbocharging boost pressure.
So if you want greater performance and pulling power from your car, or alternatively if you’re seeking mpg improvements, the first place to look is the little black box under the bonnet. Here at Tuning Emporium, we receive plenty of emails asking advice about ECU software changes, and we’ve compiled this guide to explore the pros, cons and costs.
Chipping turbodiesel engines can increase economy by seven to 10 per cent, because it adds torque lower down the rev range. This means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard as before. It’s these turbo diesel engines often known as TDI, HDi, CDTi, CDI,depending on the manufacturer that are cornerstone of the car chipping industry because an engine chip or software upgrade can cheaply add so much to the performance.
Our Prices start at £199 for OBD tuning, and ECU bench tuning costs start at £275.
Are ther any downsides to getting your ECU “chipped”?
Some people are concerned that engine remapping could cause problems with their car. But it shouldn’t affect reliability if you use a reputable company such as Tuning Emporium.
Remapping does put extra strain on an engine, but not a dangerous amount. We check carefully that the temperatures and pressures our remaps put the engine through don’t exceed the acceptable parameters.
For example, we run a 2008 Seat Leon 2.0 TDi 136bhp engine.
To date we have done 10,000 miles trouble free, with it running at 200bhp and 280lb ft, mpg is up by 10% too.
Most cars’ engines are built to offer more performance than they actually deliver, manufacturers launch a car with a set power figure, but then over the life of the model they’ll introduce a few facelifts and performance versions.
“They don’t develop new engines for each new version: mostly they limit the performance of the earlier models and then offer a little more power with each new edition. We just release the optimum performance.”
Obviously, you need to inform your insurer of a remap.
How much does car remapping or chipping cost?
Our Prices start at £199 for OBD tuning, and ECU bench tuning costs start at £275, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can spend on more advanced parts and services,The type of car you have will be a determining factor in the price you pay
You can also pay to have your car tested on a rolling road here at Tuning Emporium, so you can see the effect any ECU remapping work has had on the engine’s power and torque output. But we do offer a mobile service subject to location and or Post code.