Software tuning is a hot topic in the performance automotive scene. There are largely two schools of thought about it. Some are opposed to modifying the stock system (the OEM knows best right?) And those that totally champion it. We have just become a registered U.S. dealer of Race Chip Systems, and we felt that it was necessary to debunk some of the myths surrounding software performance tuning.
Before we begin, we need to point out that any software or hardware modifications can possibly void your vehicle’s warranty. So, make sure that you know the details before any modifications take place.
There are three main types of software modification:
An Outright ECU Flash
This entails using the stock ECU and overwriting it with what is called a custom map which is re-writing the engine control software from scratch. This modification does not involve any hardware change (parts added to the car).
Completely replacing a vehicle’s ECU with a custom one. Serious performance drivers often want to do this as it allows for the monitoring of more parameters, custom sensing, and additional dashboard controls. This solution really comes into its own with cars that have been heavily modified.
The main topic of today’s discussion. This involves installing a second ECU between the sensors and the main ECU that tweaks values to enhance performance. Race Chip’s solution does this and more. It can also link to your smartphone to give you a live readout of what is happening in your engine which allows you to make fine-tuning adjustments.
So now that you have an idea of what chip tuning is, let’s explore some of the myths behind it. Skeptics often have questions like:
Do Chip Manufacturers Actually Dyno Test Their Performance Enhancements?
Race Chip has a state-of-the-art dyno system, all of their supported vehicles are first tested using this to make sure that their adjustments do not negatively influence performance. After as much as two years of testing and only once they are completely satisfied, do they release their products for your car.
Does Chip Tuning Change More Than Just The Boost Pressure?
Race Chip divides their parameters into active and passive changes, and modify a range of different sensor values. The specific set is dependent on the vehicle make and model that you own. Basically, each Race Chip is specially programmed for your specific vehicle to unlock up to 30% more power.
Will Chip Tuning Affect My Gas Mileage?
Short answer? Yes. Race Chip points out that by increasing the power and torque, you are more likely to select lower gear ratios and so drive more efficiently. They see about a 20% mpg improvement with their device.
Chip tuning is a tasteful modification for the performance enthusiast who wants to keep their vehicle fairly stock, while also getting closer to controlling its true performance. Race Chip is designed and made in Germany, where many of the cars that we work on are produced.
In conclusion, we want to address the one major caveat that any performance tuning creates and is the chief reason why it is not OEM. If it only makes your car better, why doesn’t it come standard from the factory?
The chief reason for this is that by increasing your car’s performance you also decrease the service interval. Engines run hotter and more stress is put on cooling and lubrication. Race Chip’s modifications are well within the design tolerances of your auto, provided you halve the service interval. I think you already know whether we feel the benefits outweigh this disadvantage, don’t you?
Have more questions? We’ve been a trusted European automobile service center in South Florida since 1978. Call Foreign Affairs Motorsport to find out how you can experience the Race Chip difference today!