Performance Tuners: 4 Questions to Help Pick the Perfect One

BY MICHAEL D.

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that no two snowflakes are alike. Adages and clichés aside, the principle holds true in a lot of life’s scenarios. Choosing the right tuner for your performance vehicle is no different a scenario, as one user’s concerns are another’s afterthought. If you aren’t really sure what you’re looking for in a tuner, this article should help answer a few of the most common questions you ought to ask yourself.

1. WHAT ARE THE PRELOADED TUNES?

Does the tuner you have in mind cater to aftermarket mods and are there specific tunes for specific hardware upgrades? Tunes are the software you load into your vehicle’s onboard computer. What they do depends on what the tune is designed to optimize. Some are written for maximum fuel economy, others for gains in horsepower and torque. Others have a specific tune if you’ve equipped your vehicle with both a cold air intake and cat back exhaust, while other tunes might be best-suited for no other modifications to the vehicle.

With a Superchips tuner, for example, you can choose to load the performance tune when you want to light the tires up and go fast. For a cross-country drive, you can plug the tuner in and adjust it for the best fuel economy possible. In this case, you’d plug the tuner back in and choose to load the fuel economy tune onto the vehicle.

2. IS THE UNIT UPDATABLE?

The tuner you’re considering should offer constant support and continuously work on improving the tunes. A big part of this is updating them when necessary. Many – like this one from Hypertech – use software compatible with Windows, which means you can do what you need to do from the comfort of your home. All you’ve got to do is download the installer that’s compatible with your unit to your personal computer, run it and follow the onscreen prompts.

3. IS IT WIFI-CAPABLE?

In the modern age, we expect WiFi-capability from just about every electronic device we own, so why should a performance tuner be any different? This is another question searchers need to ask themselves, as this feature is absolutely essential if you want your tuner to communicate with your smartphone or send data wirelessly. With a WiFi-capable tuner, you can ditch the annoying OBD II cable and avoid tangles down around your footspace.

4. ANY MONITORING OR DATA-LOGGING?

Does the tuner boast a slick display that allows you to view real-time engine data? If it allows you to log engine data during wide-open throttle runs or laps down at the track that you can review later on your computer, you’ll then have the luxury of making future adjustments and optimizations to your vehicle, totally free of complications.