1. If the settings made by performance chips are so great, why don't the factories use the same in the onboard computers?
The factory program is designed for the average driver, not serious motorists who demand performance and efficiency. Consequently, stock calibrations are tuned low to accommodate drivers who may use poor quality gasoline or do not have their vehicles regularly serviced. If you use higher octane fuel, keep your drive train in tip-top shape and have a need for speed, then stock settings are holding you back. A performance chip unleashes all the horsepower, torque and efficiency that are right now lost by the factory programming in your onboard computer.
The biggest difference between a control module and a power programmer is installation. A control module is wired directly to your vehicle's onboard computer, so it mounts right inside your engine compartment. On the other hand, a power programmer is not a permanent attachment to your vehicle. Instead, you plug it into your under-the-dash OBDII port, let it work its electronic wizardry and then unplug it once it's done. It does not remain installed on your vehicle like a control module does.
Another key distinction between control modules and power programmers is how much control they give you over the tuning process. After you splice a control module into your onboard computer system, it simply runs off its internal programming without your input. With a power programmer, there is interaction. When you plug it in, you answer questions about your driving style, if you have modified your vehicle and, often, what fuel you use. Based on your answers, it uploads new settings that are tailored for you and your driving habits.
No. A performance chip does not cause damage to your engine or transmission as it increases the horsepower and torque output. This power is generated mainly by harmlessly adjusting your air/fuel ratio and ignition timing to optimal settings.
In fact, a performance chip can even protect your engine from damage. When your air/fuel ratio is running lean, or if your timing is advanced too far past top dead center, then your engine can suffer from detonation, which is premature combustion. Over time, detonation can lead to sever engine damage, such as throwing a rod, twisting a crankshaft or snapping a piston. Performance chips actually reduce the threat of detonation by correcting the settings that cause it.
Not at all. Power programmers simply plug into your OBDII port, which is located right under your dashboard. It should not take more than ten minutes to plug in, tune up and unplug. Control modules are a bit more involved, but are still incredibly easy and straightforward. All you do is unhook some wires in your engine compartment and then plug in the control module. An engine management system (EMS), however, might require some modification to create a suitable mounting location inside your engine compartment. Once it's strapped down, though, the rest of the installation is just swapping wires from your onboard computer.
Far from it! Anyone can use our performance chips. All of the difficult programming has already been done by the engineers who built your performance chip, so all you have to do is plug yours in and enjoy all that radical tire-turning power that comes romping from your motor.
6. If I have made other performance modifications to my vehicle, is it a good idea to use a performance chip?
Coupling a performance chip with other modifications (e.g. catback exhaust systems, cold air induction kits and higher rated tires) is an excellent way to maximize the horsepower, torque and efficiency gains these parts promise. Since your onboard computer is running settings that are designed for the average driver who does not make modifications, it does not take into consideration upgrades from stock equipment. As such, your performance parts are probably not being fully utilized. When you add a performance chip into the equation, your drive train will be tuned to operate at peak levels, taking full advantage of your modifications.
Absolutely. Because performance chips make improved adjustments to your air/fuel ratio and ignition timing, your engine operates more efficiently and does not have to work as hard to generate power during combustion. In other words, your motor uses less fuel and still creates more power, maximizing the energy output from each drop of petrol. These improvements are especially noticeable in trucks during towing. Of course, if you like to think of yourself as an honorary member of the Andretti, Petty or Earnhardt family and drive accordingly, your fuel economy will probably remain about constant.