Programmers & Tuners: 5 Support Questions Answered

BY MICHAEL D.

Performance programmers and tuners are an easy, effective upgrade for your vehicle. To get the lowdown on what they do and how they can make a difference for you, be sure to check out, or point your friends to, our existing article, “Programmers and Tuners 101.” This page is more for those who have already followed through on their buying decision, but have some lingering questions that need answers. Read on to learn more.

1

Q: HOW OFTEN CAN I TUNE MY VEHICLE?

A: It depends on the age of your vehicle. Newer vehicles with fuel-injection and electronic ignition systems can travel 25,000-100,000 miles without requiring a tune-up, but they ought to be tuned at least once within that range. Older cars with non-electronic ignitions, on the other hand, should have it done every 10,000-12,000 miles, or every year — whichever comes first.

2

Q: WHAT DO I DO IF I’M RETURNING MY VEHICLE TO THE DEALERSHIP?

A: Before you do this, you’ll want to return your vehicle to stock settings. This prevents the tuner from locking up if the dealer updates the PCM (powertrain control module). The process is fast and easy, but the steps will probably vary between tuners, so follow the instructions that come with yours.

3

Q: DOES INSTALLatIoN vOID the FACTORY WARRANTY?

A: This is one of the commonest questions asked by someone in your position, and the answer is “yes.” There are certain laws in place (such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) that would protect you from unjust disclaimers on warranty, but you’d likely have a fight on your hands from the dealership. So, don’t invest in a tuner unless you’re certain you won’t be returning the vehicle.

4

Q: CAN I UPDATE MY TUNER?

A: Definitely, and the good news is that most programmers/tuners available today are software-updatable, which means that to make sure you’re working with the latest programming from the manufacturer, you’ll need to plug your device into your home computer via USB. Follow the product-specific instructions that come with your programmer and you’ll be ready to roll.

5

Q: Do I have to leave the tuner plugged-in to keep the vehicle tune?

A: Negative. After setting the tune, you’re free to disconnect your programmer from the OBD port, as the programmer isn’t designed to stay plugged-in all the time. It may even become warm to the touch if you leave it in for too long — always a bad sign.

If you have a question of your own that we didn’t address here, feel free to reach out to our call center at 1-800-874-8888. Our knowledgeable representatives will be able to answer any inquiries you may have regarding the tuner you’ve already purchased or have yet to purchase. If you’re in the latter camp, click on the link below to see what AutoAnything has to offer.


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