Alright, so before we run off to performance land, let me make something clear. Performance chips and OBD Tuners aren’t designed to give your sweet ride any superpowers. It won’t turn from Bruce to Jolly Green. For that, you’ll need a Stage 3 upgrade. But 27 HP and 23 LB-FT with a Diablo Tuner aren’t hateful numbers from a 6.4-liter Dodge Challenger.
But let’s not jump the light. What does “chipping” your car do? Are there any adverse side effects? How well do OBD performance tuners work? Are they as good as tuning your ECU the old-fashioned way?
We’ll answer these questions and give you an idea of what to expect and some products to start with.
What Does a Performance Chip Do?
A performance chip is installed between the car’s engine and its computer. The computer, in this case, refers to the oxygen sensor, fuel injectors, intake valves, throttle valve, ignition system, and any other part that can be manipulated by electromagnetic interference.
The purpose of the performance chip is to enhance the vehicle’s performance with electronic devices instead of using purely mechanical processes. In essence, these chips trick the car into thinking that it has a bigger and more powerful engine than what the original manufacturer had intended. As a result, they can increase perceived performance percentage through better throttle response, possibly better fuel economy, and slightly higher torque and horsepower.
There are also some specialized tuners with a more specific goal in mind. For example, the Range Active Fuel Management Disable Device overrides the cylinder deactivation feature found on many of today’s V6 and V8 engines, keeping all cylinders active at all times to increase throttle response and power across the board. And the Hypertech Speedometer Calibrator does just what the name implies, restoring your speedo’s accuracy after gear swaps and tire size changes.
What are OBD2 Performance Tuners?
OBD-II Performance tuners are devices that plug into your car’s computer through the OBD (onboard diagnostics) port under the steering wheel. Most cars made after 1995 have an OBD-II port, but some older models may not. You can find more information on what works for you model, here.
OBD-II tuners generally work by flashing new code onto your ECU (engine control unit, also known as the computer for short). This makes changes to your car’s fuel mapping, so it burns more efficiently or delivers a better throttle response. Many modern engines use drive-by-wire technology, where the throttle is controlled electronically rather than mechanically.
You had to rip out the ECU and send it off to a performance tuner in the past. But now, tuners like Banks Pedal Monster will let you hook up your smartphone, and through an app, PedalMonster will work to make the improvements. After that, the direction is up to you. It even shows real-time effects through the mobile app. The plug-and-play module easily connects to your OBD-II, letting you have selectable power modes or customize throttle to your liking.
Do Performance Chips Have Drawbacks?
There are a few drawbacks to using performance chips. Be careful what you buy and avoid second-hand or too cheap to be true products. The good news is that you’ll find top brands you can trust with AutoAnything. And you can always check with the reviews for the latest info from certified users.
For example, Jet Performance offers an in-line module customized and programmed to your car and gains HP and torque. With its Stage 1 or Stage 2 models, you can choose what’s correct for your current tune.
Should you worry about messing things up? For most of today’s tuners and chips, you have fail-safe features that will shut down your engine before you do any damage to the car – not that you would try or anything crazy.
And, if you live in California, recent regulations have worked to frustrate the use of chips, performance tuners, or any modifications to the ECU. As a result, ECU-tuned cars will now automatically flunk California smog testing. But get this. In a fantastic turn of fair play, the DMV and California Air Resources Board says you’re free to flash the ECU back to stock before the inspection. And then they’re okay if you return it to the tune after the test. It’s a head-shaker, but there it is – just a little bit of trouble for performance.
Do Performance Chips Work?
Performance chips have been proven to work, and many professional racing teams have been using them for years, making it a safe option to enhance the performance of their vehicles. Of course, the changes will be more noticeable on some vehicles than others, so as the ads say, your mileage may vary. But you’ll have options to customize to your needs and, in most cases, see the results on the manufacturer’s apps as you’re driving.
So, answer is yes, however it’s important to understand what a performance chip is actually doing. These devices aren’t changing your car in the way that a turbocharger or superchargers would. They are simply changing how the computer running your e ngine instructs it to do things. The engine won’t be getting more power out of the car but will shift the mapping on where the power you have is being applied.
For instance, a chip will raise your rev limiter from 6900 rpom to 7200-7500 and will tighten up your top end power and also help your engine to use more torque at a lower rpm range. This doesn’t increase your power at all but allows you to use more of what you already have available. And it will increase the quickness of your car as it accelerates from a stop. The stoplight grand prix will be more fun.
How Do I Select the Right Chip and OBD Tuner?
So you just bought that beautiful Mustang GT or maybe you have a Subaru STi or EVO X and you’re interested in the pump it up” factor and safety and keeping the warranty that OBD-II compliant and ECU chips offer.
The problem you find is there are so many brand available that it can be tough to choose between them. One of the biggest influences on your decision should be how technologically advanced the product is. You can be confident that we have the most advanced OBD performance tuner or chips available.
So, get in touch with us because AutoAnything is committed to helping you find the best tuner for your car, truck, van, or SUV.
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