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Is Engine Control Unit Tuning Right for You?

You may have heard about tuning the engine control unit (ECU) during one of your visits to an auto repair shop. Tuning the ECU has several benefits and drawbacks that you need to think about before you do it. This article discusses some of those benefits and the shortcomings of adjusting the ECU. Use this information to make an informed decision about the suitability of this tuning exercise for your vehicle.

The Benefits of ECU Tuning

Your vehicle gains more power. Carmakers often program ECU settings that can offer acceptable engine performance despite the challenges that the vehicle may encounter, such as using it at high altitude or when the engine temperature is very high. Tuning the ECU can make your vehicle more powerful because the engine will be able to offer greater performance for the specific conditions under which you use it instead of that same engine being programmed to deliver average performance for conditions that don't exist in your area.

Higher engine efficiency. It is also possible to adjust the ECU in order to make the engine to consume less fuel without sacrificing how much power it can deliver. This higher efficiency means that your fuel costs will reduce.

It is easier to upgrade your vehicle. It can sometimes be hard and expensive to get some custom car parts, such as custom exhaust components. ECU tuning can enable you to improve the specific parameter that you want to change without having to go through the hassles of buying custom parts.

The Disadvantages of ECU Tuning

Greater stress and wear. Making your engine to perform at a higher level than the manufacturer programmed it to perform at can make that engine to work harder at higher engine temperatures.  Those extreme conditions may shorten the service life of that car engine.

Errors may be made. Tuning the ECU requires one to have the right tuning chips and the knowledge to plug those chips into the appropriate ports on the ECU. Any mistake that is made during this process can result in engine damage.

Greater care and maintenance is needed. The settings programmed by the manufacturer enable the engine to perform well under a variety of maintenance conditions. For instance, the engine may not develop problems even if you used inferior fuel. Adding a tuning chip makes the engine more sensitive and therefore more likely to develop problems when the ideal conditions aren't maintained during its use.

Think carefully about the issues discussed above before you have ECU tuning chips installed in your car. It may also be helpful if you discussed this issue with a mechanic so that you can get an expert's opinion about the suitability of ECU tuning for your car.