While there are numerous ways to enhance engine performance, perhaps the most comprehensive is through chip tuning. Chip tuning allows you to change the way in which your ECU handles fuel consumption, as well as power displacement during runs and many other aspects. In fact, this process can result in a wide array of power gain, across the entire power band.
Before you can take advantage of the benefits, you will need to determine what type of vehicle you have. There are two forms of chip tuning, one for older vehicles (OBD I or 0) and one for newer vehicles (OBD II).
In a sense, older vehicles are simpler to tune in this manner. Removing the ECU and installing a new chip (circuit board) is usually all that is required. While this is vastly easier than modifying the computers of newer vehicles, it has drawbacks, as well. For instance, fewer gains can be achieved through this method, simply because the computer does not control as many aspects of engine performance. However, replacing that chip can take ride performance to an entirely new level.
Newer vehicles use a much more sophisticated computer. Chip tuning on this type of vehicle is very different from older cars. At most, you will have to replace a control module, but you will not replace any actual chips in the ECU. Rather, these computers are updated with improved software through flashing the computer. This involves the use of an OBD scanner and specialized software.
These tools are not cheap, though most tuning shops have them on hand. When you flash the computer with the new software, new fuel maps are added, replacing the OEM maps. OEM fuel maps are designed to provide the most fuel savings, with a modest amount of power, to suit the average consumer.
Changing your OEM fuel map will allow your engine to maximize fuel delivery and combustion, which results in greater acceleration at both low and high-end RPMs. Tuners will have to purchase control modules and aftermarket software, most tuning shops do not provide these. However, you can purchase both through aftermarket car tuning companies, many of them online.
Before you drop a load of cash on new maps and modules, ensure that you are purchasing from a reputable company. TEC 3 and AEM are both reputable companies, though their prices are slightly higher than other solutions.