Engineering Explained: How

How to Chip Tune a car?


Electronic control unit chip tuning is one of the most common performance enhancements available to car owners. Chip tuning can increase overall performance by boosting available horsepower and increasing torque. Many companies offer chip tuning and ECU upgrades which specializes in performance tuning for Volkswagen. Chip tuning modifications can significantly improve overall performance and enhance the driving experience.

Understanding Chip Tuning

Chip tuning, or remapping, is the replacement of the car manufacturer’s stock ECU software to modify vehicle performance. The new software is flashed to the ECU chip, also called a PROM or Programmable Read Only Memory chip, using a cable attached to the assembly line diagnostics link system. Depending on the year, make and model, some cars require the chip be desoldered and replaced however on some cars it may be easiest to instead replace the entire ECU with a modified unit. Software upgrades will generally be less expensive than either ECU or chip replacement.

The ECU

The ECU is a small computer that controls the majority of vehicle functions including spark timing, fuel delivery, engine idle speed and emissions control. Typically located beneath the passenger side of the dashboard, the ECU has a self-diagnostic feature designed to alert the driver to potential problems by illuminating or flashing the “service engine” light. The various vehicle sensors collect operating data and send that data to the ECU which it then uses to control vehicle operation. The ALDL connector, usually positioned beneath the steering wheel, will have either a 12 or 16-pin on-board diagnostics connector. The 16-pin OBD-II system has been standard on most cars since 1996 while the 12-pin OBD-I system was used primarily on cars built between 1982 and 1996. Some 1994 and 1995 model year cars will have a 16-pin ALDL but still utilize the OBD-I system.



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