Car Remapping – An Ultimate Guide to Car Tuning
- What is Car remapping?
- What is an ECU?
- What are the improvements and advantages?
- How much does it cost to remap an engine?
- Is it safe to remap your car?
- Can I tune my vehicle myself?
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably considering remapping your car. Once upon a time, vehicle remapping was only enjoyed by tech geeks and car obsessives. However, this method of electronic engine tuning has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years and now appeals to a wide range of vehicle owners.
While there is an element of enthusiasm still required to investigate the many car remapping options available on the market, the techniques deployed by tuning engineers are well noted and increasingly valued among various vehicle owners. Paramount Performance can remap cars, trucks, buses, tractors, motorbikes, and just about anything else with an engine. Remapping gives you the capability to enhance engine performance and drive more comfortably.
We’ve put together this handy FAQ guide so you can see whether a vehicle remap is for you!
So what is car remapping?
Engine remapping (also known as car chipping, ECU tuning, or car tuning) is the process in which changes are made to the software that controls how a vehicle’s engine delivers performance. It’s essentially a software upgrade. Alterations are made to the engine’s ECU (Electronic Control Unit) by way of ‘flashing’ the ECU with software files and maps.
What is an ECU?
If a car were a human, then the ECU would be the brain. It’s an essential part of the car that is responsible for the functionality of the engine. Modifications to change the ‘personality’ of the engine can be made by sending new codes of software to the ECU. You may want to change the timing of the ignition or modify fuel and boost pressures, for instance. A vehicle remap can have your car functioning at its optimum potential by overwriting the original factory settings.
Tons of vehicle owners dream of improving the functionality and capability of their cars in the pursuit of more power.
There are two basic options when it comes to car tuning:
What’s the difference? Tuning requires mechanical interference with the car’s physical components. As a result, it can sometimes prove costly. Electronic tuning deals solely with electronic software updates and modifications.
What improvements and changes can be made with a car remap?
When choosing whether an engine remap is for you, it is vital to hone down on which specific improvements you wish to make to your vehicle. For example, do you want more power? Perhaps you want to enhance the drivability? Or maybe you’re looking to make your car more economical and get better mileage from your fuel.
A vehicle remap is bespoke and can be adapted to best suit your driving style. Enhancing the drivability of the car means that driving, in general, becomes easier. Flat spots can be removed. Pulling power can be boosted; perhaps you use your vehicle to tow regularly. You can increase the dynamics and manoeuvrability of your machine too!
Automobile manufacturers have varying performance tolerances for different markets and conditions around the world. So the ECU software of a vehicle manufactured and sold in Germany may be slightly different from cars destined for the roads of the UK or any other country around the world. That’s precisely why there is some ‘wiggle room’ in the ECU maps to tweak for better performance.
The most common type of car remapping modifies the fuel-to-air mix, which boosts the vehicle’s overall turbo pressure. One could see a 25%-35% increase in performance levels from this sort of vehicle tuning. Whether they be diesel or petrol, most cars can have their ECUs remapped both safely and easily.
How are the improvements made? Usually via a laptop. That’s right, in the simplest of vehicle tuning cases, somebody could remap your ECU in under an hour with nothing but a computer. If successful, it means your vehicle’s performance will improve with zero mechanical change.
What are the costs involved with vehicle remapping?
It is important to be aware that car tuning can:
- Cause a blow to your insurance costs even if a remap is not visible
- Nullify your insurance policy if you do not make your provider aware before the chip tuning takes place
As car remapping has become more popular, the general attitude of insurance providers has become much more accommodating to allowing tuning.
Car remapping has gotten cheaper as the process has become more popular with a wider audience base. For example, a straightforward engine remap could set you back £150 + VAT.
On average, you’re looking at somewhere in the region of £400 to £550 for a good quality car remap. But it depends on the vehicle and the engine. Paramount Performance has a range of vehicle tuning options for all makes and models. Simply shop by brand online.
Is it safe to remap your car?
As long as the remap is completed by experts, like those we have here at Paramount Performance, then remapping is completely safe. However, if your vehicle has a running or intermittent fault, then tuning may not be the best course of action.
It is important to do your research and see how much more power you can get from chip tuning your vehicle. It’s more than likely we’ve remapped your car’s model and (or) make many times before.
Although you can remap your own car, it is advisable to rely on the specialists because of how bespoke ECU remapping files need to be adapted to each engine’s different models and makes. It is these personalised tuning methods that lead to the best results. But they do involve risk. Inadequate modifications to the software may overload the engine’s functionality. Let the experts at Paramount Performance minimise the risk of this happening.
Is your warranty at risk when vehicle remapping?
A vehicle remap adds pressure, however slight, to the vehicle’s components. This means components other than the engine and the turbo, such as the gearbox or clutch, could be altered during the process. So vehicle tuning will affect your warranty. It is up to you whether you wish to void your warranty as that could affect the resale value of your car. However, an engine remap will improve the vehicle’s performance! So these could balance each other out.
Can I remap my own vehicle?
You can tune your own vehicle if you so wish. However, you will need to have considerable programming experience and a flair for software. Incredibly well-qualified engineers coded the software that makes up your car’s ECU before it left the factory for sale. This is not something the average person can YouTube for half an hour and then perform well.
There are car tuning courses available. Paramount Performance offers a range of excellent tuning courses for all prospective vehicle remappers who want to pop the bonnet and perform surgery on their own ECU. In addition, we have courses for novices and for those who wish to improve their tuning skills.
If you’re not partaking in our excellent courses and choose to follow an open-source car tuning course online, then the risk of destroying the functionality of your engine is considerably higher.
It’s great that you want to get into vehicle tuning – we admire that enthusiasm! But engines and software programs are not the same thing. Our professionals are skilled enough in both to conduct a vehicle remap flawlessly.
Can any car be tuned?
The majority of cars can be remapped. However, the only real prerequisite is that your vehicle must have a computer. Engine remapping works best on diesel and turbocharged vehicles. Paramount Performance has an extensive catalogue of models and makes online. See if your car is there! If you cannot find it, drop us an email or a call, and we can discuss the best tuning options available for your vehicle.
Are chip tuning and vehicle remapping the same thing?
Yes, car chipping and car remapping are basically the same thing in so far as they seek to increase your vehicle’s performance. However, chipping used to primarily refer to a tuning box that is attached to the engine bay.
In 2021, car tuning is more about uploading new software code to the car’s ECU electronically. But people still refer to this as chipping. Additionally, as cars have become smarter and more technology-focused, the space to attach a tuning box is decreasing.
Why don’t OEMs offer car tuning services themselves?
Car manufacturers are heavily focused on the reputation of their brand as well as their vehicles. Therefore, they want all of their cars to perform consistently. For example, if you and your friend both purchased an Audi A4 from different car dealerships in the UK, Audi would want the driving experience to be similar to avoid public disputes over the car’s reliability.
It also does not make financial sense for OEMs to offer car remapping services to everybody. Again, you have to think about the bottom line. Manufacturing a wide variety of models with differing ECU tuning is not financially viable.
In the current automotive sector in Britain, China, Europe, and the US, the focus is not on enhancing the performance figures of their existing vehicle lines. Instead, the majority of research and development investment is going into sustainability and alternative fuel sources. In addition, most major OEMs now focus on producing the most environment-friendly electric vehicles, meaning the range is more important than power and speed.
Additionally, the global market for vehicles is massive. The vehicle tuning market would be a drop in the ocean in comparison.
In conclusion, engine remapping has many benefits. It provides an exciting opportunity to get more out of your own vehicle, and we think that should be celebrated. We have remapping services for all brands and models, and our success rates are flawless.