Did you know that you can boost both the power and fuel economy of your car in about 40 minutes, simply by altering the settings on the engine control unit?
It’s a process called ‘engine remapping’ – and it’s an easy way to revitalise your car.
The engine control unit (ECU) is a computer that controls how the engine works, adjusting timing, fuelling and airflow.
The default settings – or maps – are not necessarily set to optimum, as manufacturers sell their cars around the world into account different climatic conditions, fuel qualities, laws and customer expectations when they program the software. If you are in the wide target market selected, you may be happy with what you have, but you could have more. More acceleration, more power and more MPG!
Car manufacturers are also known deliberately to limit the performance of their cars through the ECU so they can release sporty models with a different designation, with just a few software changes and a much higher price.
Remapping makes the most of your car by overwriting the ECU’s default settings with new software which is programmed to enhance the car’s overall performance.
It usually takes between 40 minutes and an hour, and modern technology means it’s really straightforward, just like updating your PC.
In the early days, the process was called ‘chipping’ and involved the removal of the main microchip from the ECU which was then replaced with a modified chip, or the piggybacking of a new chip over the old. Plenty of opportunity for problems!