– Engine chip: characteristics
– Interest in the electronic chip for engine
– Engine chip: our advice before reprogramming
– Cost of an engine chip reprogramming
For some of us, especially in the world of tuning, the temptation to increase the performance of our car is excellent through the technique of the engine chip. Good or bad idea, the electronic chip? The answer right away!
Engine chip: characteristics
The engine parameters are managed by the vehicle’s engine management computer, which processes the information from the sensors (water temperature, rpm, air pressure, etc.).
By this means, the ECU:
– adjusts the injection time to approach ideal combustion;
– adapts to the driver’s request (for example, if the accelerator pedal is fully depressed (kick-down), and the engine control unit increases the injection time to promote power.
The operating strategies are defined in advance by the engine designers and are called maps.
The microchip, which is, in fact, a reprogramming of the data, modifies these maps to increase engine performance.
According to an article on the highway code concerning the modification of the characteristics of a vehicle, any transformation brought to a car, whether it is a notable transformation or any other transformation likely to modify the features indicated on the registration certificate, requires the modification of the registration certificate.
Therefore, it is necessary to submit the transformed car to individual approval by the transport authority of your region, except that this procedure is unfeasible for a private individual and even for a car professional, as the technical documents and administrative formalities are so complex.
Please note: Failure to comply with this article exposes you to a fine with the possibility of seizure of your vehicle.
Microchip Engine Reprogramming
The subject is complex because reprogramming varies greatly depending on the operators and the users’ expectations.
On the one hand, the modification of the engine programming will bring more power (this is the most spectacular for the user) but will increase consumption and decrease the vehicle’s reliability.
On the other hand, working on the engine torque, which is less rewarding, is the operation that will bring more strength to the acceleration, have minimal impact on fuel consumption, and result in increased efficiency of the transmission of the engine energy to the ground.
However, it is helpful to know that:
– Any intervention involving the modification of the vehicle’s original components removes the manufacturer’s warranty;
– Reprogramming an engine means that insurance coverage is not available in the event of a claim (beware of bodily injury): beware of sales arguments associating power and lower consumption, which are false!
– Reprogramming is much more effective on a diesel engine (where the intake air dosage is in excess) than on a gasoline engine, even less so if it is naturally aspirated (without turbo);
– If the electronics modify the characteristics of an engine, the preparation will be much more effective if it combines the replacement of the camshaft(s), for example, or work on the mechanical parts of the engine (pistons, connecting rods, ducts, etc.);
– An increase in performance always impacts the reliability of the engine.
Engine chip: what you should know before reprogramming
If, despite all these recommendations, you are tempted by a reprogramming, follow the following advice:
– Find out the terms and conditions of your insurance policy before the intervention: some cover the transformation by taking into account the new characteristics of the vehicle for a much higher premium.
– Make sure your engine is in good condition (preventive diagnosis, compressions, low mileage…)
– Choose a serious professional (investigate his reliability beforehand) and preferably choose a racing car tuner, usually an experienced technician.
Cost of an engine chip reprogramming
If performed in specialized workshops, the procedure can cost between $450 and $800 on average.
Note: Some workshops offer two levels of preparation: an “Eco” pack ($450) focused on torque transmission and a “Perfo” pack working more on power delivery.