What Do Tuning Chips Do?

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Tuning chips are designed for diesel engines to boost both engine performance and fuel economy. However, they’re a mixed bag. Many drivers who’ve installed them have found that while they do increase performance, they don’t do a thing for fuel economy, and they can make the car smoke (they’re also called “smoke boxes” for that very reason).

What is a tuning chip?

First, it’s not really a chip in the way you’re thinking. They’re resistors. Tuning chips are not ECU chips (microprocessors within your car’s main computer that actually control engine and transmission operation). The resistor in question does only one thing – it changes the air temperature sensor’s readings that are sent to the computer.

The computer uses temperature and density information to determine how much fuel to send into the engine. Tuning chips effectively tell the computer that it’s receiving colder, denser air than it really is. Cold, dense air has more oxygen than warm air, which means that you get better combustion. The computer compensates for this by sending more fuel to the engine, resulting in more “bang.” This basically boosts performance.

However, because you’re not actually remapping the ECU for better performance, a number of problems can crop up, including:

  • Inaccurate fuel mileage information
  • Smoking from the exhaust
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Damage to the engine’s pistons
  • Increased emissions
  • Rough idling

If you’re determined to increase your car’s performance, the best option is to go with a re-mapped ECU that allows you to actually adjust both the engine’s performance and your car’s computer. This ensures that your emissions information is accurate (and you pass testing), and that you’re not causing damage to the engine in the long run.


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Kenneth

19 years of experience
512 reviews
Kenneth
19 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth is so awesome. He walks you through everything and let's you know the truth, of what you really need to maintain and service your ride. Thanks Kenneth.
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth did a great job and very knowledgeable. He has a great attitude and I will for sure be using him again.

Steffon

10 years of experience
19 reviews
Steffon
10 years of experience
Kia Sedona - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Hunt Valley, Maryland
Steffon did a great job for me. He was on time, professional and quick. He kept me up to date and gave me some advice on what to expect. I would definitely use him again and recommend him to anyone.
Hyundai Veracruz - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Owings Mills, Maryland
Punctual. Very knowledgeable. Removed unnecessary and pricey services other untrustworthy mechanics said were required. Completed work faster than original estimate and for a great price. Would definitely request Steffon next time!

Ralph

37 years of experience
128 reviews
Ralph
37 years of experience
Nissan Frontier - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Spanaway, Washington
Great mechanic! Efficient, knowledgeable, etc. Would definitely recommend to anyone and would book again for future appointments.
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Spanaway, Washington
Ralph competed installation of drum brakes on my Nissan Sentra. Ralph was very personable and knowledgeable about my car. He did an excellent job! I will be hiring him again. Thanks Ralph!!

Michael

15 years of experience
518 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Atlanta, Georgia
Micheal was punctual and friendly. Work was completed within promised time. Will definitely use again.
Volvo S80 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Roswell, Georgia
Michael was SUPER QUICK with doing my brake and rotors. Great communication throughout the whole process. Will always recommend

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