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Q: Will a after market performance chip increase my horse power? Will it pass smog?

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Will after market performance chip increase horsepower? Will it pass smog?

My car has 3000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: If you live in California or any jurisdicti...

If you live in California or any jurisdiction that regulates these aftermarket products, the first thing to check is whether the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has "registered" or "approved" the product. If no approval exists, particularly in California, that is your first sure sign of a problem. But, regardless of how these aftermarket chips are dealt with by CARB, please note that over a period of decades vehicle manufacturers have enlisted the aid of thousands of highly trained engineers, computer specialists and programmers to create and PCMs using incredibly sophisticated test protocols not to mention equipment.

As a consequence of this enormous effort and because of the obvious marketing value that would attend claims of "higher horsepower" or "performance", if there were even a remote possibility that the PCM for your car could have been designed by the OEM to both generate more horsepower while optimizing all the other vehicle functions, such as emissions and efficiency, they would have already done so!

Even leaving that fact aside, the only way to determine if a given chip has any effect, and what that effect is, is to set up a dynamometer in a laboratory and run the same tests that that legion of OEM engineers runs. That is the only way to get an actually usable answer to your question.

Some chip makers will claim that they have laboratory evidence or testing to back up their claims. That’s fine but you would have to pore over reams of data, if it even exists, to confirm their claims, and even at that you would still not have an answer to your question because the testing of these sorts of chips is often selective (or selectively reported), that is within certain power bands for example, and thus is not the sort of comprehensive PCM testing that the OEM’s routinely conduct and have conducted for decades on hundreds of millions of vehicles.

Let me conclude by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with experimenting with a modification with the end to learning something new but if your question is whether these chips have a meaningful benefit, practical purpose, or economic value the answer is most decidedly, no (unless proven otherwise).

If you’re looking to get more performance from you car, one of our mobile technicians are readily available to inspect and service your car to get the most out of it.

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