Putting some extra ponies into your daily motoring used to take entire days, cost hundreds of dollars in parts, and usually cause the loss of three or four knuckles. Not so in today’s computer-controlled vehicles, where tuning is about as easy as playing Tetris on a Game Boy. Let’s take a look at performance chips and programmers and how they’ve changed vehicle tuning.
Chances are you’ve seen the Saturday afternoon show geared toward squeezing every droplet of power out of a 50s or 60s classic. You know—the one hosted by two middle-aged guys, one with a toupee that may as well have “this is a toupee” painted on it. They spend the entire half-hour show with a bunch of time-lapsed shots taken of them tearing the engine apart to put in highly-specialized, insanely expensive parts. Once the project’s done, they fire-up the dyno and laud the 3hp gain they received for about 4 hours of total work. If you’re like me, that’s not exactly how you want to spend a weekend, all for 3hp that you may not even notice with your rear-o-meter.
Fortunately, you’re probably also driving a computer-controlled vehicle, like most of the ones sold for the last 25 years or so. That makes tuning much easier, because a set of programming determines the way your engine performs. Replace the programming with a set geared toward performance, and you have near-instant power gains. Don’t get me wrong—there’s a lot to be said for the virtues of a computer-free classic that you have full control over. But, when it comes to getting more power in just a few minutes time without ripping your hands to shreds or spending thousands on obscure parts, a computer-controlled vehicle has a distinct advantage.
How can you make these changes in minutes? With a power programmer or performance chip, like the ones made by Hypertech or Diablosport. These programmers are built to hold performance settings tested by experienced pros for your specific engine. All you have to do is plug it into the OBD-II port beneath your steering column. With simple yes or no commands, you can adjust how you want your engine to perform, upload the new programming, and you’re ready to rock with 25hp or more extra. The maximum time this will take to complete: just 10 minutes.
More Products that could feast the need for speed and ones that I found most promising in power gains are:
Many drivers who want the extra power are leery of this tuning method. “How can so much power be had so fast, when the TV pros spend hours to get few gains?” they ask. The answer is that automakers down-tune their cars for the masses. Engines are setup to work the same for you, the budding performance enthusiast, as they are for the elderly, who like to travel half the speed limit or through the occasional farmer’s market. You aren’t the average driver, and performance programmers aren’t average settings. It’s a perfect match for you; it’s not a perfect match for your mother.
Some drivers worry about warranty when they’re considering a performance programmer. Not only to the companies that make programmers take safety into account with their settings, they often give you ways to return to stock settings for service visits at the dealership. And, as with all performance mods, you’re protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law that basically states that your vehicle’s warranty can’t be voided by mods unless the mods can be proven as the source of trouble. In other words, there’s no reason to wait—the true potential is waiting to be unlocked, and you can do it without breaking a sweat.