Performance chips – the good and the bad eon replacement gas card


Performance tuning has been around since the first engine was put on wheels. For the most part, tuning is about controlling the fuel:air mixture and the timing of its being put into the cylinder for firing. Before electronics, this was controlled by linkages, carburetor valves, and other mechanics. Today, most engines are electronically-controlled, so performance is tuned through "chip tuning" (programming or replacement). The Factory Chip

Your car shipped from the factory with pre-programmed settings for fuel:air mixtures and injection timing. These are stored on a "lookup table" – a sort of spreadsheet of scenarios which the engine’s computer references from the chip for analysis and response.

For example, at 55 mph while the automatic transmission is in 5th gear, if you suddenly press the gas pedal to the floor, the computer will instantly reference the chip’s lookup table to find out what the optimum fuel:air mixture, spray pressure, turbocharging, etc. is for this situation and whether shifting down at current RPM will improve power output for better performance.

Factory chipsets are tuned to optimize performance with fuel economy and emissions. The higher the performance demands of a vehicle, the lower its fuel economy and worse its emissions are going to be. In order to meet customer expectations and government standards, the manufacturer tunes the chip to find a balance between power and economy. What a Performance Chip Does

Regardless of the performance chip being used, they all do the same basic thing. They change the parameters of the lookup table to alter the power vs. economy balance. While some chips may claim to offer higher horsepower and better fuel economy, the truth is that this is marketing and not reality. You can either have higher HP or better MPG, but not both.

In every case, however, replacing the factory chipset with an after-market Performance Chip will void warranties on your vehicle’s drive train. That is not insignificant given the often extensive and long-duration warranties offered on today’s vehicles.

In addition to this, a performance chip will rarely give extreme performance enhancement without also retuning the power control module (PCM) and adding performance-enhancing accessories. In fact, adding better intake, fuel delivery, and other options will usually give a far better result and a "Performance Chip" will become unnecessary as a quality mechanic will install those items and then recommend and perform a chipset reprogramming.

If you do decide to purchase a Performance Chip for your vehicle, you will be well-served to shop around and be extremely cautious. Do not expect any real gains (and do prepare for the possibility of huge losses) if you buy a cheap, "generic" chip meant for several vehicle models or ranges of models. These are low-cost, but rarely give much boost and often come with side effects like persistent engine lights, problems at low idle, and increased engine wear.

Be aware that while chip makers will likely claim "up to" certain amounts of performance or MPG enhancements, those estimates are going to be possible only in the hinterland of the realm. You can expect far less than the maximum claims made. On most modern vehicles, you will likely see a 5-10% improvement in either HP or MPG with a good chipset and perhaps half that for generics. On most vehicles today, this will mean less than 10 HP or fewer than 3 MPG or so in improvement.