Tuning Performance – Risks, Benefits, and Methodology


You buy a car for several reasons. Sometimes you choose a model because of its history, its price, its power, or simply because you’ve had a crush. After the acquisition, if you do not appreciate its power, you can consider an engine tuning. Most cars equipped with injection engines have an Engine Control Unit (ECU).

This box contains a program with a series of parameters that turn the car’s engine. So it’s the one who sends commands to the injectors according to his program configurations, so the engine can’t do more. The purpose of reprogramming is to optimize this program in order to boost engine power and/or obtain better efficiency.

In practice, it is a matter of modifying the original parameters of the electronic case to change the amount of injection of fuel and the ignition in order to increase the engine torque and the power of the car. This operation requires detailed knowledge of the mode of operation of the injection engines as well as a mastery of the specific programs for the type of vehicle you want to modify.


Like everything else, engine reprogramming also presents some risks. The first, and no less important, the danger would be to entrust the operation to an unqualified person, as this could damage the engine. This can range from uncontrolled fuel over-consumption to engine failure. The vehicle will remain dependent on the person who performed the reprogramming, as this person will always have to be called upon whenever a problem arises.

If during the interviews, the vehicle passes over the car diagnostic pouch, the program will reset itself automatically. As a result, you can delete all the lastest settings. However, you should take into account the various regulations in force. In fact, owners cannot do everything they want in their car, otherwise, they will no longer get approval and will not be able to pass the technical inspections.

The ideal solution is to use an engine reprogramming specialist. An engineer will make a diagnosis on a power bench of your car to find the various manipulations to do. He will then inform you of the steps to follow and the limits to respect. Qualified technicians and mechanics will reprogram your car’s engine.


The purpose of engine reprogramming is to maximize the acceleration capacity of a vehicle. It allows, among other :

  • Increase the power of the vehicle without having to change the engine. The power of this latter depends on the needs of the owner. According to experts, the possible increase can go up to 60 % without the risk of damaging the engine.
  • Have more engine torque at the slowest speeds.
  • Speed increases.
  • Reduce fuel consumption. After reprogramming, the fuel requirements of your vehicle will significantly decrease.
  • Comply with pollution control standards in general so the car will become more environmentally friendly.

It is good to know that reprogramming the electronic case of your vehicle does not cause any defect in the manufacturer’s diagnostic. Immobilization of the vehicle is not necessary and return to the original parameters is possible and can be done in a few minutes.


There are two ways to reprogram a vehicle’s engine. The first is to perform the operation separately from the data of the original electronic case. To do this, you need to connect to the diagnostic socket of the car (the famous OBD socket) for reprogramming by a specific software that allows having access to the motor calculator.

Sometimes the intervention on the original housing is necessary to directly access the data recorded by the computer. This type of engine reprogramming optimizes engine performance and reduces fuel consumption.

The second type of engine reprogramming is much sharper. It consists of changing the parameters of the electronic case after changing parts in order to optimize the whole. When it comes to sports cars, the main objective is to boost engine performance to the maximum. Indeed, the addition of all the parts intends to vary the engine powers.

This can be a new direct intake filter, smooth intake pipe ducts, a new exhaust tube, a corrected camshaft or all of this combined. But be careful, in order for this type of reprogramming to produce the desired result, it must be carried out properly by a specialist.

In order for the new parts to deliver the expected performance, it is necessary to know how to modify the engine parameters in the right direction.


It is important that the setting is appropriate otherwise it will not work. Here too, an intervention on the original computer is necessary in order to be able to access and change the data contained in it. For some models, it is necessary to add housing in order to modify the program parameters and improve engine performance. There are even cars that can carry multiple maps with a switch.

Reprograming steps

In most cases, the operation starts by taking a diagnostic of the car. Otherwise, they transfer the data directly on the computer. However, reprogramming takes place in the following steps:

  • Test drive with your vehicle. This will allow you to verify his condition. Attention, not only do you have to drive on the road, but you also need to mount the car on a lift before starting the engine reprogramming.
  • Start by extracting the program from your original computer. There are two ways to do this. You can either transfer the original mapping data through your car’s diagnostics, which is the most used method, or you can intervene directly on your calculator.
  • The third step is to optimize your mapping based on the original program.
  • Now we need to load your modified map. Here, a test is necessary to ensure that the desired result is present. If necessary, additional adjustments may be made.
  • The last step is the after-sales service. The majority of engine reprogramming specialists provide a free after-sales service. Know that you can always return to the original programming at any time and this intervention is usually free.

Read more:

History of Cars