ECU is to cars as CPU is to computers. ECU or electronic control unit is a small chip that stores and controls vehicle data called maps.
It tells the different parts of your car how to operate. For example, when you throttle, the ECU regulates how much fuel should be injected to be mixed with air. It also controls the car sensors and error codes that are used for troubleshooting. But do you know that you can remap the ECU just as you can overclock a CPU? ECU can be remapped to increase the raw performance of your engine that manufacturers deliberately leave untapped for the sake of reliability. Today we will discuss different types of ECU remaps.
Chipping is a very old type of remapping. Chipping requires soldering out the existing ECU chip and soldering a new chip in place of it. This requires programming an aftermarket ECU chip with custom software that changes the way your car works. This essentially burns in a new brain onto your car’s system permanently and your original ECU software is replaced. Older models were easy to modify with this one remap fits all technique but this is becoming difficult in newer model cars that have protection built into them. Chipping is also risky as it can cause the ECU to permanently stop working as modifications are done on a hardware level.
Tuning is much more like a pseudo remapping technique. It doesn’t remap your car’s ECU system rather it intercepts the commands from your ECU and changes them accordingly. There are also some tuning boxes that can force your ECU to generate false data. This technique fools the ECU system into thinking that it is doing what it is supposed to but through the intervention of a tuning box, the default values are changed. It helps in making the engine do something different than what it was supposed to. The ECU receives altered instructions from the box and transfers them to the engine. Some tuning boxes act as interceptors and take in the commands from the ECU and change them. This works on the similar principle of packet tracing in network hacking. Tuning boxes deliver inconsistent results because there is a constant struggle between the ECU chip and the tuning box to take over the system.
Software remapping is the latest trend in ECU remapping. It doesn’t require an additional device in between the car audio system and ECU. It also does not require a separate chip. Instead, the existing chip can be programmed by using GUI software. This is achieved by using your car’s OBD port. Ford and Audi ECU remap are the easiest to do. This type of remapping has many advantages. It improves your car’s emission system and performance and delivers consistent results. Your original maps are stored safely on the computer and you can revert to them anytime you like.
ECU software remapping is the only true remapping solution to have consistent performance improvement. Although tuning box and chipping can achieve some gains, they are not safe. That is because the ECU is too sensitive to handle the invasive methods of the tuning box. If you want to increase your performance we recommend pro performance ECU remaps.