Two of the most popular methods for improving the performance of your car are tuning boxes and remapping, but what do these upgrades involve, and which is the best way to upgrade your motor? Both methods are designed to improve your car’s engine performance, and they can be used on petrol and diesel cars alike, so what sets them apart, and which should you pick?
But before we launch into any in-depth comparisons, it’s important to know how these different types of modifications work, so you can understand what they’ll do to your car before you commit.
How does remapping work?
Also known as “chipping”, remapping involves reprogramming the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) of your car to increase engine performance through increased pressure and various other tweaks. This technique takes advantage of the fact that most manufacturers make their cars deliberately inefficient (to comply with car regulations, etc.), allowing for dramatic performance increases with a few simple software tweaks.
Because these modifications are entirely software-based, the risks of mechanical issues or complications are very low, provided you get professional services from the best remapping company.
Improved throttle response.
Increased Brake Horsepower.
Highly cost-effective: Remaps cost mere hundreds of pounds and can increase BHP by 20%
How does a tuning box work?
In simple terms, a tuning box acts like a filter or signal manipulator that hooks up to sensors on your engine and alters the readings so that your ECU sends out more fuel to the engine, for example. This small computer effectively ‘downplays’ the performance readouts sent to your Electronic Control Unit to force your car to pump more fuel or air into your engine for improved power.
Much like remapping, tuning boxes achieve improved engine power by tampering with your ECU and making your car perform outside of its normal, artificially imposed limits.
Improves fuel economy massively.
Improves torque and controllability of the car.
Easy to install and work with.
Can you use a tuning box with a remap?
While it is technically possible to remap your ECU and fit a tuning box, this is not advised: Because remapping your ECU makes it run as efficiently as possible, adding a tuning box that forces it to overcompensate may overclock your engine.
Furthermore, a tuning box may make it overly difficult to remap your ECU, since the box makes it impossible to get accurate readings from your engine. So unless you want to put undue strain on your engine, we advise against combining a tuning box with remapping.
What’s better – remap or tuning box?
Because the quality and purpose of remaps and tuning boxes vary drastically, making a blanket statement on which is better would be unfair since it depends on your needs, budget, and car. If you buy from a reputable source, then remaps and tuning boxes can both give powerful results, so don’t judge a whole category of mods because of a bad experience or hearsay.
With that in mind, tuning boxes offer several unique benefits over remaps, such as the ease of installation and removal, allowing you to fit one too, say, a leased vehicle temporarily. In contrastingly, an ECU remap may only take 30 minutes or so to carry out, but the effects are permanent and can only be removed by specialists who know how to use specialised remapping software.
We hope that this article has helped to dispel myths like remaps weakening engines or tuning boxes being a menace to society because these two minor tweaks can give you drastic performance improvements for a fraction of the cost of mechanical mods! Remember to get expert advice before modifying your car and bear in mind that these upgrades may affect your MOT, so please mod responsibly and always buy from the best remapping company you can afford for the best results.