Modern cars are fitted with computerized engines which run on multiple chips. In general, chips are basically programmed extensions attached to a vehicle’s computer system to inform how the engine responds under many different circumstances. In short, the chips transfer information to the computer and control the vehicle’s actions. Performance chips are one of the many aftermarket mods available today. It’s specifically designed to solve the car owner’s need-for-speed issues.
In this posting, I will discuss what performance chips do, how they work and whether or not they are worth it. Sit tight! I have my performance chip on.
How Do Performance Chips Work?
A performance chip, also called a Super Chip, is a chip that allows a car’s engine to produce more horsepower and torque when it is installed into the vehicle.
In a bid to increase gas mileage and ensure compliance to CO2 emissions standards, car manufacturers insert chips into cars to control fuel-to-air ratio, timing, turbo boost and whatnots. Although these chips are designed for maintaining drivability and efficiency, they limit the car’s speed and horsepower—an unfortunate and unintended side effect.
What performance chips do is to override the manufacturer’s settings and give your car more engine power and torque. They achieve this function by altering specific parameters in the engine operation. It increases the vehicle’s speed and power by making intelligent variations to the parameters such as the amount of fuel mixture supplied to your engine, ignition timing, fuel cut, and so on which ultimately increases the vehicle’s horsepower.
Performance chips can help your car become more responsive. However, depending on the quality and type of performance chip you buy, results might differ. The varieties of super chips available are continually on the rise. Some chips are programmed to increase horsepower, some increase fuel mileage, and some increase throttle response.
How Much Horsepower Will A Chip Add?
Performance chip manufacturers claim their product could increase a gasoline engine by up to 35 horsepower and could offer even more horsepower for diesel engine vehicles. These seem like an attainable estimate. Still, horsepower increase to a car is a function of the engine’s real capacity, as per the manufacturer’s design.
The increased torque and power come at a price. The sacrifice is usually a loss of power under certain conditions, hurting drivability most times. In other words, you could end up sacrificing the overall performance of the vehicle for a marginal increase in power output.
Can Performance Chips Ruin Your Engine?
Is there any equipment that has got all pros and no cons? None I can think off. Performance chips are no different.
A car performance chip will not necessarily ruin your engine. Nevertheless, you’ll almost certainly experience some drawbacks. Regardless of the alluring prospects of its usefulness, the car enthusiast community has a faction of people who raise concerns about the potential damage the car might suffer due to the installation of a performance chip.
The challenge begins with installation. Sometimes the chip might not be installed correctly. The consequence? Your car becomes more difficult to handle. More so, performance chips cause your engine to wear faster, which means a reduced lifespan. I’ll throw more light on this.
One of the most critical functions of the Electrical Control Module (ECM), aka ECU, of a vehicle is to regulate the vehicle’s emissions. Unfortunately, a performance chip disables this system because it needs to emit all fuel waste generated in the bid to increase speed. This change can result in the engine failing an emission test. So your fuel economy drops, and the use of lubricating oil and excessive use of coolants is almost inevitable. The engine wears out faster as a result of doing extra work.
Are Performance Chips Legal?
In a case where your performance chip messes with your vehicle’s ECU emission control, you might be on the verge of going against the law. This is because your car could fail an emission test, as a result of the various variations made to the engine’s operation.
Facts to Consider Before Installing a Performance Chip
Below are a few thoughts to consider if you are jostling with the idea of tuning up your car with a performance chip.
- Performance chips may give you power but will also increase your engine’s risk of a power failure.
- Advertised gains by manufacturers often do not match real-life performance.
- Installing a performance chip would void an existing warranty on your vehicle.
- Installing a performance chip to increase power invariably means spending more on fuel.
While the chip is reasonably affordable, several associated costs come with cruising in a car with a performance chip. As a car owner, it would be best if you researched in-depth into these associated losses and gains before installing a performance chip.