Read This Article before Installing That Engine Chip

Engine tuning is one of the least understood processes in amateur car performance. It’s easy to be suckered into believing that your engine can be improved by installing simple car parts, which will drastically change how the engine performs. In reality, even the most sophisticated changes to your handling and power outputs cannot be made without modifying other car systems.

Truth be told, many companies advertise “engine chips” that are sold to give your car more horsepower. However, most of these companies sell car parts equivalent to junk. On the flip side, engine control unit (ECU) tuning is a legitimate method to get more horsepower out of your car, but it must be done correctly. If you are shopping for engine chips, here are four things you should know before purchasing one:

Does It Follow Your Car’s Warranty?

If your car is still under factory warranty or some other kind of extended warranty, you should be wary of installing an engine chip that requires you to open the ECU case. If you open the ECU case, you will void the warranty immediately. Also, remember that your car’s engine computer was designed to perform specific functions, so it would be unwise to alter it frequently or drastically. 

If certain car parts or upgrades go against factory-setting guidelines, it may not be a wise investment. Consult with an automotive specialist before you make a significant alteration to your car’s ECU.

Car parts that claim to be able to change the output of your car’s engine by tearing open the computer box are probably not a good investment. An exception to this rule is if it’s one of those car parts that come with an extensive warranty in the event of any direct or indirect malfunction.

Does It Make Your Car Driveable?

While you can make a chip more powerful by increasing the width of the power curve and the area under the curve, not all areas of the curve are equally important. Recalculating the area under the curve with a broader filter allows you to increase torque at wide-open throttle and high RPM while sacrificing low-RPM and low-throttle torque. 

Therefore, you’ll be sacrificing overall performance mega wattage for slightly increased torque and RPM during a specific fraction of the time.

Does it Make Your Car Efficient?

“Engine chip” modifications can reduce the fuel efficiency of a vehicle, particularly those car parts that alter the car’s emissions control systems in any way. These components compromise the fuel efficiency of your vehicle’s engine because adding new systems to a car will always make it more complex, so it will require more energy to run.

Lost energy efficiency can be costly and probably isn’t compensating you with any horsepower advantage.

Does it Make Your Car’s Emissions Better?

One of the more essential functions your car’s computer performs is regulating the emissions systems. If a so-called “engine chip” disables these systems, your vehicle won’t pass an emissions test, and the “check engine” light will come on. 

The light is like a fire alarm for your car. Always stop by a mechanic or auto parts store and have the problem diagnosed when it comes on. Most likely, it will be something simple like a loose gas cap.

You don’t want this to happen, so make sure that any car parts you install don’t alter the computer’s regulation of the emissions controls.


If you consider modifying your car, do your homework before you do any work. Read reviews from reputable sources like Top Gear or Automobile Magazine. Remember that although “engine chips” might seem like a cost-effective means to boost horsepower, it’s probably best to invest your money in a more effective modification like an aftermarket air controller, fuel controller, or a piggyback ECU.

Or, you could contact Limitless Tires and get more info on the right car parts in Calgary! We are a high-volume tire shop focusing on fast and friendly service! Get a quote from us on our website!

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