There are no laws in the UK that prohibit the modification of the performance of your vehicle. Certain aspects of your vehicle must comply with legislation in order to remain legal, such as brakes, lights, number plates and the tinting of windows that may cause visibility issues. ECU remapping and chip tuning however do not come under and of these criteria and hence is totally legal in the UK. You of course need to ensure that you are comfortable with the provider of any modifications, that they will provide you with a reliable and worthwhile service and product and that you don’t cause irreparable damage to your vehicle in making these upgrades. Paddy Power Tuning provide certified remaps that are created under ISO 9000 processes and are fully guaranteed for 30 days, money back. We also guarantee the map for the life of its use for issues caused in the malfunction of the map itself.
There are several ways to “tune” an engine. At Paddy Power Tuning we primarily focus on what is called ECU remapping (although we can also provide “piggy backing” boxes if desired – see our post on “our V-Box)
The process of ECU remapping takes a copy of the original software of your cars on-board computer or “brain” and modifies it to enhance certain parameters. There are various options available including “Performance”, “economy” and mixed. The original manufacturers create a map that suits a broad set of drivers in many countries and if very generic. These take into account the quality of the petrol, climate and humidity etc – we can alter them to benefit from the high quality fuel we have in the UK as well as aiming the map at your driving style. Nothing is physically altered in the car – the software is manipulated to give you the best driving experience. Of course the original software can also be easily returned to the car should you ever need to do so. Here at Paddy Power Tuning we keep the original software securely for the life of your vehicle – you can also request a copy of this software should you so wish.
ECU tuning is the modification of the original ECU software of the vehicle and uploading directly back to the car’s ECU. This is primarily what we do here. However a similar technology is called Chip Tuning – this is generally where an additional piece of hardware is installed to communicate with the ECU to alter signals externally – with a high quality box like the Viezu V-Box very similar results can be achieved as each map is created specifically for your car. There are a lot of cheap boxes available to that we would not advise using – they tend to be available on places such as ebay and promise amazing results – this is rarely the case and they often just “trick” the ECU by falsifying certain sensors reading and thus forcing more fuel into the engine. There is a good discussion herethat has genuine feedback from users of all sorts of devices. You generally get what you pay for so if it sounds too cheap it probably is!
Chip tuning boxes work in a different way to remapping an ECU – essentially overruling the sensors and tricking the ECU into increasing engine performance. Fitted between the engine sensors and the actuator, a tuning box sits down the line from the ECU and alters the data that the ECU receives and thus then sends to the engine.
An ECU remap modifies the cars internal software to take advantage of performance and economy gains without damaging the car’s engine or increasing emissions output which chip tuning boxes often do.
This is the million dollar question and there is no exact answer – however we can consider 2 different general scenarios:
1. Petrol “normally Aspirated” engines – ie. No turbo or supercharger
The gains in these engines tend to be relatively small – in the region of 5-10% power and up to 20% torque, however you will notice a more responsive throttle and a smoother power delivery added to the additional torque throughout the rev range which makes driving easier and motorway overtaking for example less nerve wracking – you will be able to increase speed easier and often without the need to change down gears. Also when towing the increased torque across the entire rev range will make this task much smoother and easier.
2. Petrol and Diesel “turbo/supercharged” engines
These engines are very susceptible to ECU tuning as the turbo element can give relatively huge power and torque gains without other hardware type modifications – often in the region of 20-30% increase respectively depending on the exact model! With other simple modifications such as air filters and exhausts these gains can easily be increased again – and our remaps can take these other additions into account at time of tuning.
Remapping is simply a synonym for ECU tuning – these terms are often interchangeable – but if you are looking around for the best option for you always ensure you are getting what you expect and that it suits your personal requirements – don’t be ashamed to ask – we welcome all questions and are happy to offer free advice.
There are a number or reasons people tend to tune their vehicles and there is no “right” answer to this. Personally I have tuned my own cars after owning them for some time and getting used to the power and wanting a bit more while saving the cost of replacing the vehicle completely. Also many people notice a big difference in drivability and pick up speed when they are full of passengers and/or luggage and a remap can really help with this too.
In diesel vehicles economy is often cited by our customers as the primary driver behind the remap – the additional torque across the rev range enables them to stay in higher gears more of the time so lower revs and thus less fuel is used. Paddy Power offer both an economy and mixed tune for diesel engines – the mixed tune giving a bit more poke when you need it with the extra torque for those economy runs too.
Towing is also a key reason for a remap – as above the extra torque is really helpful when towing and can assist greatly on hills and overtaking.
Remapping a vehicles ECU is untraceable, however we would always advise that you advise your insurer of any modifications that you make to be on the safe side. The best advice we have seen was from https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/engine-remaps-and-insurance-real-life-experiences/ and they advise to just ask your insurer for a quote. There are also specialist insurers that heavily modded car owners would usually go to such as Adrian Flux and Chris Knott – as always shop around for the best deal for you. We have seen people have no effect whatsoever and others in the 5-10% increase range.
This is a question you need to ask yourself – with the large gains given on modern turbo diesel and petrol engines you will certainly notice a great difference in power, torque an driving style – less so with non-turbo/supercharged vehicles. And of course we have our unprecedented 30 day money back guarantee so if you don’t like it we will remove the map and put your car back to its original condition absolutely free of charge – note that to this day this has not happened once!
In a word, yes – if you engine manufacturer is aware that the vehicle has been remapped and there was a failure of an engine or turbo component then the warranty would be void.
Can a dealer check to see if a vehicle has been remapped? Well they can try but they can only see if there is any discrepancy between the loaded and the original software, normally with file versioning/file codes. However it is quite unlikely that this will categorically prove one way or another if the vehicle was altered. We have remapped many cars from a few weeks old onwards. There is also the option that we can remove the remap prior to any warranty work being carried out (for a reasonable fee) which would return the car back to it’s original “in warranty” condition.
If you are particularly concerned about this we would recommend that you go down the V-Box route – whilst this will not provide the all-around experience of the full ECU remap, it is simple to install and remove and does not affect the original software on the car at all.
If you have any further queries or would like to have a general chat about remapping your vehicle then please do call us on 0161 818 2733 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some people are understandably concerned that engine remapping may cause harm to their engine/vehicle. This should not be the case with any reputable tuner such as ourselves or other well established brands. Our maps are developed in an ISO 9000 environment and come complete with our money back warranty of satisfaction as well as the insurance backed map guarantee – this demonstrates our commitment to high quality work and customer care – https://viezu.com/viezu-guarantee (note this is valid only for road going vehicles)
There are some people that offer cheap generic remaps that are simply bough on the internet a piled on to your car – they are not designed for your specific vehicle and can cause irreparable damage to an engine and the electronics – beware and ensure you are getting what you think you are paying for!
We are a certified distributor or Viezu tuning – Viezu are the AlienTech UK distributor and engine tuning company. All of our maps are created and tested by them – if you go to their premises in Warwickshire you will receive the same map that we deliver to you locally at your home or office the same guarantee and the same great service! We have been using their maps for 3 years and as yet had no problems what so ever.
As per the above answers, it is all dependent on your exact model of vehicle but there are very few instances where we cannot offer some improvement and invariably a great improvement! Our charges start from just £199 and all of our services come with our unparalleled 30 day no quibble money back guarantee.
If you can’t find your car in our lookup database then please contact us and we will advise what is available or sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting a few weeks or months on newer vehicles while our software is updated to be able to accommodate the new ECU type – there are very few vehicles we are unable to help with.