Software tuning for cars is typically reserved for performance enhancement. However, there’s another category of improvements we want to talk about today, and it is called Eco Tuning.
Eco Tuning – What Is It and Should You Want It?
The idea behind Eco Tuning is the same as the one that powers performance tuning. Get the most productivity out of an engine that uses pump fuel and standard parts.
Unlike the performance part of software tuning, the Eco tuners focus on enhancing torque and reducing fuel consumption, so you can save money on gas and have a more torquey engine.
As you already know from a previous article, bringing a small enhancement in torque will get you a mild improvement in the horsepower department. How is Eco Tuning achieved?
Just like in “classic” tuning, Eco Tuning is usually done through the OBD II port of a vehicle. The engineer that works on the car will “read” the vehicle’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) and analyze its parameters.
Using his experience, the engineer will then modify certain values and parameters to improve the way the engine operates. From idle and throttle response, to injection duration, many parameters can be altered.
If all goes well, the engineer will then be able to provide the user with a car that operates more efficiently. It is worth noting that some chip tuning operations for standard cars also bring small enhancements in fuel economy if the tuned vehicles do not get driven hard.What are the potential benefits of Eco Tuning?
As the name says, Eco Tuning brings the user a more efficient way to drive his or her car. In theory, the improvement in fuel economy will come at no cost to the driver concerning horsepower and dynamic abilities of the vehicle. On the contrary, most Eco tuners boast about slight horsepower improvements.
Instead of hypermiling, the Eco tuning would bring users fuel economy without significant changes in driving style. The latter might not need any changes, as the increased torque of the Eco tuning procedure would lower the user’s need to raise the revs on an engine, since the ECU tuning would bring enhanced throttle response.
On average, Eco tuners advertise a fuel economy gain of 10 to 20%. This depends on the engine installed on the vehicle and how far it has been tuned by the factory. No matter what you choose, remember that your mileage may vary on driving style. Even with the best Eco tuning available, if you press on the gas pedal hard every time, you are not going to get an improvement in fuel economy.What are the risks of Eco Tuning?
First of all, any unauthorized modification to your vehicle will void the warranty of a new car. Secondly, if the customer does not go to a certified tuner with years of experience and extensive referrals, there’s a risk that the technician might not program the best injection and ignition map for their vehicle.
If the technician screws up in any way, the car could then need a new ECU, or other expensive components. What we are trying to say is to refrain from going to any person who has an online ad for chip tuning services. They may not immediately damage your vehicle, but they may input certain settings without thorough knowledge and eventually cause a malfunction of your power plant. How do I choose someone to Eco tune my car?
First of all, look for references. A Facebook page and a cheap-looking website are not credentials strong enough to make you trust somebody to work on the electronics of your car. As we’ve said before with car coding, this is not rocket science, but software tuning goes further than just changing some values in code.
It is best to choose a more expensive and renowned company to the detriment of a beginner in the world of automotive tuning. After all, you are risking your hard-earned money (tied-up in a car) on somebody who practices price dumping to get more experience and customers. That is not a good idea if you want to play it safe.
The second tip we provide on this question is to avoid any cheap, plug-n-play solution. Especially those universal fuel economy and power improvement “chips” found on eBay, AliExpress, or many other similar websites.
Don’t use any of those, as they might damage your vehicle’s electronics. In the best case scenario, they do nothing except waste you the money you spent on them. However, in most cases, these systems affect emission control devices, fuel injection, or other elements of your engine.
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