Is Tuning Your Car a Good Way to Burn Rubber or Burn Your Engine Out?
Do you wish your new car had more of a kick to it? Or maybe you have an old car and miss the zippiness it had many years ago? You’ve heard about getting your car tuned, like giving your car steroids, and it sounds tempting! More horsepower, faster acceleration, and higher speeds. But is there a cost to this? Cranbrook Cars, which does car diagnostics in Cranbook, has filled us in on the details.
What Is Car Tuning?
Car tuning is when you modify your car beyond the factory settings to boost the performance. This includes overriding the software to let the engine reach its full potential. Modern vehicles are run more and more with computers, and the computer software regulates how a car’s hardware will operate. In many cases, the factory settings are conservative, and many cars are capable of performing better. By changing the settings, your car will be able to use more fuel, boost pressure, and all in all use more power. By “hacking” into your car, you can take it to the next level.
This Sounds Awesome, Sign Me Up!
Yes, it does sound great, but keep in mind car manufacturers make those settings for a reason. Cars are tested with these settings in mind, and everything from the brakes to the engine will be most reliable with the factory settings. Giving your car a performance boost is certain to lower the car’s lifespan, and there may be side effects, like unexpected smoke, as seen on Road/Show on CNET, and that was done by some of the best people in the business. A poorly done job can not only worsen your car’s performance, but it can even cause the engine to fail completely.
As car expert Jim Motavalli wrote, “reprogrammed chips sometimes supply too much fuel and allow turbo pressure to exceed recommended limits,” causing engines to burn out. Sometimes it might look like an engine is running better, but it’s really become dirtier, and could fail emissions tests. This is a big price to pay for wanting a better performance, so exercise caution and ask yourself if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Also keep in mind that tuning your vehicle can void your warranty and lower your car’s resale value. These are all important things to consider.
Hmm, So Maybe I Shouldn’t Do It…
It is up to you how important a better performance is for your car, and if it is worth the risk. Many people decide it is and enjoy the perks of tuning without having any issues. Ultimately, if you decide to go ahead with getting your car tuned, make sure you get it done by a reputable service company. Check reviews and make sure they are reliable, and don’t be tempted by someone just because they offer you a better deal and bigger gains. Try to pick places that offer warranties and insurance, and be skeptical of those that don’t, and remember that the services offering smaller improvements are likely more reliable.
You might be tempted to watch a YouTube video on how to tune your car yourself. After all, they make it look so easy. Do not try this at home. Just don’t.
What About Eco Tuning? Is It True I Can Tune My Car to Be More Efficient?
Eco tuning goes in the other direction of most car tuning. Instead of making your car run more powerfully at the expense of fuel efficiency, it makes it run more efficiently at the expense of horsepower. It seems like a virtuous act to change some settings to get up to 10 to 20% better mileage, not to mention a good way to save money. However, like all tuning, there are potential risks, and besides, if fuel efficiency is your main goal, there are easier ways to accomplish it.
Are There Any Other Options?
According to Practical Motoring, a completely safe way to improve your car’s performance is to reduce the car’s weight. This way, instead of needing more horsepower to move the same car, you would have the same horsepower moving a lighter car, which would have a similar result. Of course, the easiest way to do this is just to clean out the back of your car! I know I’ve kept boxes with dozens of pounds worth of junk in the back that I’ve been meaning to move to my garage.
If you want to go more in depth, you can swap out body panels for lighter options, and for an older car you can replace the heavy original parts with much lighter new ones. With a few smart swaps, you can shed a few hundred pounds and start to make an impact. However you go about it, shedding weight is a great way to give your car some extra juice with better mileage and acceleration but without the risks that tuning and other modifications may have.
To Be Honest, I Really Want That Extra Horsepower
If what you really want is some more raw power from your vehicle and you think it is worth the risk, then by all means take your car in for tuning. It may not be the safest choice, but it isn’t necessarily the wrong choice. Your car is yours to decide what to do with, and you should get what you want out of it! Just make sure you exercise caution and choose wisely when picking a service professional. And don’t try it at home!