An ECU remap is a method of improving a car’s electronic engine management system by updating manufacturer-installed software. The ECU (electronic control unit) is updated with a different set of commands that help the engine to generate more power and run more efficiently.
Automobile manufacturers mass produce engines for use in countries around the world and this means that they must be designed to handle a variety of different operating conditions, including different grades of fuel and various climates, but there are other pressures, including the need for reduce exhaust emissions damage. Manufacturers will often program the engine control unit so that the engine is capable of passing strict emissions tests with a low emissions value, which means that the car will fit into a lower road tax and duty bracket. of a company car, but this is not necessarily the best configuration. to get that engine running at its best in the real world.
This gives an engine tuner the opportunity to improve engine efficiency by reprogramming the electronic control unit to take full advantage of the market in which it is being used. By programming the engine to run on the specific grade of fuel and air temperatures of the local car market, you can get better throttle response, generate even more power and torque, and even use less fuel.
Almost any car that has an electronic engine management system can be assigned an ECU remap, and that applies to both gasoline and diesel engines. Results will vary, but an ECU remap will always produce the best results when applied to turbocharged or supercharged engines. This is because increasing the boost pressure of the turbocharger or supercharger allows for much greater power gains, when combined with correct ignition timing and fuel charge settings.
However, it is sometimes possible to achieve significant power gains in naturally aspirated engines. Some manufacturers offer the same engine in different models with different power levels, and this is done by mismatching the engine with a different ECU map. This makes it possible to remap the ECU to release the same power level as the highest tuned version. An example of this is the 2.0-liter gasoline engine found in the Volkswagen Golf, which is a mismatched version of the same engine found in the Golf GTI.
Installing an ECU remap is a relatively straightforward task. Most new cars have a diagnostic port somewhere in the engine compartment or dash that allows mechanics to download error codes from the ECU when the car is in service, and this same port can be used to charge the new one. remapping the ECU using a laptop or special. tuning devices. Some older cars will require the original chip in the ECU to be replaced, which requires more technical expertise and can make the upgrade more expensive.
The actual power gain of an ECU remap varies between models. Some engines can earn as little as 5%, while others can earn as much as 40%, but typical increases in engine power would be around 15-20%. The extra torque means that fuel economy can improve, but this varies even more, mainly depending on your driving style and how much of that new power you want to use.
An ECU remap is one of the most cost-effective ways to get more power out of your car, and on some conventional models it can cost only a few hundred dollars.