Most car manufacturers must build vehicles that are competitive for fuel consumption, horsepower, and torque – though they must comply with strict emission standards and a multitude of regulations. These factors are controlled by the vehicle’s computer, which is known as the ECU (Engine Control Unit). The ECU controls all engine parameters such as air/fuel mixture, ignition timing, and idle RPMs. Since car manufacturers are concerned with advertising the best gas mileage and meeting the demands of the average commuter, the factory ECU’s are not set to maximize performance of the vehicle – more power can be obtained when certain parameters are modified.
Software tuning is a way to upgrade the performance of your vehicle by increasing engine power and torque. Although software tuning will often have a negative affect on gas mileage, horsepower gains of 30hp or more are common on most vehicles where software tunes are available. One benefit of software tuning is that the programming is temporary – and the vehicle’s ECU can be reset to factory settings at a later time if desired. Software tuning is usually the best value for performance modifications when it comes to performance upgrades, as it’s a fairly simple and low cost soltution which can produce immediate, noticeable results.