Why professional chip tuning cannot be cheap?

Widely understood the auto-tuning industry, including powerbox systems and chip tuning installers (sometimes incorrectly spelt “chip tunning”), have become a full-fledged branch of the automotive industry. Since modern engines are controlled by a computer (engine control unit, ECU) they can be run via computerised diagnostics and the optimal performance can be obtained. This means that customized engine tuning, tailored to the needs of a driver (including eco-tuning for fuel economy) is no longer an extravagant whim, available solely via few high-end specialist car parlours but also via garages and smaller companies.

Reviews on the chip tuning posted on various tuning forums are mixed; some believe that this is an excellent way to improve the car’s performance and overall driving pleasure. Others claim that what the factory has created is intact, and tuning destroys the engine. Occasionally, a tuning forum can be a brilliant illustration that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Commenting on someone else’s problems and describing other people’s failures is usually more convenient than admitting that one’s own ill or hasty decisions that can frequently lead to quite spectacular “bummers” that destroy the engine and make you lose hours only because you tried to save a few bucks on tuning performed on the parking lot of a local supermarket. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. Low-cost chip tuning can be good, but a good and professional chip tuning cannot be cheap.

The price of chip tuning includes more than the cost of the work on downloading the software. It is just the final part of the job. For a software to be written and prepared properly, it is necessary to work on the dyno that at times is very time-consuming. Personalized tuning requires using proper sensors and measuring appliances (AFR, the composition of the mixed measurement; EGT, measuring the exhaust gas temperature in the exhaust manifold, executed with a sensor or pyrometrically; the smoke sensor, etc.). Further, suitable gearing of a workshop comes with a certain price, and is subject to regular wear and tear. Naturally you need a chassis dyno itself. Apart from it, you are going to need cooling systems and the controls for the dynamometer working conditions so that the results are replicable.

Regardless of these costs, to perform a professional, car-customized chip tuning, a tuner needs programming tools. Software, an EVC program, a chip editor. Next, you need an OBD flasher or a programmer that via a diagnostic socket uploads new software to the ECU. Again, you can use cheap Chinese clones, which sometimes can block the engine driver and cause permanent car damage, and the ECU needs to be repaired or a replaced at a significant cost. A professional tuner uses original tools, which are continually upgraded and adapted to the latest drivers.

Even if we take into account the installation of powerboxes (sometimes called “chip box tuning”), it is hard to assume that the installation of such a powerbox somewhere at a gas station and using basic settings is an optimal solution.

Tuning with eBid may be impressive because it is cheap, but otherwise, has nothing to offer beyond a large dose of uncertainty and lack of professionalism.

The chip tuning or powerbox system prices start at over 1000 AUD because it is not only the cost of the software. It is also the cost of acquiring the know-how, professional equipment and software as well as the time spent on individual chip tuning on the dyno.