OBD Tuning – Why Do It?

OBD Tuning - Why Do It?

OBD tuning can help to increase the efficiency and power of your car. It’s sometimes referred to as chip tuning, but the terms are interchangeable.

What, exactly, is OBD tuning? Otherwise known as chip tuning or ECU remapping, OBD tuning makes use of software to change some settings of your car so that it can perform better

What are the pros and cons of doing this? Let’s explore more about OBD tuning, what it is, and how it can benefit your car.


First Of All: What Is The Car’s ECU?

First Of All: What Is The Car’s ECU?

The ECU, or Engine Control Unit, of the car is the location where remapping or tuning takes place. It’s basically a chip that has software installed with default settings.

A car will have a range of different ECUs on board that monitor and regulate various components and functions, such as the door locking system, airbags, flow of fuel, speed, and more. 

A while back, the only way to tune your car was to take it to a professional. With the arrival of modern cars on the roads, car manufacturers have installed ECUs into them.

These units work by gathering information from the vehicle’s sensors and then regulating how the engine works based on that information. 

Modern cars are given ECU software that is standardized so that it can work in any area in the world, with a variety of fuel, road, and climate conditions present.

But these default settings might not give your car the performance you’re hoping to gain from it. That’s where OBD tuning comes in! 

You might, for instance, want to tweak the air-fuel ratio or gear ratios of your car so that you can increase its power. OBD tuning can help you to do this.

Similarly, if you have replaced some car parts for ones that are going to give your car a boost, then you’ll have to have the ECU of the car tuned to accommodate those changes.

How Does OBD Tuning Work?

How Does OBD Tuning Work?

If you want to tune your car, you will need to be able to access the car’s ECU. You require two important things to be able to do this: automotive tuner software and an OBD2 adapter.

The adapter basically enables the software to communicate with your car’s ECU, as all diagnostic data travels through the OBD2 port in your car.

What Are The Benefits Of Doing OBD Tuning On Your Car?

Power, power, power! But OBD tuning can give your car much more than that. It can essentially make your car more efficient in a variety of ways, so let’s explore them. 

Improved Gas Mileage


By making enhancements to your car’s engine, you will see that your gas goes further and your engine behaves much smoother.

You’ll be able to change the ignition timing and how much fuel is injected to make the engine work better.

It’s also good to bear in mind that when your engine is in a higher gear it results in lower fuel consumption.

This means that tuning your engine will allow your car to reach those higher gears quicker and smoother, essentially decreasing how much time your car remains in lower, gas-guzzling gears. 

Smoother Transmission

Short-shift changes are popular as they decrease the time between gear shifts and help to boost your car’s acceleration.

This has a ripple effect on other components of your car, such as by improving its torque and fuel efficiency.

Better Intake And Exhaust Systems


When you improve the cold air intake system or upgrade your car to a high-performance exhaust, this will increase its horsepower.

Of course, you will have to install new parts, such as the exhaust, and make use of chip tuning to get the benefits you want. 

Increased Speed

You might wonder how OBD tuning your car will affect its speed. Basically, tuning improves the engine’s torque and how it responds when you drive at low or moderate speeds.

The result? Your car will feel boosted so that it can increase its speed in a much smoother and more efficient way. 

Excellent Sound System

Yes, you can tweak your sound system and make it more effective with OBD tuning!

Adding extra elements to the sound system, such as in the form of amplifiers or new speakers, can help to make it of a better quality.

Is OBD Tuning User-Friendly?

Is OBD Tuning User-Friendly?

You don’t have to take your car to a professional to have it tuned. You can do it yourself, thanks to various tuning kits that are available for purchase. 

Some tuning software is especially user-friendly.

Examples include Viezu K-Suite, which will give you the information you need about your car’s ECU and provide you with information about the accessories you need to purchase to tune it as well as what tuning suggestions you should know about, so it’s perfect for beginners and advanced users alike.

When it comes to installing the software you need to tune your car, some products let you customize the engine remapping but write it for you, such as Celtic Tuning.

This means that it won’t be as functional, but it will make it easier for you to tune your car and you’ll get to work with car tuning experts during the process. 

Can OBD Tuning Diagnose Car Faults?

Can OBD Tuning Diagnose Car Faults?

Since you’re making use of your car’s OBD port, can you use OBD tuning to diagnose problems in your car?

Yes! There are some chip tuning software products that have the extra benefit of allowing you to read trouble codes from the car’s transmission and engine so that you can diagnose if something’s wrong with it.

You can even find tuning software that is compatible with both OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles, such as Toad Pro, which is a bonus.

What Are The Potential Risks Of OBD Tuning?

What Are The Potential Risks Of OBD Tuning?

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t mess around with trying to tune some important aspects of your car, such as its top speed.

If this is limited, that’s for a good reason to keep you safe. Maybe your car can’t handle certain speeds because it’s not built to, after all.

Similarly, the brakes, suspension, and tires that your car came with when you bought it have been selected to match the car’s power output.

If you go ahead and change them to achieve increased power, you could end up causing yourself more problems or putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

It’s also important to remember that you need to know what you’re doing before you undertake the process of tuning your car.

If you don’t have a clue about it, you could cause serious and irreversible damage to your car!

There’s another thing to consider: your car’s warranty. In many cases, tuning your car can cause it to no longer be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

This is especially why you need to have your car tuned by a professional or, if you want to do it yourself, you need to make sure that you’re skilled in car tuning before you go ahead.

How To Stay Safe When Tuning Your Car

How To Stay Safe When Tuning Your Car

Before you use chip tuning software from a company, make sure that the company has a good track record.

Even if their products are a bit expensive, it’s worth it because you want to be sure that you’re getting something that won’t damage your car’s engine.

To ensure you stay safe, make sure the company also offers a warranty. 

Related Questions 

How can you tell if your car’s OBD is working properly?


When you turn on your car’s ignition, the “check engine” light should flash momentarily. This tells you that the OBD system is ready to scan your vehicle for any faults or malfunctions.

But, the light should then go off and stay off while you drive. 

What is detuning? 

This is when you restore your car to its factory settings, meaning that you will remove the changes that you’ve made during the tuning process. 


Being able to conduct OBD tuning on your car can have many benefits for your car’s performance. As we’ve seen in this article, OBD tuning is worth doing and we’ve also looked at how you can do it yourself.

By making use of your car’s OBD2 port, you will be able to tune your car to increase its performance and fuel efficiency, as well as many other things.

However, it’s worth noting that there are potential risks and drawbacks involved with tuning your car, so we’ve also featured those to help you know what to expect before you go ahead so you can keep your car safe. 


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