What exactly is vehicle remapping? Why are so many people talking about it and what are the advantages and disadvantages of remapping a car?
Every car engine on modern vehicles is governed by a computer which controls timing, fuelling and even air flow into the engine, particularly on turbo models.
This control is referred to as a map as it contains all of the settings for these factors at each point in the rev range and under varying conditions of load.
It is fair to say that no two cars leave the factory in identical states. Manufacturing variations and even geographical areas where a car is used mean there is much fluctuation in engine power and efficiency.
For this reason manufacturers go with a generic compromise map which works well on all the factory variations and in all countries where emissions standards and fuel quality is also very variable.
When you go to a remapping specialist you get a car map set up to perfectly match your car, it takes into account your driver style and preferences. They have a rolling road to so the car is setup an live readings can be taken to iron out any fluctuations or variations in the power output.
Some remapping companies offer generic pre set up maps, which are infinitely better than the factory set ups but still leave much room for improvement. For more information on ECU remaps see the guide at www.torquecars.com/tuning/remapping-ecu.php
If a car was modified you pretty much need a remap if you want to fully realise an engines potential. Common modifications include changing the camshaft profile, adding a free flowing exhaust and intake and altering the size and output of the turbocharger.
Most cars have an inbuilt trim which is continually adjusted to cope with the variation in fuel quality, driving conditions and style and this can cope to a small degree with modest modifications but often a car when pushed further up the power range will go into limp mode due to the engine safety parameters getting abnormally high readings and outputs. A remap will upgrade the cars expectations and ensure that all of the potential power is on offer.
After a remap it makes sense to service the car more frequently as it will be working harder but there should be no long term adverse effects unless you start driving everywhere like a racing driver.