Sometimes it’s not a matter of which is better, but what is BEST for a certain application. There may be no better example of this than with the tuning encased within the ECUs found deep within our autos. With today’s technology-savvy enthusiast, one of the first things that many folks will do when searching for that last ounce of extra power is to “do a tune” or take their car to a tuner. There are benefits on both sides of the fence that separates the OEM and aftermarket tunes and understanding them is key to getting the best from both worlds.
On the OEM side, keeping everything stock eliminates any question about warranty application and sitting in the dealer’s service department doesn’t feel akin to getting called to the principal’s office. On the other hand, there are a lot of benefits available to those who are able to speak the language and codes that our cars use to communicate.
This short video from EFI University helps to sort out the differences between the two realms of ECU options and explains why each one exists. For those wondering why changing a few tables deep within the computer would have such a positive effect on how much power an engine can produce, this video helps explain the concerns that your car’s creators had while the car resides on the dealer’s showroom floor.
Likewise, the car’s maker still has concerns after the sale (usually in the form of 3-yr/36,000-mile variants) as the car is still under warranty. When you think about it, the typical tables that are usually modified when tuning the vehicle can have a significant influence on the longevity of our car’s drivetrain. Spark and fuel tables are the heartbeat of our engines. Push too hard, and you may end up with the mechanical equivalent of a heart attack.
On the other side of the equation, there are benefits in both power and possibly fuel economy, through tweaking the tables to better suit any additional aftermarket components or driving style. As with anything though, too much is still too much; and restraint is often the most important tool in the tool-box. When you understand the hoops that OEM manufacturers have to jump through to even bring a car to market, it helps understand why they’ve left some goodies still on the table. We also understand why the end-user would want to tap into those forbidden fruit that hang on the various areas of the tuning tables.
In less than two minutes, this video helps explain why things are the way they are and we felt it was worthy of a quick note. Sure, it’s not some secret table of torque management percentages that’ll open up a world of fried tires and instant 10-second quarter miles. Instead, it helps to understand the world as it really exists, and in knowing that, you’ve got a much better platform to launch from in your pursuit of more performance.