Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve compiled a list of things we’re asked on a regular basis. If you have a question or something you’re not sure about read below. If you can’t find your answer, drop us a message below or on facebook, or call the office – we’d be glad to help!
When people say Re-Mapping they are often referring to Engine Tuning. This is basically changing the Software within the Engine Control Unit (ECU) for more Performance. The term “Re-Mapping” though can actually mean ANY changes to the Software – so being specific will help us assist you correctly.
The first stage is (oddly enough!) is Stage 1. When manufacturers write their software perfomance isn’t top priority, many things are accounted for – from emissions to user error. We define Stage 1 as the maximum achievable power which a standard engine can make without comprimising safety and reliability. To go beyond this the Engine or Components need to be improved. This is vehicle dependant based on your needs or budget.
Torque is a measurable force which acts upon an object causing it to rotate. In Vehicles, this is the Engine turning the wheels and overcoming all forces acting on the vehicle whilst driving on the road. More torque means a better ability to do this. You’ll need less throttle to do the same driving, and less gear changes. Staying in a higher gear at lower RPM can have improvement on fuel consumption.This has a much greater effect in TDI vehicles (which have the ability to generate much more torque lower in the RPM range) than Petrol variants. Petrol vehicles in most cases don’t gain much if any economy, some will lose MPG with the offset of greater performance.
Of course, this is all theoretical – we can’t measure the real world forces individual to each vehicle. There are literally hundreds of variables which effect this in different ways – for example tyre pressure, vehicle combined weight, quality of fuel…etc. The main variable is your right foot however, so of course if you drive “Spiritedly” you won’t see any gains.
Yes – but do you need it? If you have a car with a setup we have never seen before, we will need to develop software for your application. It is priced based on re-selling vs cost of development – so prices can start around £480 and take more than one day.
This is very vehicle dependant, and varies constantly as more protocols become available. Normally our pricing will reflect each method. However, if you arrive and the vehicle can be done at a lesser cost because of an easier method being available, you will only pay the relevant lesser cost. If for some reason it will be more expensive we will communicate this first so there is total clarity. (This difference may effect your position with warranty or other factors.)
There 3 main ways we can communicate with a vehicle:-
- OBD – The most common method, plugging the vehicle in via the OBD port to read and write the software.
- ECU Pins – Sometimes we can communicate with the ECU, but the vehicle doesn’t allow it. In these cases we can probe the connector pins on an ECU to read and write our software. ECU’s of this type will incur additional labour costs included in our pricing.
- ECU BDM – In the event we cannot use either method above, the ECU will be tuneable by opening the ECU in what is know as Background Debug Mode (BDM). This may involve soldering onto the ECU to read specific information, bypassing the OBD and ECU Pin variations above. ECU’s of this type will incur additional labour costs included in our pricing.
This is a moral question – not something we can answer. Should you? Yes. If you’ve not priced your car from some of the specialist tuning companies it’s definitely worth it. In some of our personal vehicles a tuned quote is actually cheaper than a standard car on price comparison sites. Many people decide not to tell their insurance, based on the fact it’s incredibly hard to detect and can returned to factory easily, or could have been done even before they bought it – it’s really your call.
90% of Vehicles can be modified by plugging them in to the OBD Port.This is a plug in the vehicle which allows us to connect a laptop and communicate with the ECU directly. First we read a copy of the “map” onto a laptop. We then email this file into our office, and discuss what we’re doing with the Team. Once we finish we email the file back and write it into the car.
If we can’t do it down the OBD Port, the ECU can be removed to do the same process as above. This can be a little more time consuming, therefore more expensive and you should check with us if this is likely to effect any warranty you have.
Yes. We won’t do anything that isn’t totally safe for your vehicle. It’s not to say we don’t get the odd slight issue, but this is entirely dependant on the vehicle itself. (i.e. two of the same cars will be tuned the same way – if we do ten of these cars and one has an issue, it’s highly unlikely to be software!)
A good example – if the Clutch is worn on the vehicle increasing horsepower may cause it to slip. On all vehicles replacing it with an New Original Clutch will work perfectly – the issue being with the wear and tear not that the Clutch itself can’t cope with the increase.
We can guarantee nothing on the Software side will change, unless it’s reprogrammed by someone else (or a dealer). We can’t give you any warranty on your car, simply because we only see the car for a small amount of time, and you’re responsible for it’s maintenance. Just like the MOT, you can pass one day and a component fail the next day and we can’t accept responsibility for that. If you’re not sure of the health of your car, in most cases owning a car for a few months beforehand, and a few regular services with a good mechanic checking each time should highlight anything obvious. That said, it wouldn’t make sense to 100% check every single component of the engine and if you’re really not sure about it – then don’t do it.
Generally, for Stage 1 we don’t NEED to Dyno each one. When your car was originally sold, the Dealer wouldn’t have Dyno’d it to check it, in the same way we don’t. We set all variants of each vehicle up the same way, this consistency is what creates a reliable product. Of course, if you want to Dyno your car to see the figures that’s why it’s there. Check when booking to find out what this cost is for your car.
We’ve looked at this in great depth and many of the big branded tuning companies follow this process, APR, Revo, Mountune to name a few – and we think it works. Everyone gets a test drive before paying, and we’re happy to Dyno your car if you don’t think it’s perfoming as it should. On top of that, if you’re not happy most cars have a 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee. Just ask us for details.
Absolutely not. Re-mapping is only something you should do if you’re sure. You can only be sure by doing the relevant research, and we’re here to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ever. What we find is people who are unsure but do it anyway plague us afterwards with the wrong kind of questions. Since what we do is largely “witchcraft” to the eye of the beholder, it’s easy to misunderstand the limitations.
For example, the age old favourite “my mechanic says” and “it’s only started doing that since you remapped it.” We don’t want that kind of customer, we want a customer who understands. So when things happen, logic from knowledge is used – not just “quick lift the phone, my electric mirrors don’t work and Auto-tune are responsible!!” When we work with an ECU (Engine Control Unit) it doesn’t care if the car even has electric mirrors, windscreen wipers, seats or even doors…it only controls the engine, nothing more. (…but we still get these calls!)
My best advice, if you’re unsure – don’t do it. That means either it isn’t for you, or you’ll ask questions in the hope to understand more about it then make a wiser decision. We are always glad to help.
Yes, all the time – and as much as we like to be serious, we have a laugh too. Truthfully, there’s no such thing as a silly question so we’re working on a tongue in cheek look at some of these in a section called “Funny as FAQ” – Coming Soon