How Auto Manufacturers Are Making Their Cars More Tunable

There was once a time where tuning a car meant you’d need intimate mechanical knowledge of a vehicle. One would have to make all kinds of manual adjustments to a car’s fuel system. Back in the day, vehicles had carburettors and no modern fuel injection systems. Since the mid-1990s, cars get controlled by an electronic brain.

Escort Cosworth engine

That has meant tuners could swap their spanners for laptop computers! Have you ever noticed that the cars of today are even easier to tune? It turns out there are many reasons for this interesting phenomena.


Today’s vehicles have an electronic engine manage system. The ECU (electronic control unit) is a vehicle’s “computer” system. Most cars have several ECUs. For example, one controls the airbags and safety systems, another for automatic gearboxes, etc.

The main ECU’s job is to calculate, adjust and improve engine running conditions. It does that thousands of times per minute so that we can enjoy a smooth driving experience. One interesting fact about ECUs is they have rewritable memory. That’s because they read data from something called a “map.”

Car manufacturers tune new vehicles at the factory and create a bespoke map before the models go on sale. Aftermarket tuners can create customized versions of those maps. The result is they unlock extra power and fuel economy. Especially on turbocharged diesel engines.

You can learn more about ECU remapping from sites like It’s quite an involved process. But, it’s also one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing a car’s power!

Also, have you ever spotted how one model might have several variations of the same engine? The physical motors under the hood are the same, but they get limited in various ways. Why? It all comes down to fuel economy and CO2  emissions.

To comply with carbon emission regulations, car makers have to offer eco-friendly models. For them, an easy method is to limit a car’s power to decrease CO2 output. One of the options ECU tuners have is to use a factory map for a higher-performance model. It takes just minutes to complete the update.

Shared engine platforms

It’s no secret that some car brands own other marques in various markets. For example, Volkswagen own SEAT, Skoda, Audi and even Lamborghini.

Some cars in those groups will no doubt share the same engines. For instance, you might find a Lamborghini engine used in the Audi R8 supercar. That means tuners have more choice when it comes to fitting performance engine parts. They can use the resources of parts for two or more marques!

Shared parts

It comes as no surprise that shared engine platforms mean one can enjoy using shared parts. Using our earlier example, Lamborghini owners could save money by buying parts from Audi. You might not know it, but all car parts get made by outsourced companies. Not by the marques themselves.

I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s blog post. As you can see, today’s cars are much easier to tune and maintain than ever before.

Comments are closed

Photo Gallery

Log in | © Copyright 2012 - TechReleased Inc. All Rights Reserved