car tuning

7 Feb 2008

What is car tuning?

We often talk about car tuning without really defining what we mean. A few years ago it was little used apart to describe what a garage would do to ensure peak engine efficiency. Usually the car is put on a diagnosis computer which reads engine codes and helps the mechanic set the optimum timing for the engine.

Today car tuning involves much more than just setting the car up to its peak operating efficiency. Tuning will have the aim of maximising the power delivery of the engine far and above what the original manufacturer designed it to be.

This is acheived through the addition of aftermarket parts. Induction kits, performance exhausts, uprated suspension and even modifications like adding on a turbo or supercharger or doing an engine swap can be considered tuning in the purest sense.

Have a look at the tuning articles in the car tuning section of this site to get a deeper understanding of what car tuning involves. The best candidates for power gains are usually turbo charged vehicles which through a new computer timing map will offer power gains to the order of 30% or even more in some cases.

The general rule of thumb remains that the more you start with the bigger your return on ivestment will be. So tuning a small engined car will cost as much as the same modifications to a larger engined car but the power gain will hardly be noticed.

You will also need to keep in mind that performance tuning has hidden costs and shows up weaknesses elsewhere in a car. At the least you will be decreasing your servicing schedule intervals and at the worst you may break down more often.

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