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Car Remapping Guide

What Exactly Is Car Remapping?

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Though casual drivers may shy away from car mapping, avid car enthusiasts often choose to do it to get the most out of their vehicles. Let’s take a closer look to define what car remapping is, what it does to your engine, and what it means for the value of your car if you come to resell it.

What is remapping?

If you’re looking to get maximum performance from your car then remapping makes it possible. Remapping, occasionally referred to as ECU tuning, involves adjusting a car's engine control unit (ECU) settings to enhance various performance aspects. By replacing the current settings with new software, vehicle owners can reprogram their cars to better manage fuel injection, airflow, sensors, and more—all within legal constraints.

How does engine remapping work? 

Remapping lets you modify your vehicle's performance by changing how the engine operates but it's the driver's actions that determine the ultimate effects of ECU tuning.

Contrary to popular belief, remapping can impact fuel economy. While it often increases power, it may also lead to higher fuel consumption if drivers accelerate more aggressively to enjoy enhanced performance. But if a driver adapts their driving habits to take advantage of the increased power and torque throughout the rev range and gear shifts, fuel efficiency can improve.

Remapping can also boost speed and power, sometimes adding 30-40 bhp to horsepower and up to 80 nm of torque. The engine may become more responsive, making overtaking easier and reducing the need for gear changes, and this can, in turn, improve fuel economy when used wisely. 

What are the benefits of engine remapping? 

  • Affordable performance enhancement - Remapping is often a cost-effective method for boosting your car's performance.
  • No physical upgrades required - No physical alterations to your vehicle are required, offering all the performance benefits without hardware changes. Conversely, some aftermarket parts may need engine remapping for optimal functionality.
  • Fully reversible - Most remaps can be reverted, allowing you to return to the original software if desired. However, this won't reinstate a voided warranty.

What are the drawbacks of engine remapping? 

  • Potential warranty invalidation - Despite being an easy and non-invasive tuning method, remapping can void most car warranties, as it alters the engine beyond the manufacturer's control.
  • Your insurance premium may increase - Performance modifications, including remaps, can lead to higher insurance costs. Failing to disclose the modification might result in a voided policy and denied claims.
  • Possible impact on reliability - While remapping enhances performance, it can also place additional stress on the engine, potentially affecting the car's reliability and causing components to wear out sooner than anticipated.

How much does it typically cost to remap your car? 

Performance upgrade costs for remapping can vary, as they are typically divided into distinct stages. It’s important to bear in mind that specific costs and outcomes are contingent on the vehicle and the remapping process's quality.

Stage 1

  • These budget-friendly remap services offer a moderate performance boost through minor reprogramming, typically costing a few hundred pounds.

Stage 2

  • This stage may necessitate extra engine modifications, such as a new air filter and exhaust upgrades, with costs nearing or surpassing £1,000.

Stage 3 and higher

  • These advanced remaps involve substantial engine overhauls, including new turbo systems and internal components (e.g., pistons), yielding significant performance improvements but at a price of thousands of pounds.

Why not sell your car after remapping? 

If you're looking to upgrade your car and want to maximise its performance, check out the value of your current car by using our car valuation tool. From there, you can sell your car quickly and easily without ever having to leave the comfort of your home. 

Be sure to tell us about any engine remapping work that you’ve had done as it could increase your car’s value, and if you need the money in a hurry you can even sell your car, have it collected, and have the money in your bank in as little as 24 hours. 

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Holly Harris

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