Choosing your Tuner

Five Things You Should Consider When Selecting a Tuning Company and the questions you should ask to ensure they are competent.

A reputable tuning company will offer before and after dyno testing to prove the output they are claiming and will return your car to standard without charge if you are not happy with the results within a specific time frame.

The output will be affected by engine condition, fuel quality and any modifications, the tuner should be able to assess your vehicle and inform you of any rectification work required to achieve the claimed outputs, or refuse to tune a vehicle that is not suitable for tuning. This requires diagnostic equipment that should be hooked up before and after tuning. The tuner should confirm correct operation using key performance indicators such as airflow, boost pressure, air fuel ratios, injected quantity etc etc. Ask if they can prove the power and torque gains, using a chassis dynamometer or data logs?

Ask how many days no quibble warranty do you have.

  • A reputable tuning business will keep your original calibration on file for an agreed period of time – and restore the vehicle to its original state if requested within that period. (This could be for as long as 3-5 years)

Ask how long they will keep the original file for and how much they charge to return the vehicle to its original programming.

  • An investment of many thousands of pounds is required for the latest equipment and keeping the software licence up to date.

The price you pay should reflect this investment if it seems too cheap or a lot less than other quotes ask yourself why? Are they using cheap cloned equipment or generic files downloaded from the internet? Ask if they can they remap newer cars, (2012 BMW 320d for example)  this is a sure way of ensuring the equipment is up to date and genuine.

  • It takes years of training and experience to correctly tune a car, ask what qualifications and/or experience your tuner has. If the software is not written in house ask how long the company that is writing the software has been operating.

Do your own research online, there have been many software companies that have entered the market offering cheap files, but they seldom last long or keep re-inventing themselves. If they specialise in a particular make or model they should have the expertise to explain what common faults to look out for. Ask about your vehicle, they should be able to answer confidently.

  • A battery support unit (which is not just a battery charger) should be connected during the read/write process. A minimum of 60 amps should be considered, prolonged periods of key on engine off, are required during the remapping process.

Engine ancillaries can also cycle such as cooling fans which quickly drain the battery. The ECU can become damaged beyond repair (bricked as it is known) if the battery voltage drops below a critical level during flashing. Ask if a battery support unit will be used, and ask what current (amp rating) it is. If they answer that they will use a battery charger/jump leads or that such a device isn’t necessary I urge you to walk away.

These are just 5 questions that any reputable tuner should be able to answer putting you in a more informed position to select the tuning business that best suits you and your vehicle. In addition, do your own research, visit the premises if possible, ask for recommendations and check out the website/Facebook pages. If the price is your only comparator make sure you are comparing professionals.