Re-mapping

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Thinking of re-mapping your car?

The pros and cons explained by Birkin Service Centre. It can take as little as 2 hours to do the whole job and could get you up to 50hp more from your powertrain. It’s definitely worth looking into.

So what is re-mapping?

Remapping or “chipping” is the process of adjusting the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) in your car to overwrite the manufacturer’s factory settings.

It’s like resetting your phone back to factory settings and then over-riding the factory settings for faster, more economical ones.

Manufacturers set limits on a car’s performance and capabilities to maximise the life out of their cars.

They assess what these limits should be based on the climate of the country the car will be sold in, the quality of the fuel available and the type of terrain the car is expected to use and adapt the software accordingly.

When you re-map your car’s performance software, you’re essentially maximising it’s functions to perform at their full potential, with the limits removed.

What re-mapping could do for your car

There are a few reasons for getting your car enhanced by re-mapping the chip, but maybe the increased power and fuel economy are the most popular reasons. Your car could end up gaining a healthy amount of both, which is a huge double win.

But the end result of exactly what gains you could get all depend on the type of car you have and how much horsepower your car has lost since being rolled off the forecourt.

Yeah, that’s a thing. If you didn’t already know, as your car gets older and does more miles, the engine gradually loses its horsepower, meaning it won’t be as powerful now as it was when new.

Check out our article looking at why cars lose their horsepower and how much power your car might have lost since new.

In general though, your car’s power output in terms of hoursepower & torque could be increased by up to 35%, according to www.comparethemarket.com.

Reasons for re-mapping

I’ll start with the most obvious & exciting reason to get your car re-mapped – more power.
Now, don’t expect a Toyota Yaris to drive like a Jaguar F-type after a simple chip adjustment, but, if you already have a fairly decent amount of power and own a car that is built for more vigorous driving, then more power is definitely something that you’ll get.
You should feel it instantly as you drive it off for a test run. Excitement level 10.
Types of cars that suit a re-map focusing on power gains are saloons like a BMW 3 or 5 series, coupes like an E-Class Mercedes or Audi A5, sport hatchbacks like Minis and mid-sized family cars like a Nissan Qashqai or VW Tiguan.
Cars that don’t suit a power-focused re-map – utility vehicles made for tending fields such a Land Rover Defenders or a Ford Transit van and small cars and mini-hatchbacks like your Toyota Yaris, a VW Up or a Honda Jazz.
Another great reason for a re-map – better fuel economy.
It’s definitely not as exciting as gaining more power out of your engine, but it’ll definitely help your bank balance, if you drive sensibly of course.
The increase in economy again depends on your car type, it’s current output and the type of fuel your car uses, as diesel will be better all round than petrol (but who wants a diesel right?)
Manufacturers also set limits on how well your car performs in terms of economy as well as its power output. We’ll leave you to speculate as to why they might do this, but with a re-map of your car’s ECU, you can improve the rate your car goes through a tank of fuel, which is a total benefit especially in the current climate where fuel is getting pricier again.
Pro reason number 3 – better handling and control.
Not only does your car get faster and more economical with a re-map, but you could feel a much more control and better handling, as you’ll get better throttle response as well as power output, so you might find it becomes a smoother, easier ride.
The final reason why you might consider a re-map, and one we found out through first-hand experience – you can choose how it sounds.
Ok so it’s a total cosmetic and unnecessary change, but am I right in saying possibly the best?
You can choose how much the engine pops, bangs and how loud it sounds while idling.
I don’t know about you, but hearing my car gurgle and pop when downshifting on my paddle gears makes me giggle every time.
Other childish benefits of this include making people’s heads whip round to look at what made the loud noise, or when you scare a group of cyclists on a country road.. both priceless reactions.

Some quick tips on re-mapping your car

We always recommend you do the following before & after getting your car re-mapped:

  • Chat to your preferred service centre to see if there are any extra things you’ll need to do on your car once it’s been remapped & check if you can afford them (see below)
  • Make sure your car is suitable for a re-map before booking it in, i.e. it doesn’t need work doing to it & it meets the criteria we listed above
  • Once remapped your car will likely need a service and new tyres more frequently, so make sure these are things you can afford to get. Take a look at our Why you should have a regular service article for more info on the benefits
  • Your car may need a higher octane fuel type once re-mapped, again a more costly option, so check with your service centre first if this will be necessary
  • Check if your insurance company need to know about the changes to your car and how to contact them
  • Do your homework on your chosen service centre – are they legit and are they well recommended by their customers? If you choose a dodgy garage then not only could your car get damage to the engine, it could also invalidate your car warranty
  • Make sure you can handle the extra poke! Your car will be more powerful, which means a higher risk of breaking those speed limits, so make sure your driving ability is up to it.

To get started on fine-tuning your speed demon, or to ask any questions about the process and expected results based on your car, chat to Birkin Service Centre by calling 01565 750 153, emailing birkinservicecentre@gmail.com or if you’re in the local area, simply down with your car for a chat.

Birkin Service Centre not only offer expert advice on re-mapping, but are also specialists in MOTs, detailed car services and tyre maintenance services, check out their website at the link above to find out the latest deals and location.