What Is A Remap?

Remapping your car’s engine is a cheap yet highly effective way of tuning your car and it’s achieved by modifying the ECU. Most engines can see a significant increase in performance from a remap and below we walk you through everything you need to know.

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What Is A Remap
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Remapping your car to increase its performance is a very popular modification and it can be done to pretty much any car. Whether your car is petrol or diesel-powered, a remap can make a significant improvement to your car’s performance.

Myself and the team at YourCar have remapped several cars over the years and we’ve never been disappointed by the outcome. A remap has the potential to transform any car and it’s a modification we highly recommend.

Whether you want to remap a Ford Focus or Lamborghini Aventador, below is everything you need to know about remapping your car.

What Is A Remap?

A remap is where the car’s ECU is modified with new software in order to improve the engine’s performance. Depending upon how much performance you require, there are multiple stages of a remap where various parameters within the car’s ECU are altered in order to take into consideration any supporting modifications.

Often confused with a tuning box, a remap is not a plug-and-play device. Instead, you’ll need to visit a tuning company where they’ll transfer the new software onto your car’s ECU. Most companies will also put your car on a dyno/rolling road to provide you with BHP and torque readings as proof that a remap has been added to your car.

How Does Engine Remapping Work?

In order to remap a car, you’ll need to visit a tuning company that’s able to overwrite the car’s ECU with tuned software. This can be achieved using the car’s OBD2 port (the same port you would use to diagnose your car with a scan tool) or by removing the ECU and doing it manually. However, only specialist tuning companies will be able to manually remap the ECU and it’s only required for cars that don’t have an OBD2 port.

Although you may be able to remap your own car, we would highly recommend getting a professional to do it for you. This is because they’ll have all of the equipment and be able to make modifications to the software to take into account any supporting modifications to the car.

how to remap car

How Much Does A Remap Cost?

The cost of a remap is highly dependent upon your car, existing modifications and whether you want a dyno readout at the end. However, you can expect to pay a tuning company in the UK between £200 to £500 for a remap.

We highly recommend that you pay the extra and take your car to a reputable tuning company that offers dyno readouts (before and after the tune). Not only will this give you peace of mind that the new software is safe but it’ll also help when it comes to selling your car. This is because there will be proof of the car’s performance from a reputable company.

How Long Does It Take?

The time it takes to remap a car is between 30 minutes to 2 hours. The reason it takes this long is due to the amount of data from the tuned software that needs to transfer onto the stock ECU.

Does It Affect Your Car’s Insurance?

Although a remap is a modification that can’t be seen by the eye, it’s certainly a modification that’ll affect your insurance. As with any modification to your car, you’ll need to tell your insurance company, which may or may not incur additional costs. Depending upon the company that you insure your car with, they may ask how much BHP the remap added in order to calculate if there is an additional cost due to the increase in performance.

The Stages Of A Remap

To make understanding car remapping even more complex, remaps can be broken into multiple stages. The most common stages are 1, 2 and 3 and they were introduced by tuning companies and enthusiasts to denote what’s required to reach each level. Below are brief and simplified explanations of each stage of a remap.

Stage 1

A Stage 1 remap is the most popular stage and it consists of new software being added to your car’s ECU. Unlike other stages, it doesn’t require any other modifications to be made (i.e. a more free-flowing exhaust or improved air intake) and it’s also the cheapest because most tuning companies won’t need to make adjustments to the software for it to work.

The amount of BHP a stage 1 remap adds can be anywhere from 20 to 80 BHP depending upon the car. As you can see from the below dyno results, a friend’s Volkswagen Golf GTE recently went for a stage 1 remap at a reputable garage and it achieved impressive performance gains. For this particular engine and current modifications, it achieved an increase of 54 BHP and 73 LB/FT, which certainly made a difference on the road.

how much bhp does a stage 1 remap add

Stage 2

A Stage 2 remap builds upon the base of a Stage 1 remap by taking into consideration supporting modifications such as an upgraded intercooler, exhaust or air intake. Therefore, the tuning company will add unique tuning software to your car’s ECU in order to maximize performance. In terms of the BHP increase from a Stage 2 remap, you can expect an additional 10 to 20% more performance when compared to its Stage 1 remap.

Stage 3

A Stage 3 remap is for those that are tuning enthusiasts and want to extract as much performance as possible. As with a Stage 2 remap, it takes into consideration supporting modifications but in a Stage 3 remap, these modifications are vital components of the engine. For example, a Stage 3 tune would take into account a bigger turbo, supercharger, fuel injectors, fuel pumps and so much more. It’s by far the most expensive and involving but you can see huge gains.

In terms of how much BHP a stage 3 remap adds, it’s hard to say an exact figure but there is really no limit. From a 200 to 500 BHP increase, anything and everything is possible depending upon your budget.

Benefits of a Remap


1. Improved Performance

The main benefit of remapping your car is of course improved performance. You can expect an increase in horsepower and torque as well as improved throttle response and enhanced power delivery.

2. Affordable Yet Highly Effective

Unlike other performance-based modifications, a remap is a low-cost option that’s highly effective. For as little as £200, your car could possibly gain 10 to 20% more performance and this is why it’s such a popular modification.

3. Doesn’t Require Physical Modifications

Remapping your car requires no other parts and you can simply drive your unmodified car to a tuning company to perform the remap. However, if you want a Stage 2 or 3 remap, you’ll require supporting modifications.

4. Can Be Reversed (In Most Cases)

If you decide to put your car back to standard/stock, you’ll be able to reverse the remap by putting the factory standard software back on your car’s ECU. However, it’s important to note that tuning companies will charge for this service.

5. Improves Certain Aspects of Driving

As well as improving driving for those that require additional performance from their engine, you can also have customisable remaps installed to your car that can improve towing and fuel economy.

what is remapping a car

Drawbacks of a Remap


1. Invalidates A Car’s Warranty

The main drawback of a remap that’s particularly relevant to those with new cars is the fact that it’ll invalidate your car’s warranty. This is because alterations made will affect the reliability of various engine components that may or may not have occurred with the car’s factory ECU software.

2. Increases Insurance Premiums

Due to the fact that a remap increases the performance of your car, from an insurance point of view, it makes the car more of a risk to insure. Therefore, after telling your insurance company that you’ve remapped your car, you can expect your insurance premium to increase.

3. Additional Wear & Tear

As a remap increases horsepower and torque, it puts the engine as well as the transmission under more stress. Therefore, this increases wear and tear and it can reduce your car’s reliability in the long run.

Conclusion

When it comes to remapping your car, we highly advise that you use a reputable tuning company. Although there are cheaper options available, failing to install safe tuning software to your car’s ECU can be an expensive mistake. Not only could it poorly affect the running of your car but it could result in components getting damaged. Therefore, you may end up having to revert the ECU to its factory software, which will come at a cost too.

If you require further information with regards to car remapping, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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