When trying to pull every last bit of horsepower from your vehicle, managing the engine can be a vital part. Automotive engine management is essentially a science. A car's engine is very complex and has many different components that make it function the way it does. Using engine management will allow the user to tune their engine to the specifications they are looking for. Automotive engine management has come a long way over the years and is sometimes displayed on a computer.
Back in the olden days, automotive engines were big and unsightly with many problems. Much of the tuning capabilities needed to be adjusted manually. With all of the technology gained since then, engine management has become very popular. Automotive engine management can adjust nearly anything from airflow and fuel mixture to timing and ignition. These management systems are widely usable and are available for many vehicles today.
Factory engine managements systems are not programmable. All of an engine's functions from the factory are preset. An aftermarket engine management system allows the user to tune these engine functions. The ECU controls your entire engine and is the most powerful unit on cars today. The reason for using an aftermarket engine management system is to tune the engine so it knows what is happening. Adding aftermarket performance parts increases the change in engine properties. This change needs to be synced with the engine. For most car enthusiasts, aftermarket engine management is a must.
There are many different types of engine management systems depending on the user's goal and the options available for the vehicle. These options include an ECU chip, ECU reprogramming, piggyback ECU, and full engine management. Not all of these are offered for every vehicle. Although completely different than each other, they all serve the same main goal which is to provide engine management for the user.
An engine control unit chip is an option of engine management but is typically misunderstood. Some users become excited when they see an aftermarket engine chip and think it can be added to their current engine control unit. This is almost never the case. These automotive engine chips aren't what they seem. Some can even decrease your vehicles performance. When searching for an automotive engine control unit chip, make sure to buy from a reputable company and really find out everything about the product. These automotive chips are produced from all over the world.
A reprogrammable ECU is also an option of engine management. This is a more popular version. A reprogrammable engine control unit consists of the user supplying a certain company with engine modifications and additional added parts, and the company will tune the engine control unit to optimize performance. This is a fairly easy process and does not require much knowledge from the user. For those that do not like playing with the engine's computer, this option might be a good solution.
A piggyback engine control unit works in existence with your stock engine control unit. Essentially an add-on, a piggyback engine control unit offers the user some more flexibility in engine management. It can help interpret and redirect engine information. This type of automotive engine management tricks you engine control unit into thinking something else. The piggyback engine control unit is a solution for someone looking for greater control but does not feel comfortable with complete control of the engine.
The most advanced of the bunch is a full engine management system. These systems are completely independent and offer the most adjustability for the user. Not only does this offer hundreds of tuning capabilities, but it can be very complex to install and use. AEM and Haltech manufacture and support their own independent engine control units. These two companies offer some of the most tunable and user friendly products. A standalone engine management system would prove itself for someone who is adding a turbo or supercharger to their vehicle. It will allow for the most tuning capabilities.