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Car engine remapping: a guide

Car engine remapping: a guide

An increasingly popular way to boost the power and performance of a car’s engine is remapping. But what exactly is it, how much does it cost and will it affect your car insurance?

Read our guide to car engine remapping and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
4
minute read
posted 6 NOVEMBER 2019

What is car engine remapping?

Remapping a car, also known as ‘chipping’, is a quick and fairly cost-effective process that involves adjusting the microchip in your car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), to overwrite the manufacturer’s factory settings. This allows your car to function at its full potential.

The ECU is essentially a computer in your car that controls the power of your engine. When a car is manufactured, the default settings on the ECU software are typically set to limit its performance capabilities. Manufacturers do this to lengthen the life of a car, by adapting the software to climates, terrains and fuel qualities of a specific country. It also means they can release a faster, more powerful version at a later date.

Remapping the software and fine-tuning the engine can increase a car’s power and torque output, and maximise its overall performance by as much as 35%.

It’s highly recommended that car remapping is carried out by a qualified specialist to avoid the risk of engine damage. The procedure only takes about 30 minutes and, if done properly, you should notice a significant improvement in your car’s performance almost immediately.

What are the benefits of car engine remapping?

The obvious benefit, and the main reason drivers get an engine remapped, is to boost a car’s speed and power. However, car engine remapping can also offer other positives.

  • Better fuel economy If you go easy on the accelerator, remapping could help to increase your car’s mpg and overall fuel economy. You’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Better control and drivability With an enhanced throttle and engine response, your car will feel smoother and easier to drive.
  • Easier towing If you use your vehicle to tow a heavy trailer or caravan, remapping will give it extra power, so it won’t have to work so hard when climbing or accelerating.

What are the disadvantages of car engine remapping?

  • Only turbo-powered engines will fully benefit from a simple engine remapping. If your car is a non-turbo petrol, it’s unlikely you’ll notice much difference in bhp from a remap alone.
  • Greater power can also mean more strain on the engine. Be prepared to have your car serviced more frequently, as major components, such as the clutch, may suffer greater wear and tear.
  • Once your car’s been remapped you may need to buy higher octane fuel, which is typically more expensive.
  • If you choose to get a remap that isn’t approved by the manufacturer or approved dealership, your car warranty may be invalidated.
  • With a higher powered vehicle comes a greater risk of speeding.
  • Remapping your vehicle could have an impact on your car insurance. Some insurance providers won’t cover remapped vehicles at all.

How much does car engine remapping cost?

The cost of remapping your car often depends on the make and model. However, the price is typically around £150 to £300.  

Do I need to tell my insurance provider if my car engine is remapped?

Yes, you do need to tell your insurance provider if your car has been remapped. In car insurance terms, remapping or chipping is considered a car modification, even if you can’t actually see it. If you don’t inform your insurance provider, it could invalidate your policy and you may even end up in trouble for hiding information.

Car engine remapping could mean a slight increase in the cost of your car insurance premium. And, even though remapping is increasingly more common, there are still some insurance providers who won’t cover your car if it’s been chipped.

Where can I compare car insurance for a remapped car?

Start a quote with us and we’ll provide you with a list of insurance providers that may offer insurance for a remapped car.

If your car has been remapped, remember to notify the insurance provider before you buy a policy, as it’s possible you may need specialist modified vehicle insurance.

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