Chipping a car, what does it mean?

Discussion in 'Car and Van Talk' started by MGW, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I thought chipping was stones flying up off the road;) However it now seems it refers to the engine management, I have no wish to change it, but wonder when changed what it means, and if you bought a second hand car how would you know if it had been done.

    My son pays over £100 road tax, and my wife pays £30 for a car with same body and same engine his has 4 wheel drive and the engine is configured to give out more power, no change in any mechanical parts on engine, only the chip in the engine management is different, car is a Jaguar XE.

    So I suppose if we were to fit sons chip in wife car it would be fraud? We would be paying the government less than it was due, also insurance would not be valid as the car would no longer be road legal until re-registered and paying higher rate of tax, even if we told the insurance it had been re-chipped.

    It seems common for caravan owners to re-chip cars to get extra power for towing, seems a little pointless as the towing limit is set my manufacturer and that would not change, with wife's car the towing limit is higher for automatic version to manual version, I would assume hill climbing ability! So even changing wheel sizes could affect towing ability.

    But wheel size is easy to see, adding a turbo, or other physical charge again easy to see, but changing the chip, there is nothing the user can see, and likely would only be found if involved in an accident, at which point it's a little late, so how can one be sure the car is road legal?
  2. ramseyman

    ramseyman Screwfix Select

    I don’t think there’s any physical chip that’s changed it’s just a reprogramming of the engine management software. Therefore nothing visible unless the drive train, turbo, brakes etc have been upgraded to handle the extra power. Certainly if the insurance company isn’t advised of the modification and they find out or god forbid an accident then there’d be trouble.
    MGW likes this.
  3. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    ECU tuning,engine remapping,many names same thing,old days you could phyically change the chip, easier now cars have a OBD port (On-board diagnostics port),

    Quite a few insurance providers will not cover you, if your car has been chipped,as it's classed as a modification,& you have a accident they most likely won't pay out if car is chipped.

    But, there is no signs that a car has been chipped.

    Some remapping doesn't give more power, but evens it out over the range,of revs,more torque through the gears,so fuel improvements.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
    ramseyman likes this.
  4. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    This is my point, if you buy a car where the reprogramming has been done, how would you know?

    May seem odd but an electric bike with a Bosch mid frame motor if the software is altered to give more speed or power it can be seen that it was done, even if returned to original spec. Your limited to 250 watt and 16 MPH and pedal assist only over 4 MPH. But only the dealer has the equipment to alter or view the software, but what happens with a car?

    If I take the car for MOT will the garage alert me of any change, if I take it for service would I be alerted, and would it need to be serviced in a Jaguar garage for them to see some thing altered or would any garage know? The Jaguar XE has enough power not to be hunting for more, so we have never put foot hard down, so driving we see no difference between sons car and wife's car, clearly sons could go faster, but with a car of that type, unless on a race track one would not know if 160 BHP or 190 BHP as it is powerful enough.
  5. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Sorry replied before seeing your answer, I don't want to alter car, all I want to know is how do you know if altered by a previous owner?
  6. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    You wouldn't know in most cases.

    Jag XE is around 197 bhp plus,might be detune abit for other vechiles who also use it, so can't see need to rechip.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  7. ramseyman

    ramseyman Screwfix Select

    As a matter of interest have a look at wgmotorworks website/instagram - they seem to do nothing but add massive bhp although they do all the other mods to cope with it.
  8. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Screwfix Select

    My van is remapped ('chipped') which mainly gives it more torque, meaning I can change up a bit earlier in the gears making it a bit more economical.

    I asked my insurers about it at renewal time last February (before having it done) and they wouldn't cover it. I then went to a specialist modified vehicle
    insurer ('A Plan' at Thatcham) and, with all the mods declared (the remap, roof rack, towbar, etc), the premium was exactly the same as it was with my
    existing insurer. So I had it done.

    It has made the van much nicer to drive and I can occasionally overtake things in safety now, which was always, er, "exciting" before.

    A new owner would only know it had been done if he'd previously driven the standard van and could feel the difference (it is quite pronounced) or, simply,
    if I told him, but there's no physical change to anything visible. It was all done via the OBD port.

    There's no way I'd do anything to the van to alter it without clearing it with my insurers first though. It's simply not worth the risk.
    ramseyman likes this.
  9. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Joe the Plumber's answer was typical of the caravan's answer, and when vehicle road tax was worked out on cc that was reasonable, however now that road tax is worked out on environment impact, we have two cars with same body and engine with two very different tax brackets due to the way the engine is mapped, I am reasonable sure the Jaguar garage has updated the software, so if there was any alteration before we bought the car, it will now have been over written.

    However I can't see any way to either raise or lower the road tax class when an engine is remapped. So question is are you breaking the law having a car engine remapped? Would you need to submit the vehicle for type approval?

    From what I have read it would seem once the Department for Transport has certified the CO2 emissions figure, this cannot be changed by modification of the car. But this is not from an official web site, I would not expect a court case if you improve the CO2 emissions figure, however what about the reverse, if German car manufacturers cheat that is very different to private a individual doing the same thing.
  10. Philip Hyde

    Philip Hyde Screwfix Select

    You have a few options now. You can reprogramme the ECU through the OBD port and alter the ECU settings with regard to fuel pressure, boost and numerous others. Your Main dealer would Thebe able to tell you if it had been done. The other is a piggy back ECU that's wired in series with standard plugs. That fools the standard ECU to alter stuff so say your accelerating and the ECU says you need 5psi of boost the piggy back ECU says I've only got 3psi so main ECU boosts more giving you more powet. It can make the car more economical as it removes some of the emmision numbing flat spots
  11. peter palmer

    peter palmer Super Member

    It usually means a new clutch sooner rather and later, I've fitted tuning chips to a couple of vehicles and had to replace the clutch not that long after, it does make you thrash them about a bit more though.

    Some are just a couple of crude components in a box like a resistor or two that fool the ECU into upping the fuel pressure by reporting a false low reading but the more modern ones seem a bit more advanced, they work on several channels like the fuel pressure, air MAF sensor and something else I can't quite remember at the minute.

    What I have got at the minute on my car though is what is called a pedal box, it plugs into the accelerator pedal and has several settings on it. Whilst it doesn't alter the power in any way it fools the ECU into thinking the pedal has been pressed more than it has been and it has transformed the driveability of the car, it makes it feel like it has twice the power and torque it has. It might sound silly but it takes all the effort out of pressing the accelerator down, nobody likes to floor the throttle every time they are driving and subconsciously tend to drive as economically and gentle as they can, the pedal box gives you the feeling of doing this whilst effortlessly getting a shift on.
  12. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I was talking about cars at work, I said I felt there was enough power in the wife's car without needing 4 wheel drive or the extra power made available to 4 wheel drive version, chap said nonsense, he had found the car failed to accelerate leaving Welshpool as the wheels lost grip while over taking with all four wheels spinning, mental note, don't get a lift with him.
  13. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    There are several methods that come under the term”chipping”, all of which break your insurance condition. Method 1, is a black box that alter the values of the sensors feeding the ECU. these can be the air mass meter, engine temperature, crankshaft angle, cam angle and others. By fooling the ECU, It can inject more fuel and/or change the spark timing, producing more power. method 2. Alter or replace the EEPROM (memory) which maps the fuel injection and spark relative to the crank position. In this case the sensors are still giving true readings but the results of the input are mapped differently from original manufacturers offering

    Engines these days are global and the performance is set according to local demands and conditions as well as governmental environmental regulations. Eg. In hot countries engines are often derated to keep them from over heating. In a cool country like UK, one can push the limits quite a bit.

    manufactures themselves have several map offering, the same engine with different outputs reserving the higher end for the more expensive end of the range
  14. Chris Pascall

    Chris Pascall New Member

    Hi I would suggest you get the car checked at a dealer of specialist. They should be able to see if it is standard or not by plugging in their diagnostic kit.
  15. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    This was done, the Jaguar agents says standard, and driving sons XE which is chipped for extra output yes it has more power, as to why anyone would want the extra power don't know. The thread is over a year old.
  16. Okoak

    Okoak Active Member

    "we would be paying the government less than it was due"
    "as to why anyone would want the extra power I don't know"

    I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or shake my head in disbelief.
  17. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Pretty obvious.....the thrill of watching the fuel gauge move downwards more quickly!
  18. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Since if you have a car re-chipped to 160 BHP instead of 190 BHP you can't get the reduction in road tax, then one must assume if you do reverse you don't need to pay the increase? Wife and Son have Jaguar XE cars, hers 2 wheel drive his 4 wheel drive, otherwise identical cars with identical engines but his road tax is higher simply because the way the car is chipped. In real terms same MPG, yes he has option of putting foot harder down, but neither drive cars as the limit of the power available so in real terms both get the same performance, and the towing weight seems to be down to gear box type in both cases, manual 1500 and automatic 1800 at first I thought due to 8 speed in automatic version gives better hill climbing but if that was case then also the higher BHP would increase towing ability.

    Seems strange as in years gone by it was reverse with automatic cars having a reduced towing capacity, not that is matters as we tow with a Kia Sorento with a 3000 capacity, well would if I still had a licence, having problems getting it renewed now 70, due to needing a photo licence.

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