How to Install a Performance Chip or Tuner: Step-by-Step Tutorials

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)

Every car enthusiast appreciates a high-performing automobile. Fortunately, enhancing your car’s performance doesn’t necessitate significant spending on a new engine or vehicle, unless you can comfortably afford such expenses. For cost-effective improvements, consider installing a performance chip which can make your car feel relatively renewed.

In this article, I will run you through the step-by-step process of installing a performance chip or tuner yourself.

This article instructs you how to install a performance chip or a tuner

What are Performance Chips and Tuners?

A performance chip/tuner is an aftermarket modification installed in your vehicle to act as a mediator between the engine and the ECU (Engine Control Unit) to improve acceleration rate control by adjusting how torque and fuel consumption are related. 

What is a Car Tuner?

Car tuning replaces the ECU program, in order to adjust the basic performance of the engine. In fact, because of this, the promised improvement in performance is achieved.

Previously, specialists had to solder the factory chip of the machine mechanically, but now it costs “little blood”. Simply modify the firmware using special software and a laptop, connecting them to the OBD II connector.

What is a Performance Chip?

 It consists of a box with some connectors installed between the original control unit and its wiring or directly on the coolant temperature sensor’s connector. 

Unfortunately, this system falsifies data from engine sensors to “fool” the control unit and tells it that the fuel is colder, causing the injection times to lengthen and thus increase power and consumption. If anything comes to mind and you want to undo the tune, disconnect the chip once you lift the hood.

Performance Chip vs. Tuner

Similarities Between Performance Chip and Tuner

Similarities of a performance chip and a tuner.
  • The car’s responsiveness can be enhanced by changing the standard parameters.
  • It is possible to reduce fuel consumption. In another way, that does not necessitate a large amount of waste.
  • Both procedures are primarily used to boost engine power. When experienced professionals and competent software carry out the system, the vehicle’s dynamics significantly improve.
  • And more efficient equipment will make it possible to make a dashing car at the start.

Differences Between Performance Chip and Tuner

Points to distinguish between a performance chip and a tuner.
  • The difference between performance chip and tuning is that the term “performance chip” refers to replacing the ECU with a new unit that runs different software. This usually increases both horsepower and torque.
  • As for tuning, it is simply a matter of reprogramming said control unit’s physical memory for another with the new program loaded in it. (A small module connects to the vehicle’s diagnostic connector (known as OBD, on-board diagnosis ). It has a memory chip that contains new cartography. When connecting the device to your vehicle, it reads the original mapping, creates a backup copy, and loads the new programming.)
  • The fundamental one is that with the reprogramming, you do not add any element to the engine. Besides, you can control and act on many more parameters than with a power chip. Let’s say that it offers more possibilities, while the chip has the advantage of being a bit of a handyman and you can install it yourself.

Read more: What is a Tuner and What Does a Tuner Do?

How to Install a Performance Chip or a Tuner

Instructions to Install a Performance Chip

Method 1

Step 1

Directly install a performance chip on the board. After that, unscrew the screws that hold the panel in place by opening the glove box. You will now be able to access the ECU box.

Step 2

Replace the original chip with the upgrade by unclipping one and pinning the other. This is a straightforward procedure that usually takes no more than 30 minutes. However, you may require a mechanic to assist with a more complex update.

Method 2 

Tutorial on performance chip installation.

You can Install performance chips designed to improve the vehicle’s performance by directly modifying the ECU and engine box. These mods are typically sold in two-part fits.

Step 1

Raise the hood and connect the fuel injection tuning chip to the engine as specified by the brand of chip you are installing.

Step 2

Connect the programmer plug-in chip to the vehicle’s wiring harness using the same method you used to access the ECU box in the previous step. 

Step 3

There should be a black clip connecting to the wiring harness and a black buckle coming from the plug-in, and both should easily clip together. Otherwise, you may need the assistance of a mechanic because the mod mark is the one you require. Chosen it by yourself may result in failure due to the reason it may not be compatible with your vehicle type.


When installing one of these, take care not to bend any of the pins that connect to the chip. Also, avoid touching any of the connections because the oils in your hands may interfere with the signal. Aside from that, this process is self-explanatory for the most part.

Performance chip installation

Guidance to Tuner Installation

How to install a tuner.
  • The computer is linked to the control unit’s service connector.
  • The old firmware has been uninstalled.
  • Downloading a new piece of software.
  • The chip is usually connected via the OBD diagnostic connector. In some cases, the computer is disconnected and reconnected via the connectors.
  • Choosing options are compatible with your car make, model, year. In addition, you also opt for the tuning mode you want to apply to the car. There are also controllers that only light up after scanning (wires are connected to contacts on the board itself).
Instruction to install a tuner

Read more: 5 Best Tuners for 6.6 Duramax in 2022 [Review and Comparison]


Can you put a performance chip in any car?

Yes, as long as your vehicle has an OBD2 diagnostic port. OBD is an abbreviation for On-Board Diagnostics. Specifically, the OBD system is a connection system that connects the various units of the vehicle to an external computer, allowing them to be verified. And chances are, yours does have OBD – While this modification is available for most cars, we have seen better results with vehicles equipped with original turbo engines.

Do plug-in performance chips work?

Plug-in performance chips are frequently the most straightforward and least expensive way to gain power. In addition to increasing horsepower, some plug-in performance chips help improve gas mileage, throttle response, and towing capacity.

As a result, the answer to this question is yes, the plug-in performance car works.

Read more: 4 Best Diesel Tuners for 6.7 Cummins in 2022 [Review and Comparison]


It is worth understanding that automotive Chipping or tuning entails several risks that the driver knowingly accepts. If you decide to take this step, you should contact specialized and well-known service centers. They, too, do not have a relationship with the manufacturing plants, but they have more in-depth experience. Furthermore, large companies have the equipment to test the car before and after chipping, which significantly reduces the risk of negative consequences.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *