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Ford F-150 Computer Programmers: Essential Guide

Ford F-150 Computer Programmers: Essential Guide

In decades past—even in the height of performance engines during the 60s and 70s—creating power from an engine build was a bit more complicated. Motors were purpose built. Countless hours were spent planning the proper build, and even more hours to execute the plan. Today’s engines, such as the ones found in 2015+ Ford F-150s, may be a bit more complex in design, but performance is a bit more easily attainable. This is of course made possible by computer programmers, which are better known as tuners.

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The heart and soul of a computer programmer is its function and installation and use of tuners is simple. Select the device to tap into your desired performance by using base programs or customizing your own engine maps.

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Tuners Explained

Tuners are devices that plug into your OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostic) port to gain access to your F-150’s  on-board computer. Once installed, the tuner can upload its own program to alter the performance or behavior of your vehicle’s engine maps, alternating things like air/fuel mixture and/or shift points.

The truck’s onboard computer arrives with a preloaded program that has control over the vehicles electronic systems and dictates the vehicle’s performance. A Programmer simply works by gaining access to these stock settings and reconfigures them to provide more desirable settings. In a sense, they simply unlock all the stock power of the vehicle. 

These programmers come in all different types, but we are going discuss the more popular types of tunes to help you choose what’s best for your ride.

Types of Tuners

Though the general idea remains the same across all types of tuners, their functionalities tend to differ. Starting with the entry-level performance oriented design, these programmers offer excellent tuning options that cater to gains in horsepower. This programmer also offers speedometer calibration and shift-point adjustments for the transmission. This comes with a fully functional handheld display but is pretty basic in comparison to the top of the line programmers. 

Some of these programmers require you to pull the data from the web and install it to the device after you purchase it. This is to ensure the tune is up to date. You should take note that some programmers are updatable via the internet to make sure you constantly have the latest and greatest tunes available, whereas others are a one and done deal. Updating to the latest tunes may not be a major concern, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

F150 Super Chip Programmer Red

Selecting a Tuner for Your F-150

Ford F-150 computer programmers are more than just some fancy gadget to play around with when you’re bored. These are powerful tools that truly capitalize on the technological advancements of the 21st Century. In the palm of your hand is a device that can change the behavior and performance of your truck in minutes as opposed to hours. 

Late model F-150’s are pretty low maintenance, and are excellent pieces of machinery right off the showroom floor. You can throw anything at them and they will stand up to the task. This may make you ask yourself why you should pick up a tuner at all or when is the right time. But there’s never a wrong time to go pick one up. 

Tuners are meant to help maximize your vehicle's performance, and they have preset tunes that focus on particular uses. The most popular tune types you will find are as follows:

  • Towing
  • Horsepower/torque gains
  • Economy

If you are looking to get the most out of you F-150 for any of the above categories, it’s time to invest in a programmer.

F150 Rev X Hand Held Tuner
Hand Held Tuner

Ford F-150 Computer Programmers Utility Usage

Let’s discuss some of the other benefits of 2015-2017 Ford F-150 tuners besides performance gains. Aside from engine and transmission performance, many programmers also provide access to your vehicle's diagnostics systems. If that check engine light comes on, you can now easily read the diagnostic codes to help troubleshoot. This saves you a trip to the auto parts store where you would wait for the guy behind the counter to run some diagnostics.

Pairing other major modifications with a programmer is a wise choice. Let’s say you’re also picking up a set of bigger wheels and tires—the tuner will allow you to easily recalibrate your speedometer. This also holds true if you’re swapping out differential gears.

Some other helpful features you may find:

  • Being able to tap into the rev-limiter 
  • Gaining access to your top-speed limiter

Depending on the model you choose, your options will change. But, as you can tell, these computer programmers can give you complete control over the behavior and performance of your vehicle. 

F150 Livewire Programer
Touch Screen Tuner

Ford F-150 Computer Programmers: Warranty Talk

Computer programmers sound almost too good to be true. With the ease of installation, all of the features, and benefits there has to be a catch—and there is. Ford’s warranty on 2015-2017 F-150s prohibits the use of anything that plugs into the OBD-II port to modify the trucks performance. Take into consideration that using a tuner may void your factory warranty. If the truck is going to be used for a sole purpose of hauling a trailer, long commutes, or performance and off-road usage, the tuner has some serious benefits. Just be conscious of voided warranties.

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