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How Car & Truck Programmers Work to Improve Your MPG & Horsepower

Superchips 2848-DS Flashpaq

By Mike Cote - December 5, 2018

It’s not a common occurrence that people complain about their vehicle having too much horsepower or getting too good of gas mileage. Unless you’re the exception, you may want to set your vehicle up with a car or truck power programmer. Over the years, you’ve heard a lot about how power programmers can give your vehicle more power and better fuel efficiency. But, perhaps you’ve been hesitant to make the purchase because you still have questions, like what do power programmers do? Read on to discover how programmers work to improve the overall performance and efficiency of your vehicle.

What Exactly is a Car or Truck Programmer?

Modern vehicles are controlled by an onboard computer. This computer features a chip that tells it when and how to adjust your vehicle’s settings. These settings include your car’s timing, turbo boost, air-to-fuel ratio, knock sensitivity and more. But, because the factories make these settings for the average driver and to operate off a wide range of potentially low-quality fuel around the world, your onboard computer may be robbing you of power.

Power programmers, often referred to as performance chips, are an aftermarket modification that can alter your onboard computer’s settings. By altering these settings, your power programmer can increase your car’s horsepower, torque and fuel efficiency.

How Do Programmers Improve Your Vehicle’s Performance?

Your vehicle’s factory chip contains what is referred to as a lookup table. The lookup table contains data that tells your engine how to respond under different circumstances. It determines this by collecting data in real time from a variety of sensors. These include oxygen sensors, ambient air temperature sensors, map (manifold absolute pressure) sensors, knock sensors, exhaust gas temperature sensors and so on. When you install a performance chip, this changes your engine’s table values and adjusts parameters in order to give you the best performance possible. It might, for example, request a greater ignition timing advance with higher octane fuel because it can see that the knock sensor is not detecting pre-ignition, and the engine can handle additional output without harm.

In order to make your buying decision easier, be sure to take a look at the customer reviews on our website. You can find out just what other enthusiasts have to say about each programmer organized by vehicle type, so you can see what people have to say for your specific vehicle.

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I'm an off-road enthusiast behind the wheel of a perpetual project 4x4 Tacoma. I like to play in the rocks, but won't shy away from fast runs through the desert. My passion came from my dad whose had me in and around cars for as long as I can remember.