Chip Tuning in South Africa

Is Chip Tuning in South Africa Missing Something?

Chip tuning in South Africa is growing into a vibrant community, with members from all walks of life. Farmers, mechanics and car enthusiasts alike have become passionate about the manipulation of the modern vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU) to get a bit more kick from their vehicles. But it costs money to push vehicles to their limit – not only that spent on modifications, but fuel as well. And we know a drop in fuel prices today is simply a harbinger of the steep rise tomorrow.

Eco tuning is a concept and practice the South African market still needs to expand upon. Simply put, eco-tuning is the optimisation of a vehicle’s performance to reduce the amount of fuel it uses. In many cases this can be done without affecting the vehicle’s power output, which means it will still be able to tear up the roads on our seemingly endless South African highways.

It is in fact possible to extract more power from a vehicle’s engine while ensuring that it consumes less fossil fuel, thereby benefitting the environment. Possible output increases can fall in the 15% - 20% range, while fuel savings can be anything from 2 to 6 litres per 100 kilometres. Although not the average 40% of a vehicle tuned exclusively for power, it does give the driver the best of both worlds.

The efficacy of eco tuning is however very much dependent on where the vehicle is used. In enclosed areas like cities where stop-go is almost continuous and gear changes are frequent, the eco-tuned vehicle will naturally still consume a fair amount of fuel (though less than its default amount). The effect of eco tuning is perhaps best visible in vehicles that drive long distances on a regular basis. Since open roads allow for constant travelling, and since gear changes are minimal, the fuel economy of the vehicle increases. This turns out better for the environment, and ensures that the household budget depletes less speedily.

In the end it comes down to how much fuel you can afford over the long run, and how much you care about the environment (which, we hope, you do). Fuel consumption (and engine longevity) is as much dependent on the engine as it is on driving technique – which means chip tuning in South Africa should be accompanied by an ethos of responsible and economical driving among farmers, mechanics and car enthusiasts, as well as their acquaintances driving unmodified cars.


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