Engine Tuner – Is It Worth It For Your Truck?
What could possibly be more exciting than owning a car? It’s your companion on the road when all else seems bleak, and it can even be your home should things go awry for any reason. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that you find most people treating their cars with such love and care. If this is how car owners treat their vehicles, you can only imagine how a truck owner would. It’s a totally different experience, and the performance you get is on a whole other level. Still, a truck does require a lot of maintenance and care, and you might find yourself considering alternative options to boost its performance, which brings us to an important question: is an engine tuner worth it for your truck?
What is an engine tuner?
Before you can decide if an engine tuner is really worth it for your truck, you first have to understand what it is. An engine tuner basically recalibrates the computer settings of your vehicle by plugging into the diagnostic port. As a result, you get to optimize engine and transmission performance, and most likely fuel mileage as well, though that one can get a bit tricky as you’ll see later. The tuner mostly affects your transmission, fuel, and spark in the truck.
How does an engine tuner work?
When you install a tuner, it will start changing the ratio between open throttle air to fuel, which increases the power of the vehicle and gives you improved performance. This happens without changing the cruise, air-to-fuel ratio—so you’ll keep the factory settings in this one for extra safety and the best fuel mileage. You will also get an improved and increased spark timing, which happens through the throttle range, enhancing throttle response and power.
Tuner producers also claim that an engine tuner can add 3 or 4 mpg, which will end up saving you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you drive long distances. Naturally, it will depend on how and where you drive, but on average, you can get improved miles per gallon, and save quite a few dollars by installing an engine tuner. On the other hand, some argue that the enhanced horsepower and added torque can actually cost you more fuel if you don’t really need it. In other words, engine tuners are best used for trucks that tow or carry heavy equipment, because they do need the extra power and torque, but if you’re getting it just to boost the performance, it might end up costing you some extra dollars on fuel.
Even the transmission settings are changed, and you usually get altered shift speed and pressure, and you will start noticing the difference in performance immediately with these changes as you start taking your truck for a ride.
Finding the best engine tuner
Trying to find the best engine tuner for your truck might just be the most complicated part of this entire process, because there are many out there, each with different specs and features. You’ll need to do a little digging to find the optimum solution for your own truck. As you can see in this tuner guide, the list of the best tuners on the market is diverse, with different models from various manufacturers. You get models like the SCT – 7015 – X4 Performance Tuner, which is considered to be one of the best on the market, and comes with plenty of options that could significantly enhance your truck’s performance.
Other advantages of installing an engine tuner
There are few, if any, downsides to installing an engine tuner really, and it will alter your experience with the truck in more ways than you could possibly imagine. On average, power gains with an engine tuner can go as high as 10 to 40 HP if you’re using a gas engine, depending on several factors, including the make of the vehicle and how well you drive, the road, and so on. Diesel engines get an even higher power gain, going as high as 75 to 200 HP, not to mention significant mpg improvements that could reach 5.
These changes will not only affect your vehicle, but also how you experience driving it. You will start noticing a huge change in throttle response and your shifting will feel a lot more responsive. Even small details like the delay to get into the power enrichment mode will be improved, which can sometimes be as high as 10 seconds. All of these changes will result in an enjoyable and enhanced driving experience because you will feel the change when you take your truck on the road.
Performance aside, engine tuners can be updated via the internet, which makes it a lot easier for owners to get the latest versions as that will make a huge difference in the performance of the vehicle. Moreover, tuners are used for engine diagnostics as well as performance testing, which is a huge plus considering diagnostics can sometimes be a pain, but with tuners, things are a little bit better.
While the general consensus is that engine tuners are definitely worth it, they do come with some problems in certain cases. As mentioned earlier, with some trucks, they won’t save you money on fuel, because they will actually force you to pump more into the engine to support that added horsepower. This won’t cause problems with just the fuel consumption, but also the engine condition, as this constant strain on your transmission may wear out the vehicle’s parts, shortening its lifespan and causing the engine to deteriorate at a faster rate.
So, to answer the question asked at the beginning of the article, are engine tuners worth it? Yes, they are. They could help improve your truck’s performance and fuel mileage in the long run—if you pick the right model for the right truck, that is. At the end of the day, you need to do a little research to find out if getting one is your best option, and whether or not it can actually help your vehicle.