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How Optimal Automotive perform ECU remapping: A step by step guide

Updated: Feb 21

ECU remapping

In this blog post we explain our approach to ECU remapping, the benefits our approach brings to YOU the car owner, and highlight areas where we feel we go above and beyond some other remapping companies.

After reading this blog, you will have a better idea of what a first-class mobile remapping service looks like, and if you decide to make a booking, what to expect on the day of your remap.

ECU remapping : Our Four Step Process

The car remapping process involves identifying the ECU, reading data from it and writing new data back to it. However, we take the time to follow this process extremely carefully and add extra elements to give you complete peace of mind that your pride and joy is in safe hands.

ECU remapping step zero - A frictionless sales experience

ECU remap gains

Prior to the appointment, we take the time to answer your questions via phone, chat services or email. We aim to respond to you quickly and efficiently and use non-technical language to explain our services and answer your questions.

We make it easy for you to find estimated gains for your vehicle, and we will discuss options available to customise your remap, to provide you the best outcome.

When you decide to make an ECU remapping booking, you can do this on our website, or we send you a proforma invoice with simple instructions on how to make a deposit. You get an email outlining what to expect at the appointment and a description of extra services you might like to upgrade to.

We will send you an appointment reminder 24 hours before your remap, we will arrive on time and be polite and professional throughout.

Our aim is to make a superb first impression, and give you a service that exceeds your expectations. We are friendly and approachable, and you can ask us questions at any time.

ECU remapping step one - Comprehensive Pre-Tuning Health Check

Diagnostic testing Haverhill

Using the latest professional-spec diagnostic tools, we check for faults and errors logged by your ECU. We send you an email with a link to access a digital copy of the diagnostic report to keep for reference. Sometimes there might be issues with your vehicle that aren’t related to the remap, and it’s useful to have the report to discuss with your garage when arranging with other necessary repairs. It’s normal for diagnostic scanning to start at £50, so having a copy of the report helps save you money when troubleshooting issues.

Next we perform a visual inspection of the engine, listen for any issues and take a road test. Everything we find is documented in a Vehicle Condition Report, and we will include recommendations where any work may be necessary.

The goal of our thorough Pre-Tuning Health Check is to confirm your engine is happy and healthy and suitable for tuning. If there are any issues related to the remap, we will discuss these with you in non-technical language, try to fix what we can there and then, or advise your options. It’s rare, but if your car isn’t suitable for tuning on the day, we will arrange a subsequent appointment.

Lastly we perform some basic safety checks, like checking tyre tread wear, tyre pressures, inspect wiper blades, check screen wash levels and oil level where a dipstick is present. Although none of this is related to the remap, we like to ensure your car is in a basic roadworthy condition.

Our Pre-Tuning Health Check takes longer than some mobile remappers spend on the whole job!

ECU remapping step two - live data logging and GPS timing.

ECU data logging Haverhill

To get a deeper understanding of the condition of your engine and its baseline performance, we can complete live data logging during the road test. Not all ECU’s support this method of live data logging, but we offer it where we can. We do need an appropriate road and weather conditions to do this safely.

Data logging involves connecting equipment to the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic port, which takes measurements from the engine's sensors during a heavy acceleration run. We then analyse this data in specialist software, letting us see if the engine is performing as it should. A good example is turbo boost pressure. We can compare the boost set point (what the factory mapping requests) and the actual boost delivered by the turbo. This helps identify if the turbo is healthy and working well.

We also use GPS timing equipment to accurately record 30-70 MPH & 50-70 MPH times, which are key baseline driveability metrics we refer to later.

GPS timing

We think these timing tests are important, because they reflect the way you drive on the road, and are a great measure of the improvement from a remap. We do need an appropriate road and weather conditions to do this safely.

ECU remapping step three - Recalibrating your ECU settings

ECU remapping Haverhill

To remap your ECU we use either the vehicle's OBD port, or connect directly to the ECU. We will always use the most appropriate method for your car.

When using the OBD port, we then connect our professional spec battery support unit to stabilse the voltage to the car battery, which is absolutely critical to minimising the risk of damaging the ECU. Many mobile remappers skip this step, or use inappropriate equipment such as jump packs or even jump leads from their own vehicle! We don’t take unnecessary risks, and do our best to ensure the safety of your ECU.

Next we identify the ECU make, model and version before reading the existing calibration of the ECU. This process varies depending on the car. Sometimes it’s a good idea to connect directly to the ECU even when an OBD remap is an option, because a “normal read” lets us check if the current mapping is original or tuned. We would typically do this on a vehicle such as a Golf R, as they are commonly tuned and you may not know this if you’ve not owned the car from new. If your ECU is already mapped, we will advise if we can improve the mapping and let you decide how to proceed. There are so many poor quality remap files being installed, that on most occasions we can offer an improvement.

The next step is to apply our changes to the calibration we read from your ECU. Our highly experienced file writing team updates your ECU software at their HQ. Everything is done via an online portal, and typically takes around thirty minutes to manually apply our dyno-proven calibration to your ECU file.

The final step is to update your ECU with the new settings, this taking typically less than thirty minutes.

ECU remapping step four - Final checks and road test

car remapping Haverhill

We perform some final diagnostic testing to reset and modules on the vehicle, then take a test drive.

We will datalog the engine again to check it has responded correctly to the remap, and we will measure your new 30-70 MPH and 50-70 MPH times using our GPS equipment. If the data logging suggests there is room to improve our base mapping, we will make minor modifications to the tune to maximise the gains.

Now all that’s left is for you to enjoy the new performance of your car!

The next day, we will send you a message to check everything is okay, and if you are kind enough to leave us a Google review about your ECU remapping experience, that would be much appreciated.

ECU remapping : Summary.

This is a long blog post, because unlike many mobile remapping companies, our process is very thorough. We focus on customer service, quality and professionalism at all times. We care about the outcome, we care about your car, and we aim to provide a great experience that you want to tell your friends and family about.

If you value more than just the cheapest price, please get in touch to see how we can improve the performance or economy of your vehicle. Click the button below to check what gains you could expect from our ECU remapping solutions.

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