CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Performance Chip

Do Performance Chips work? The chip I was looking at to buy claimed to give me +50 HP and save 3-6+ MPG.

Do they work? Yes, they make lots of profit for those selling them.
Will it give you 50 HP more? No, not at all.
Will it increase MPG? Probably not.

Performance chips can boost performance, but it’s done at the expense of mileage.

You might even look for a package that includes not only a chip but also new injectors and perhaps even other parts. Civics have become probably the single most “riced up” cars, and there’s lots of goodies out there. You may even visit some Civic forums for ideas.

Nope. Think of it this way, why wouldn’t Honda have done that in the first place, if it was that simple? Carmakers spend huge amounts of money to get those benefits. Modern cars aren’t normally ‘chipped’, anyway, the computer is reprogrammed, with the help of a dyno. A $60 chip is a scam, pure and simple.

50 more hp from a Civic? What is that about a 30% increase. I think my stock '03 Civic EX is about 150 hp, so 50 more hp would be 200 - that would make it a rocket at the drag strip! I don’t think so.

No magical chip is going get you 50 HP on a N/A gas engine. If this is a car that’s less that 14 or 15 years old, you’d probably be using a hand held tuner that connects to the car’s ECU via the OBDII port. Piggyback chips are pretty outdated and it’s unusual to see them these days.

If you’re talking about the miracle chips that sell for about $12-$40 on eBay, forget it. Those are just 1 cent resistors that do next to nothing other than making your car run richer than it should.

It’s simple math and physics. You can’t increase performance and fuel mileage. If it was at all possible then all new vehicles would come direct from the factory with the device installed.

The logic of “if these benifits came at such a cheap price the manufacture would already be doing it” does not sink in to “main stream America”

The engines are powerful for their size already and if you do get still more power, you will break something and the price of a new engine will knock you over.