Performance chips

I recently purchased a 2010 Honda Element. I’ve seen an add for a performance chip that is supposed to increase horsepower and gas mileage (which is mainly why I’m interested in this), while not voiding the car’s warranty. Are these for real and is it true they won’t affect the waranty if installed?
Also, I was looking at a rear Air Deflector to keep dirt off the back window. I’m curious if these actually work and whether or not they significantly affect gas mileage.

When modifying an engine, you essentially have a choice of increased performance or a slight increase in gas mileage. You can’t get both from the same modification.

Think about it–If things were this simple, why would the car’s manufacturer–with research & development resources far beyond those of an aftermarket company–have done the same thing?

As to not voiding the warranty, think again.
If you use the search function on this website, you should be able to locate a thread from a few months ago, relating to a diesel-powered Ford pickup truck. The owner–sadly–believed the hype about not voiding the warranty, and after essentially destroying the engine and having her warranty claim denied by Ford because of the presence of a “performance chip”, came to regret her VERY expensive mistake.

So–you may well be able to eke out a gain of a few HP if you install one of these chips.
However, you should not expect an increase in gas mileage, and you definitely shouldn’t expect Honda to stand behind its warranty coverage in the event of an engine or transmission problem.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, at least as it pertains to this type of situation.

Edited to add:
A rear air deflector will help to a very small extent, but don’t expect any dramatic reduction in the amount of dirt that accumulates on your rear window.

I commend you for asking the question before you wasted your money. There is no performance chip that will increase horsepower and increase gas mileage. The only thing the purchase will do is increase the sellers bank account and decrease yours. I’ve never seen a rear deflector that worked very well.

I’ll argue that if you’re willing to increase exhaust emissions beyond what’s legal, then increases in both power and gas mileage are possible. It was definitely true back in the 80s & 90s, though in today’s engines, likely to a lesser extent - due to improved combustion swirl.

[added] Now getting that from any off-the-shelf chip is a totally different topic.

The chips do little or nothing…The deflectors, properly installed, work pretty good. But they DO increase drag a little, especially at high speeds…Some get noisy at high speeds…

EBay is literally full of these chips and the operative word is “scam”.

The deflector can help to some extent but that also varies by vehicle as it depends on the shape of the vehicles’s tail end. The deflector disrupts the low pressure area that forms behind the car while it’s moving and this can help prevent, to some extent anyway, dirty water and dust being pulled upwards.
The deflector can also help to prevent CO being pulled up from the tailpipe and possibly entering the passenger cabin around a poorly fitting rear hatch or trunk seal as the case may be.

The more squared off the back end of the car is the more effective the deflector may be.

“Chips” on a 1996 or newer vehicle is almost always going to be a scam. ECU tuning on OBDII compliant vehicles is done with hand held tuner or a laptop. And yes using an aftermarket tune will certainly void your warranty. A new ECU tune by itself will give you a little more power, and you’ll have to run premium fuel to see any real gains. The tune that most cars have from the factory is more for maximum fuel mileage anyway, so there won’t be much, if any fuel economy gains to be had with using an aftermarket tune. ECU tuning is mainly used to extract the maximum benefit (HP) from other modifications you do to your car. By itself, it usually doesn’t do much. And some vehicles respond better than others. Diesels can get huge gains, but N/A gas powered vehicles are hit and miss for the most part.

@FoDadddy summarizes it well. Those web sites that list chips for every car, Lambo to Yugo, Ferrari to Honda, are a laugh. The amount of work it takes to actually improve the performance of a single car/engine/transmission combination is huge. It’s impossible for these scammers to do something for every car on the market. That’s why you’ll find a few car-specific companies that specialize in a few high performance engines, with products that work as FoDaddy describes, at significant cost.

An OBD II interface allows for setting the engines parameters for higher octane fuel. Doing so makes the timing more aggressive and improves response and fuel mileage at the cost of requiring higher octane fuel. The RPM limiter can also be by-passed. It doesn’t really seem worth the effort though.

I’m chime in on the spoiler, as I have added on to my 2008 SC model. I don’t drive on any dirt roads anymore, so I can’t tell if it will cut down on the dirt/dust accumulation. What I will tell you is that the ‘cool’ factor of the Element goes up a notch by adding said Air Deflector. About the mpg’s, no noticeable drop or gain.

Looks like this.

I'm chime in on the spoiler, as I have added on to my 2008 SC model.

The spoiler on your vehicle…as with many SUV’s…is NOT designed to improve gas mileage or mpg…it’s soul purpose is to keep the rear window clean…PERIOD.