In todays world of modern electronically controlled engines we have to be very carful about what we purchase when it comes to anything called “Tuning”. There are so many “Scams” up for sale in popular places like EBAY and you really need understand what “Tuning “ is before you purchase anything…

What is Tuning….”Real Tuning”.. this is the act of someone (a Real Person) making changes to the programing on your Engine Control Module in a way that corrects flaws and changes factory values which the outcome is a more efficient running engine that could produce more power. The Word “Tuning” is short for the old school word “Tune-Up”.

What to stay away from, Red Flags: if you find a product that says something to the effect of:
“Plug this device into your OBD2 port and get instant gains”
“Splice this chip into your MAF Wiring harness and it will give you x-amount of HP gains
Plug this handheld into your OBD2 port and press a button for a magic bump in HP.
In short.. If the process of Tuning does not start with a reputable tuner pulling your stock file as the starting point this is not any type of “Real Tuning”.

Canned Tuning…. What is it… Well in short, if a company asks you to send in your ECM for tuning.. it’s more of a “Canned” Calibration and not Tuning.. Tuning requires the specific collection of data in key areas so that the Programing can be precisely changed for the better. Canned Calibrations are a “One-Time” flash to the ECM with no real follow up or detail. A good example of a “Canned Calibration” is the GMPP Stage Tunes they offered over the years, these were designed to keep the car compliant with 50state emissions guidelines and calibrate for new sensors or pulleys, etc. It was a one time flash with no data collection resulting in tweaks.

Local vs Remote Tuning… Many people have owned cars in the past and they might have a local tuner that they have worked with in the past…or maybe you simply did a Google search for tuning and found a local tuning shop… Can they do a better job tuning your car than say RPM-Motorsports tuning your car by remote?? Well the answer is … Maybe.. So ask these questions..

  • Does the local tuner you found have a strong reputation / presence in the engine you want to have tuned? For Example: if you have a 2007 Solstice GXP with a Direct Injection 2.0 Turbo Engine but the tuner you found has nothing but Port Injected V8’s in their shop or on their web site it’s a good bet they are not proficient in your engines programing language.
  • Port injection is radically different from Direct Injection.. Make sure your tuner has ample experience with your platform..
  • Pricing… Many local tuning shops will charge more than what remote tuning costs from a reputable online tuning house. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the Speed Shop down the road who wants to charge you $700 for dyno tuning is going to yield you a better tune than say an Online Remote tuner who specializes in your engine / platform and they only charge $399.. it simply means that they have done thousands of your very same engine and have the process down therefore streamlining the experience keeping the cost as low as possible.


Real ECM Tuning.. The Process… Any reputable Tuner will start by making a copy of the tune file that is on the car when they start.. this is usually the factory tune or in some cases a bad tune that has caused the vehicle to not run correctly and the owner is looking to have the issues corrected. Either way the tuner should be able to provide you with a “Change-Log” at the end showing what was actually done as part of their process. The Tuner should also collect a good Datalog on the car before any tuning is started… this way they have detailed idea of how healthy the car is before they start building power. They also need to gather any issues that need to be addressed as part of the tuning process, after all part of a good tune is the ability to make the engine over all healthier from when it first started the process. In the end the tuner should always offer you a copy of the starting file or stock file and the last file they put on the car, if they don’t make sure to ask for it.

Hidden Costs.. Know what your getting: Tuning has many constants like… you need to have an interface to communicate with your cars ECM.. who is supplying this.. Many tuners push you into purchasing your own interface so that they can have access to your car… this is a not a bad option if you want “Long Term” support.. but it turns say a $399 tune into a $799 tune if you have to spend $400 on an HP Tuners Interface… Here at RPM-Motorsports we have a program that has been running for over a decade called the Loaner V-Tuner Service, with all tuning we offer by default we include the use of one of our Loaner kits “Free” to our customer..

The way of the V-Tuner: Our process is simple.. Once you order either a package that requires tuning or just tuning outright we will get you on a list to receive one of our loaner kits. Once you receive the kit in the mail you will make your appointment for your Live Tuning session with our in house tuner. Tuning usually takes 2 hours for most cars, sometimes more difficult tuning can stretch over several days. Once tuning is complete you are sent a pre-paid label, put the Loaner V-Tuner equipment in the box..tape it up and put the provided label on the outside…drop it off at the post office.. Its that simple.. And you did not have to purchase the interface outright keeping your tuning cost to a minimum.