Car Bibles is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
A performance chip improves your vehicle’s fuel economy and provides more power. Plus, it can have a great effect on your vehicle’s efficiency. Since there are a variety of performance chips out there, it can be challenging to choose the right one for your car or truck. And, admittedly, it’s probably a bit surprising that such a power-up even exists. But here we are. In the buying guide below, we list the features of a great tuning chip and answer frequently asked questions, so you can choose the right one for your needs. So without further ado, let’s look at some of the best performance chips on the market right now.
The Best Performance Chip
This item focuses on the power and torque of your car by overriding the four-cylinder mode with the V8 option, allowing you to quickly and forcefully move when you need to. Just be aware that your vehicle will need to host the Active Fuel Management system in order for this performance chip to work.
Connects to the OBDII port
Suits most domestic vehicles that feature Active Fuel Management (AFM)
Forces regular V8 mode
- Weight0.8 ounces
Very simple installation with no tuning or alterations required
Quickly resolves lagging problems often seen when changing from 4 to 8 cylinders
Not suitable for cars without AFM
No tuning of personalization abilities
The easy-to-read screen displays all the information you need, making it easy to monitor your performance and to self-regulate. You should be aware, however, that this option does not come with any tuning abilities and acts as a monitor only.
Suitable for vehicles with an OBDII (diagnostic) port
Range of on-screen colors and designs available
- BrandEdge Products
- Weight12.8 ounces
Touch screen makes it easier to manage tasks and monitoring
Slimline and easy to carry when not in use
Great for monitoring and diagnostics
This is only a monitor, so no tuning capabilities
Screen can slow down considerably over time
Since it’s so small, the change that this simple addition can make is incredible. It uses a plug-and-play style of installation, so you don’t have to worry about spending hours tinkering under your hood. You can even maintain your warranty with this option.
Designed for high-load vehicles
Disables 4-cylinder mode
- BrandRange Technology
- Weight3.2 ounces
Does not reprogram factory settings, maintaining your warranty
Ideal for vehicles with high-load requirements, such as tow trucks
Very easy to install with a plug and play system
Can result in “check engine” light coming on
Affects miles-per-gallon negatively
There are four adjustable modes that are pre-programmed into this tuner, which can also be altered to give you a massive 36 configurations to best suit your needs. It also comes with an app, which acts as your display and allows you to easily see the output and efficiency of your system.
Improves fuel economy
Very easy to install and use
- BrandPedal Commander
- ModelPc-18 Pc-30
- Weight7 ounces
Doesn’t void your car warranty
Very easy to install as a plug-and-play application
Comes with a phone application for easier controls
Does not provide the same positive results in heavier trucks
Unfortunately, this option comes with very few, limited adjustments and mostly acts as a monitor. While you can alter it for tire size, axles, and so on, there are few improvements beyond this.
Fits Jeeps only
Handheld, plug-and-play device
Works with upgraded equipment
- Weight5.6 ounces
Ideal for those looking for the most personalized experience
Quick and easy to use
Hosts some nice features that customers appreciate
No overall performance enhancement
Suitable for Jeep Wrangler JL only
The device fits a huge range of vehicles and can hold up to 20 custom tuning programs, allowing you to fully customize your driving experience. It also comes with a full-color display, so you can clearly and easily see your monitoring information during use and keep an eye on your fuel economy.
Fits a wide variety of vehicles
- BrandSCT Performance
- Weight15.7 ounces
Holds up to 20 individual custom tuning files
Provides clear information via the full-color display
Customer support is hard to reach with limited hours
Be aware, however, that the more complex the system, the more likely you’ll run into problems when things go wrong. This is especially true in this case as users note that when things fail it can be extremely hard to sort and resolve technical issues.
Dash-mounted LCD display
Ability to diagnose and clear fault codes
Clear display uses day and night modes
- BrandBully Dog
- Weight1.02 pounds
Pre-loaded with fuel-saving tuning for most cars
15 performance parameters are displayed at once using the full-color screen
Some users note struggles with technical errors
Users note only marginal improvements overall
It does, however, negatively affect your MPG, and even the lifetime warranty isn’t quite enough to save this shortfall – although it’s definitely a nice little bonus to a popular and simple choice.
Comes with six settings
Very popular product
Easy to install
- BrandTS Performance
- Weight4 ounces
Easy to switch between tunings
Comes with a lifetime warranty
Negatively affects MPG
Components can be sensitive and prone to blowing a fuse
Users appreciate the customization abilities as well as the pre-loaded programs, which make using this power chip even easier. The only real downfalls are the price (it’s twice as much as some other options) and the regularity of updates, which seem to happen constantly.
Comes with preloaded programs
Highly popular among users
- BrandDiablo Sports
- Weight6.7 ounces
Great for personalized motors
Very easy to install and set up
One of the most expensive options on our list
Frequently requires updates
It will not work in customized vehicles, so swapping from another tuner to this option is not the best idea. It also gets slammed by users for the high price tag – an understandable qualm, considering the same programs can be covered by cheaper options.
Two-year warranty included
Loved by customers
Compatible with 1999-2016 GM gasoline and diesel engine trucks
- Weight11.2 ounces
Full-color screen is easy to diagnose, find faults, as well as tune
Sends power to Chevy Silverados, GMC Sierras, and other trucks
Won’t work with customized computing in vehicles
Many customers aren’t happy with the overall value
You should be aware, however, that many users have had problems with the customer support from Hypertech. Indeed, many have noted that this company is much more focused on the sales side, so you may find yourself having to upgrade once you start having problems.
Award-winning performance chip
Works with regular, premium, E85 and diesel fuel types
- Weight12.8 ounces
Plenty of options and tuning programs to choose from
Works with customized vehicles
Poor customer service
Only works on a maximum of three vehicles
This is most likely because the additional 25Bhp that this item provides is best utilized by heavier vehicles that can handle the change in tuning. It even works well with customized vehicles and therefore is one of the most popular options.
Best to use with larger trucks
Works with wide range of models
- Weight1.19 pounds
Provides up to an additional 25Bhp
Can be adjusted to fit a customized vehicle
The check engine light often appears when in use
Not designed for added throttle/Bhp
Almost all users have noted that there is a clear and direct change in overall performance after using this programmer. Most commonly, the transmission and shifting are much easier and smoother. Just be aware that fakes may be sold, and customer service may be subpar for any problems you may have down the road.
Includes three pre-set tunes
Modifies rev and speed limit
- BrandJet Performance
- Weight12.8 ounces
Noticable gain in performance
Simple to set up
Three levels of power and easy to use
Customer service isn’t that great
Fake products are prevalent
This item only works with Ford F-150s, so make sure your make and model match the requirements. It also needs to be attached using the dash pod, which makes installation and set up a little awkward.
Helps increase power
Comes with dash pod for installation
Customizable to suit your vehicle
- BrandEdge Products
- Weight1.6 pounds
Provides significant gains in horsepower and torque
Can be calibrated to suit tire size
Overall MPG decreases
Can be awkward to fit as it needs to be attached to the dash
More expensive than many options on our list
Best Performance Chip Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying a Performance Chip
- Vehicle Make and Model
Naturally, you’ll want a performance chip that is suited to the make and model of your car. Not all power chips are universal, so you should always check with the manufacturer before purchasing your next chip.
Amazon has a handy feature which gives you a good idea as to whether a new component will match with your current vehicle but it’s always better to be safe than sorry when spending hundreds of dollars on a new item for your car.
- Fuel Type
Your fuel type will have an effect on which items you can buy for your car. Diesel performance parts are naturally going to be very different from standard gas components, and diesel tuning requires a different set of systems to gas tuning. Thus, in this example, you’ll need to be sure that you grab a diesel programmer that can match your fuel type. Just like the make and model, you need to be completely sure in order to be safe, so do get in contact with the company if you have any uncertainty.
Each performance chip comes with its own set of pre-loaded programs, but there are also some that allow you to create and alter your own tuning programs. These are incredibly handy if you’re looking for a specific output to be increased and so on, but they are often more complicated and harder to get to grips with. Decide what you’re comfortable with first, before purchasing your power chip.
Depending on how you like to check out your data, you may find that you prefer a smaller monitor that you only need to access during tune-ups – or a full-color monitor that provides details of every aspect of your vehicle.
Bear in mind that you may need to carry your new monitor around with you, while parked up or will have to find a place to store it when not in use, so be sure you’re comfortable with this before immediately choosing the biggest option.
Benefits of a Tuning Chip
- Increased Performance
The main idea behind performance chips is that they improve the overall performance of your vehicle. Whether you’re looking for increased fuel efficiency or are more interested in the power and speed of your beloved truck or car, a good power chip will help you get the most from your engine, without the need for constant trips to the mechanic or shop.
When something goes wrong in your car, it can be something or nothing. The worst feeling is when you take your vehicle to the shop, only to discover that the problem was only a minor fault in the first place and could easily have been fixed by yourself at a fraction of the cost.
With many performance chips, you’ll find that the system includes a diagnosis and reporting option. This allows you to skip past the line to the mechanic and check out the basic electrical faults for yourself, saving you from a red face and damaged wallet.
Regardless of what your main goal is, it’s always a good idea for regular road users to be able to keep an eye on their vehicles. Whether you’re a commuter or a long-distance driver, being able to easily see how your vehicle is driving gives you peace of mind and allows you to see any upcoming troubles and quickly spot even small issues and changes in your engine before they become even bigger problems.
- Lower Running Costs
While some performance chips come with the ability to increase your power and torque, this can have a negative effect on your MPG. Others, however, are able to help you increase your fuel efficiency by giving you easy-to-read data that allows you to see when you’re using too much energy to get around, and so on.
By doing this, you become more conscious of your driving and therefore improve your overall MPG. Meanwhile, others provide tuning programs to help you gain the most out of your driving and help you to become more fuel efficient without even having to think about it.
Types of Programmers and Performance Chips
- Control Modules
These plug into the electrical system under your hood, where they then become permanent fixtures. They are known for providing accurate, detailed information on a real-time basis, as they are continually reading and assessing your engine and computer system. They will then analyze the output and efficiency, adjusting your engine to suit the new tuning program.
- Power Programmers
A power programmer works in a very similar way to control modules, with the main difference being a “plug and play” capacity, which allows you to easily add the performance chip to your car. Once you have added the gadget to your OBDII port, you will need to answer a few questions about your car in order to get the best set-up – so be sure to keep your manual nearby.
These should only need to be kept in for around 10 minutes, although they will likely need to be updated regularly. This helps to keep your cars tuning up to date and can be done via your desktop or laptop, usually using the same plug and play system.
- Engine Management Systems
An engine management system allows you to gain full and complete control over the tuning of your car. Usually preferred by truck and SUV drivers, it can handle everything in your engine – from fuel injector systems to your idle speed. At which point all of the information should be made available to you, using a screen that allows you to flick between different tuning programs. They are, however, the most difficult to install in your vehicle, as well as being considerably more expensive.
Best Performance Chip FAQ:
Q: What is a performance chip and how does it work?
A: Performance chips, also known as superchips or power chips, are designed to be an aftermarket computing update for your car. Some of these will completely override your current computing system, while others work alongside it to get the most out of your car.
For some “the most” translates to the best speed, torque, highest power or even something as simple as a smoother ride and increased fuel economy. Each one runs on a different code, so the results are different, depending on which option you’d like to purchase.
Q: Does a performance chip increase horsepower?
A: The majority of power chips don’t actually help by increasing horsepower. Instead, the focus is on creating a more economical drive. That said, there are a number of options that focus on providing a more impressive torque, while also improving the overall horsepower of your engine.
Before buying your next chip, be sure to check that your selection offers this, as you may be disappointed by some of the others if you’re looking for a more powerful engine. You should also be aware this increased power naturally comes with a reduction in your MPG.
Q: Will a performance chip damage my engine?
A: A good performance chip should never have a negative effect on your engine. It will, however, void your warranty and it’s likely that branded garages won’t touch your car after you have altered the computer within it. It is also likely to increase your emissions, meaning that you could fail your emissions testing. Finally, you should be aware that chips can lower the overall lifespan of your car, and these factors usually cause your insurance premiums to rise in kind.
Q: How do I install a performance chip?
A: Many of the options given on our list use a simple “plug and play” design. To install these, you’ll simply need to connect your performance chip to the OBDII port, and you should be good to go. The most complicated part of installing a power chip is actually beforehand – as many will need to be updated with your PC or laptop before being connected. In order to do this, it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to get the precise tune you’re looking for.
Our Top Pick
We love the DiabloSport Car Fuel Management Module, as it can be used with a wide range of vehicles and enables plug-and-play installation. No tuning or alterations are required. It provides maximum power and performance by overriding your vehicle’s four-cylinder mode to achieve V8 mode. In addition, it won’t drain your battery and overall works as advertised.
- How Does a Performance Chip Work? – It Still Runs
- Engine remapping and chipping: guide, tips and cost – Car Buyer
- How To Program Car's ECU (Guide to Car Tuning / Chip Programming) – Total Car Diagnostic