For years tuning has been a black art

And it's generally because no one wants to tell you their secrets. Not with Shark Performance. We'll happily show you what we're doing, and explain why.

It's a common misconception that tuning a car is some kind of wizardry, and at the other end of the scale there are so many remapping companies out there who discredit what goes in to a tuning job, as generally they don't actually make the modifications to the maps themselves.

Modern ECUs have over 9,000 maps and 13,000 pages of documentation and flow diagrams to explain them

It's true. This is why cheap remaps are scary. With that amount of information available for an ECU, and hundreds of ECU types out there, how is it possible to know them all? If you had read all that information and begun to understand the hundreds if not thousands of changes that are required to make a well crafted remap, what would you sell it for? £50? £10? £100? Oh and don't forget the required tools to read and write the information, and laptop to do it on. And the software required to interpret maps and edit them once you know what they are and what they do. And the dyno required to repeatably test the changes you make. And a building to put it in. And.. well, you get the idea!

The selling price of a remap has to represent how complicated the job is to perform, the research and development required to perform it, and to cover the time spent applying it. Look for good value, not a low price.

So what is edited in an average remap?

This depends on whether the vehicle is petrol or diesel, and the age of the vehicle which will dictate the ECU type and therefore how the ECU will require modification to make more power. Important things to change on a petrol ECU would be ignition timing, injection duration, air flow limiters, lambda targets and limits, exhaust gas temperature protection maps, boost pressure, fuel pressure and many more. On a diesel ECU, similar things would require alteration although as a diesel engine is compression ignition, it requires very precise injection control from timing to duration.

 In this example, you can see a preview of the ignition timing maps in the Stage 2 software running on our Golf R. This software version has over 19,000 changes made in order to have to car producing 395bhp, up from the standard 310PS.

In this example, you can see a preview of the ignition timing maps in the Stage 2 software running on our Golf R. This software version has over 19,000 changes made in order to have to car producing 395bhp, up from the standard 310PS.

How do I know that it's been done properly?

Unfortunately that's a very simple one to answer, and the answer is, you don't! But hopefully you have trust in your tuner by recommendation or previous experience that they will do a high quality job at a reasonable price for the work done. As the saying goes, buy cheap, buy twice, but as in any industry and with any service or product, more expensive doesn't necessarily mean higher quality either.

Make sure that you talk to your preferred tuner about what they're going to do, how they're going to achieve it, and how they ensure that it is safe. Not every tuner has a dyno of their own, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but be sure that they at least take datalogs when tuning to ensure that everything is within a safe working tolerance and the car is correctly achieving what is being requested of it.

What if I'm unsure?

If you're unsure about the work done to your car, or the standard or quality of the work, firstly talk to your tuner. The internet is full of misinformation peddled by people who like the sound of their own voice and maybe have a little knowledge. As with most things, a little knowledge can often be a dangerous thing. In the second instance, go somewhere independent to have your car dyno'd and/or datalogged to see what is going on, and if it is safe and performing correctly. But beware, when other parties get involved, sometimes "Tuner Wars" can begin. Look out for those quick to judge a book by its cover or to open a conversation about another tuner negatively. Often in the tuning industry, we find that those who shout the loudest often have the most to hide, and that amazingly those in glass houses are usually the ones throwing all the stones!