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Introduction to Engine Tuning: Should I be looking to tune my own car?

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Should I be looking to tune my own car?


00:00 - Tuning your own car can be an immensely satisfying task for those who are interested in the technical side of engine operation.
00:08 This can be an appealing option and this was also how I got started in the industry myself.
00:14 You do need to make sure that you're making this decision for the right reasons though, 'cause if you think you're going to save money compared to getting your car tuned by a professional workshop, you're probably going to be disappointed.
00:27 There's a reasonable cost involved with the equipment you need to get started tuning.
00:32 And I consider this equipment essential, if you want to get the right results and ensure engine reliability.
00:40 At least you own your own dyno.
00:42 You might also want to rent dyno time at some point and this adds to the expense.
00:47 One of the advantages of tuning your own car however, is that you have complete control over the process.
00:54 While there are certainly some excellent tuners all around the world, who are capable of producing excellent results, sadly these guys and girls are in the minority and finding a local trustworthy tuner with a proven track record, can be difficult.
01:12 Tuning your own car means that you can take your time, ensure no corners are being cut, and make sure that nothing has been overlooked.
01:21 Done correctly, you can end up with a result that rivals the very best professional tuners in the market.
01:28 You'll often end up with better power and torque on the wide open throttle operation, and just as importantly, an engine that feels more responsive and lively to throttle input.
01:40 You can also find that this comes along with improved fuel economy.
01:45 With the huge range of different engines out there in the world these days, often an enthusiast who lives and breathes their particular model and has spent countless hours trawling internet forums to learn all there is to know, will have better knowledge of any idiosyncrasies relating to their engine than many tuners will.
02:05 This might mean that more power or torque can be extracted based on this knowledge, or more importantly, potential engine failures can be avoided if there are known weaknesses.
02:18 If you want to begin tuning, you do need to understand though, like any new skill, tuning will take some time for you to master the techniques and become competent in applying these changes on the road or the dyno.
02:32 While you're still learning, you're likely to make mistakes and you need to understand that sometimes these mistakes can end up being costly.
02:41 Back when I learnt how to tune, I got started on relatively low powered naturally aspirated engines.
02:48 And these offered the ideal platform to apply the lessons that I had learned with relative safety.
02:54 In general, a low powered naturally aspirated engine will be a little more tolerant of a lean air fuel ratio, or too much ignition timing while you're dialling in the tune compared to a highly strung turbo engine.
03:08 Now that's not to say that it's impossible to learn how to tune on a turbo charged engine, but everything does happen a little faster and the room for error is reduced significantly.
03:21 These are the considerations that you need to keep in mind when you're deciding if tuning is for you.
03:27 If you're serious about getting involved in EFI tuning as a career, I'd even advise that you consider purchasing a cheap naturally aspirated car to begin practising on.
03:38 You don't need something making 800 wheel horsepower to begin practising your tuning skills and there will still be plenty for you to learn, even on the most basic of naturally aspirated engines.

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