Critics say automakers can be greener with better computer programming

Twenty years ago, hot rodders were buying "chips" for the engines to boost power. These E-PROM chips carried the fuel and spark programming codes in the engine-control units ( ECU). Instead of manually adjusting the spark advance and rejetting a carburetor, tuners on EFI engines would have to pull the chip and reprogram the fuel and spark maps with a computer. Modern cars have flash memory in the ECUs. Today's tuners going for more power either replace the entire ECU or reflash the program.

A leading online seller of new cars in England says automakers aren't getting the most green out of their engine-management computers. Ling Valentine says the same engine is spread over a variety of vehicles and programmed for reliability and reduced service intervals.

Simon Hall, who runs a reprogramming shop for a variety of vehicles, makes the same argument that today's vehicles can be greener with a few changes in the computer code.

Basically, the two feel that consumers should be allowed to "chip" their cars without fear of losing a warranty.

[Source: Auto Industry]

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