Remapping a car is an increasingly popular way to increase the potential of a vehicles performance by adjusting the car's electronic control unit (ECU) to override the factory default settings. It is similar to the way people can overclock their computers.
In this article we're going to focus on the disadvantages of remapping a car as the advantages of doing so are well documented already, we're also going to give some information about remapping a lease car at the end of the guide.
What are the disadvantages of remapping a car?
Here are some points to consider before remapping
Simply put, it's impossible to know exactly what remapping will do to your car (and by that we mean how it will drive and handle the change) and whether the strain of the extra power will cause undesirable changes. This is particularly true of older cars or vehicles which haven't been remapped extensively in the past with little to no feedback for future customers.
However, most engines are designed to do more than they advertise and some would say that remapping is simply unlocking what is already there.
The more the car is pushed the more likely the results can be unpredictable to you, the driver.
It's not cheap
Remapping is not a service that dealers will offer for free. You can expect to pay at least £150 for a remap with the average cost being above £300. Various factors are involved in the cost such as whether or not you want a mounted device to be able to switch between remaps rather than having it always-on, for example.
Can void the warranty
The warranty of your vehicle (if it's new) will be based on the exact car and configuration that they've given you, any problems caused by unauthorised changes is very likely to void the warranty and you will have to pay out of your own pocket to resolve.
We have written a guide on modifying a leased car here for more information. If the manufacturer and the funder have given the go-ahead then it will be fine but if you've remapped a car without consent then you are likely to encounter problems if things go wrong.
No turbo, no point
If the vehicle doesn't have a turbo then there's very little point to remapping as the two main reasons to do so in the first place is power and torque.
More strain on the car
With great power comes great...strain on the engine, clutch, breaks and tyres and you may find yourself having problems all the time and need more regular services. Don't forget our previous point on the voided warranty here!
To help reduce the wear and tear you could consider upgrading the clutch, suspension, breaks, tyres, exhaust to a performance level for the car to handle the increased power better but that is a very expensive job and once again counts as modifications for your insurance provider to consider.
If it's a leased car then modifications will either not be allowed or demanded that they are reversed before handing the car back.
Car insurance premiums
Your car insurance WILL go up after a remap as it counts as a modification and the car becomes more powerful and therefore more likely to be in an accident. Also, you MUST tell your insurance company about the modification as otherwise, your insurance is void.
Some insurance companies may flat out refuse to cover modified cars to beware.
Increased fuel consumption
Although some have reported better fuel economy, particularly in diesels, the likelihood is that your fuel consumption will go up - not just because of the increase in power but also in the change in driving style from having a souped-up car,
If your goal is to increase fuel consumption then you can remap it with that goal in mind and adjust your driving style along with it. But if you just want more performance and power then it's unlikely your car will be any greener.
Can you remap a lease vehicle?
You can not and should not remap a lease vehicle without the funder's permission, as they own the vehicle. If you seek their permission then you may but it is at their discretion only.