The original meaning of “tuning” is calibrating and adjusting the car for the desired purpose. Tuners and programmers are designed to maximize an engine’s power output with easy installation. It can deliver big boosts in horsepower and torque, increase MPG and make the engine run more efficiently.
Essentially you’ve got two options when it comes to tuning a car. Either, on a late model car, you can look for software that is going to allow you to retune your factory ECU, or if you’ve got a car that’s supported you may be able to fit a standalone aftermarket ECU. Ultimately software tuning is done with one main goal – to increase your vehicle’s power output, handling and speed. Modifying a vehicle’s ECU doesn’t is now easier and more accessible than ever. Here are some of the top ranked options on the market.
Best Car Tuning Software Reviews 2020
1. Elite Software Programmer (ESP)
The all new ESP software provides more functions, more flexible maps, upgraded data logging, self learning and a host of additional features. The elite software now enables an additional axis for tuning in 4 dimensions. These 4D maps are available in the fuel, ignition and boost tables. This can be used to map the engine across different camera positions, independent maps based on what gear you are in, or even for an independently mappable multistage dry nitrous setup.
Haltech’s elite series of ECUs come fully unlocked, which means that if you have the supporting components, any of the advertised features can be used without the need to purchase additional software. Haltech has made their ECUs more attractive by releasing plug-and-play accessories such as Flex-fuel sensors and multifunction gauges that are user customizable via their official app.
The latest update has significant run-time improvements, channel updates, calculations, input readings and output responses are now much faster.
The new features of the datalog viewer show improved graphics, thinner trace lines, and highlighted trace made more prominent. The logs and channels are displayed alphabetically, automatically assigned to scaling groups by channel type, and can be renamed.
Users are thrilled and surprised with ESP’s capabilities. One user said, “I just started playing with the ESP and didn’t even know these features existed.”
- Added Elite default default basemaps
- Updates default page layouts
- Added Polaris and PWC basemaps
- Added momentary knock control to knock detection
- Online/Offline mode
- Can be a bit expensive
- Limited features
- More maintenance required
The Elite Software Programmer (ESP) is a very popular product. In summary, the Elite software is not going to find it lacking. It’s definitely very feature packed there.
2. MaxxECU MTune
The new MaxxECU MTune is a free engine management system for cars who’s main features include reducing loading times by at least half, improving fuel calculation resolution, and algorithms. New keyboard shortcuts to make mapping simple and effective and more efficient with table smoothing.
It includes more shift cut options for your motorsport, and extra adjustment tables for closed loop boost control. There are additional math channels for performing custom calculations according to your needs.
One reviewer enjoyed the new power adder feature to be used with Power Management that helped soften launches. They noted the Launch Control Start RPM can be adjusted in real time. Tire growth correction for speed calculation in drag racing helped them understand how their car moves down the track. The software opens quickly and enables users to smooth in 3D.
New features include: Support for the KMS CAN Display, and New free rotation Accelerometer orientation mode for MaxxECU units with built-in G sensor.
- Live tuning and local autotune
- Built-in live logger
- 2D and 3D tuning
- Drag to zoom scaling lines
- Loads quickly
- Entirely bluetooth-USB non accessible
- Doesn’t support diesel vehicles
- Only used on Windows 7 or 10 systems
MaxxECU MTune is an easy-to-use, user friendly, supported software whose recent update has rid it of many bugs. It’s quick, efficient, and precise for individuals wants and needs.
3. Viezu K-Suite (Includes Both KESS And K-TAG)
Viezu offers a very highly rated car tuning software and support, written inhouse by their highly skilled and experienced team. The technical team offers software support 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Viezu offers a new spin on car tuning software and ECU remapping software solutions. Viezu specializes in performance tune programs and ECU software for ultimate control over performance car tuning.
Viezu K-Suite includes two powerful car tuning programs, along with helpful features that make it easy to remap any ECU. The Vehicle List and Protocol are helpful references. The Viezu-K-Suite Vehicle List shows all vehicles supported and makes specific tuning suggestions.
- 24/7 support team
- Write ECU files
- Manual ECU mapping
- Live tuning
- 3D tuning
- Supports gasoline and diesel vehicles
- Includes KESS and K-TAG
- Free updates
- KESS a bit tricky to use
- Requires Windows
- Advanced options can be complicated
Viezu K-Suite is one of the most comprehensive pieces of remapping software you’ll find, though it’s a bit tricky to use. The K-Suite also includes K-TAG, which uses guided programming that’s easier to use. By far, this is the best option if you’re looking for a combination of usability and functionality.
With Q-Tuning users can get more power, torque, and better MPG for their vehicle. Q-Tuning is the UK’s largest ECU programming service, represented in over 83 countries. They are a market leader for remapping and chip tuning across 3,000 vehicles monthly. Q-tuning doesn’t change any hardware in your vehicle, it just modified the operating parameters in the ECU’s program of ‘map.’
Q-Tuning is successful for shops and mechanics working on a range of engines. With three mapping options improving diesel engines, hybrids, and gas engines.
- Compatible with lots of vehicles
- Easy to use
- Works with diesel engines
- Can be installed on multiple devices simultaneously
- Optimized maps deliver improved engine performance
- Only supports Window devices
- Doesn’t allow independent ECU coding
If you are working with a diesel engine, this is the software for you. Impressive software with multiple remapping options completed quickly and safely.
5. MoTeC Software
MoTeC, or Model of Trust for Electronic Commerce, is the market leader when it comes to ECU’s. Most people expect MoTeC products to be cringingly expensive. This comes with brand excellence for over 25 years. MoTeC has evolved into an international force in automotive electronics, attracting support and recognition of top teams in race and rally. MoTec has an outstanding reputation for its reliability, advanced technology, and high performance products that exceed expectations.
Professional software that is within the range of a competent home enthusiast. Although reliable, MoTeC is significantly more expensive than rival brands, and to gain full-access to the full list of supported features requires users to purchase additional software packs. Additionally, the way MoTeC has designed their software means that any changes to the ECU will need to be done by a trained MoTec technician.
- Professional, sturdy packaging
- 2 Year Warranty
- Comprehensive technical assistance
- Low resolution will reduce layout options
- Costly add ons
- Exclusive to MoTeC technicians
Very reliable, successful software that is hard to beat. May best be recommended for professionals and serious investors as it will take a toll on the wallet.
6. TunerStudioMS (By Megasquirt)
Megasquirt first evolved from a DIY project to now matching and maybe even exceeding the feature set of the best high end fuel injection controller. Now TunerStudio brings MegaSquirt software that allows you to fully set up and tune any MegaSquirt controller with a more refined and simple interface than other previous options. Additionally, with a registration key users can unlock everything TunerStudio MS has to offer.
Designer mode gives users a full drag and drop interface allowing you to place gauges anywhere you like. Customizable styles, limits, fonts, colors, titles and text. With TunerStudioMS you can save and share your work or just show it off.
TunerStudioMS really tunes the car for you while you drive! As you drive VE Analyze live will look at all the data, filter and synthesize the records and use weighted statistical averages to calculate the optimal values for your fuel tables. Users can either have TunerStudio produce a recommended table as you drive, or let it actually send the updates as you drive to continually improve your tune while going down the road.
- Tabbed Dashboards
- Gauge Styles
- Live analytics
- Upgraded Ignition logger
- Easy to read difference reporting.
- Some connection interference
- Illegal/Unlicensed clones
- Unsaved changes complications
Try the free version of TunerStudio MS, known as TunerStudio MS Lite. It is hands down the leading MegaSquirt software, and won’t cost a thing!
7. Wolf V550 PC Software Serial Version
WOLF engine management systems, proudly Australian owned and manufactured and powering some of the fastest cars both on and off the track worldwide.
The latest high performance engine management system from Wolf EMS, with class leading performance and value. Compact, powerful and with the latest features, the V550 offers fifth generation features through sixteen years of research and development. This unit can take care of the largest to smallest task, controlling such things as water injection to Automatic transmissions this kit will deliver what you want, with the use of OEM sensors there is no need for upgrading sensors and adding cost to your project. Take your project to the next level.
The Wolf interface has up to 22 different data channels that can be modified and recorded. The module includes on board displays, real time telemetry, and data logging applications. The module also provides setup capability to accommodate selection of scaling units, data logging sample rates and even custom sensor calibration. The Wolf V550’s advances high-detail fuel, ignition, and control mapping systems with easy tuning modes.
The V550 injector driver system reports live status of all injector channels including peak and hold reached times, injector current, short, weak and open circuits. One user found the problem with Wolfs is they struggle with the OE Falcon sensor.
- 8 injector outputs
- Live status reports
- Latest 3D graphing
- Dual memory system
- Petrol/Gas modes and more
- Self tune
- Nitrous control
- No longer in operation (Via Facebook 3/01/2020)
Although Wolf EMS has proudly designed and manufactured a range of ECUs for almost 20 years, on March 1st 2020 they decided to no longer continue in the industry. (Via Facebook 3/01/2020)
8. PrecisionCodeWorks ECU Remapping & Tuning Software
PrecisionCodeWorks is the excellent car tuning software if coding isn’t your strong suit. This software makes the ECU remapping process simple and automatic. Users just read and upload the original ECU file, select their modifications, and PrecisionCodeWorks sends a new build moments later.
Now with a client database of over 3000 approved users from some 8000 applications supplying more than 1000 calibrations per month and consulting with some of the world’s largest tuning brands. Their technology removes any possibility of error and is live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No other provider can build files automatically ready to flash.
This software is better for enthusiasts and can be quite costly (due to the credit system) amongst professional mechanics who need multiple builds.
- Quick operation
- Modies EGT and DPF systems
- Includes custom fuel tuning platform
- Multiple calibration options for diesel engines
- Requires purchase oa credits for each tuning
- More limited mapping options
This software is recommended and more widely used by hobbyists thaan professionals. Freedom but also less stress of hurting the ECU.
EcuTek’s ProECU Tuning Suites allow the calibration and reprogramming of the vehicle’s original engine management system in situ via the on board diagnostics (OBD) port. These tuning suites provide a host of features that help the tuner achieve fast, accurate and successful mapping.
EcuTek is available for popular brands like Ford, BMW, and Honda but does have limits compared to other software. EcuTek is fast and efficient, but designed for professionals. The interface assumes a certain level of understanding.
Beginners found this software confusing and difficult to navigate. ProECU Tuning Suites have been designed with the professional tuner in mind. Those familiar with engine management will find the software intuitive, powerful and easy to use.
- Reprograms vehicles in less than 25 seconds
- High-speed data logging
- Detailed map definitions
- Maps can be duplicated and exported
- Robust tuning features and options
- Allows modification of pre-set tuning programs
- Limited vehicle compatibility
- Difficult for novices
- Professional use only
The EcuTek Tuning software is designed for professionals. The software is powerful and intuitive but not ideal for someone unfamiliar with engine coding.
10. TOAD Pro
Professionals and enthusiasts alike can make great use of the TOAD Pro software. It has the perfect balance between functionality and usability. Users can perform in-depth diagnostics and customise their engine. In simple terms, TOAD Pro gives users complete control over a vehicle’s health and performance. TOAD stands for ‘Total OBD Auto Diagnostics’ and that’s exactly what it delivers. It additionally allows you to edit ECU data. It’s easy to use while providing a wealth of options.
TOAD does 99% of what high-end, very expensive diagnostic scan tools do. It consists of multiple, easy to understand applications that specialize in various purposes and car systems. The ECU map editing application is more legible for car experts, but an incredibly resourceful tool for car owners alike.
Either way — whether you’re a skilled technician or DIY go-getter — TOAD offers you unparalleled access to your vehicle’s systems that you can quickly examine the test results and live sensor data.
- Compatible with OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles
- Easy to use
- In depth diagnostic reports
- Live data in dashboard
- Requires windows
- Not accessible with Mac or Android
- ABS/SRS diagnostics not supported
Easy to use with complete diagnostics, even beyond OBD2. Tuning and optimizing features make it one of the most powerful pieces of car tuning software on the market.