What to Expect: Performance Chips on Muscle Cars

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When you’re deciding how to best upgrade your muscle car, you have a lot to consider.  The days of basic tuning are over, and maintaining competitiveness on the road generally requires significant upgrading to a vehicle’s performance technology.  Instead of spending hours and hours installing performance parts like turbochargers, many muscle car drivers are turning to a more recent technology that can also boost a car’s on-road performance:  performance chips.  They are certainly both pros and cons to using one on your muscle car, and below we’ll try to provide you with information so you can make an informed decision prior to installation.

For those muscle car enthusiasts who know their way around their cars in and out, up and down, installation of physical performance parts may not be a problem.  Though they can take hours to complete, sometimes over several days, they are often warranted, as you can see substantial horsepower gains from said upgrades.  For those who are less technically inclined, or for those who have little time to invest in such upgrades, a performance chip is a great alternative.  It can often be installed in well under an hour, and many versions nowadays are simple plug-and-play models.  More recent chips don’t even require a hard reboot of the ECU, saving you additional time during the installation process.  And since only simple tools are needed to complete the installation, it’s quite an easy process overall.

Use with other Performance Parts
Muscle cars are renowned for their use of multiple performance enhancements, as a single add-on isn’t always enough to remain competitive on the road or track.  Fortunately, performance chips are most often capable of working in conjunction with other performance parts, and should not hinder their effectiveness in any way.  So if you want to pair a supercharger with a chip, you can go right ahead and do so.  This may vary from vehicle to vehicle and from part to part, but generally, this holds true for most situations and circumstances.

Performance Results
Many muscle car drivers want the most they can get in terms of performance gains, and while a chip can offer substantial improvements, they certainly aren’t in league with something like a turbocharger.  A turbocharger can provide up to a 400 horsepower gain when properly installed, while a performance chip, when paired with the right setup, can provide up to a 60 horsepower gain.  So for many muscle car owners, a chip alone isn’t quite enough, though it does offer a boost and can be a great, inexpensive enhancer when paired with a turbocharger or nitrous kit.  A performance computer chip can also provide greater fuel economy to a vehicle, so your gasoline bill should be a bit lighter as well.