Serious Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts know the joy of tinkering with every last part
of their rig. From bumper to bumper,
there’s a way to upgrade every last part of your Wrangler. If you’re aiming for
the ultimate 4x4 vehicle, however,
then you might be interested in fiddling with the digital part of your Jeep.
Performance chips, which are sometimes called tuners or flashers, allow you to
access the parts of your Wrangler’s
ECU that are normally inaccessible. There are plenty of parameters you can edit
with the help of a chip. From
calibrating your speedometer to reflect larger wheels and tires to
setting a higher idle RPM, there are an
astounding amount of varied things that performance chips can do.
Performance chips are an absolute breeze to use. Many of them simply plug into
your Wrangler’s OBD port. The JL
Wrangler does require a bypass module for some performance chips to function,
but for the most part, the
installation is just as easy.
What Can Performance Chips Do for Your Wrangler?
There is an impressive variety of things that tuning chips can do for your
Wrangler. To give you an overview, here
are some of the most popular features of tuning chips.
For Jeep Wranglers, bigger wheels and tires are a must. The look of a lifted
Wrangler with oversized wheels is
undeniably cool, and it can come with a performance boost as well. One of the
issues with larger wheels and tires,
however, is having to properly calibrate your speedometer. With a tuning chip,
you can adjust your speedometer to
accurately reflect your speed. This is great for both larger wheels and tires,
as well as different rear gears.
For off-roading, airing down your tires is often necessary. If you want to loosen
up your tires a little bit but
don’t want to see the warning light on the dash, then temporarily disabling the
TPMS system can do the trick. A chip
will let you do this with ease.
Raise Idle RPM
If you are running an electric winch on your Wrangler, then raising the idle RPM
can give it more current to pull
from. This is a great option if you have to do some serious winching and don’t
want your Jeep to lose its charge.
Full Data Readouts
This isn’t necessarily a singular function as it is a whole suite of them. There
are plenty of data points that your
Wrangler measures that you can’t see. Some chips even give you the option of
storing logs of these variables as well, giving you the ability to peruse large
amounts of data about your Wrangler and its performance.
Improved throttle response is an easy way to make your Wrangler feel brand-new.
The correlation of throttle to
acceleration is determined by the Wrangler's computer, so this is just as
tweakable as any other parameter. A more
sensitive gas pedal can make your Wrangler feel sportier and more powerful than
it previously was.
Let’s not forget about the performance aspect of performance chips. There are
plenty of ways that a tuning chip can
adjust the settings in your Wrangler’s engine to give it more power. From valve
timing to fuel mixtures, there are
plenty of ways that your Wrangler’s performance is governed by the ECU.
By being able to tweak the ECU at will, your Wrangler can see some serious gains.
There are electronic tuners
available for both the 3.6L
Pentastar V6 and
the 2.0L turbo.
Tuning Chip Concerns
A common question is whether or not a tune will void your Wrangler’s warranty.
For the most part “no”, but there are
some technical legal nuances to this answer. At the end of the day, we are an
automotive website, not a legal one.
The long and short of it is that if your Wrangler’s problem isn’t directly
traceable to the tuner itself, then the
warranty is not void. Under the federal Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, dealers
have to honor warranty repairs given
that they weren’t caused by any aftermarket components.
This ultimately is up to the dealership to decide, however, and is liable to
change from location to location. If you
have a tune installed on your Wrangler, the dealership may refuse to work on
your vehicle. That being said, they
won’t void your warranty specifically, but rather, wait for the tune to be
removed before working on the vehicle
itself. Also, remember that a dealer will be able to tell if a vehicle was
previously tuned, even if you reset it to
If you’re looking for that next big mod for your Jeep Wrangler, then a
performance chip might be the exact thing that
you are looking for. The extra functions and options that they will open up can
let you fully customize your driving
experience to be exactly what you want.