Chiptuning dictionary – Chiptuning basics and methods

Clarification of tuning concepts

Every profession and science has its own words and expressions. Now we turn to the most important ones.
Accurate knowledge of the meaning of words is also vital when reading this page. For complete understanding, you should not skip a single unintelligible word, because then the whole text will soon become confusing, incomprehensible.


Modification made to the car, literally: adjustment, tuning. It is usually done for optimal operation, higher power, higher torque, and / or lower power consumption. You can also use it to improve the car’s unique features, such as its sound, environmental protection system, fuel quality tolerance, and more.
Technologically, there are several ways to modify, which I will explain below.

Engine control unit, control unit, ECU, ECM

The Hungarian equivalent of the English ECU = Electronic Control Unit or ECM = Engine Control Module is the engine control unit. This component is responsible for the proper operation of the engine in all conditions. It measures, monitors and controls all major engine functions, taking into account current load and current environmental effects such as atmospheric pressure, temperature, fuel quality, etc.
This vital information determines the operating status of the engine in accordance with other information from the various sensors (speed, crankshaft angular position, exhaust gas composition, accelerator pedal position, vehicle / implement speed, etc.). The measured data is processed by the engine controller, which then decides on the amount of fuel required at the given moment and other quantities and settings.
Inside the engine controller is the program (in other words, software) that contains the car’s settings. This program can be in a separate memory (memory chip) or it can be in the internal own memory of a larger component (so-called microcontroller). In the latter case, accessing the software is usually more complicated, as the memory is not directly accessible or removable.

Chiptuning, software chiptuning, software setup

It is a complex word, where “chip” refers to a memory unit, which contains data and settings related to the driving characteristics of the car or vehicle.
It has been used mainly in more modern cars since 1990.
“Tuning” means setting. Together: means setting and tuning the vehicle engine by modifying the data stored in the internal memory of the control unit. Whether the memory (chip) is removable or is an integral part of a larger component inside the control unit, it is called chip tuning. Sometimes this setup process is also called software chiptuning.

CHIPTUNING only applies to this memory content, so no other components will be installed. In one case, a part is replaced: when the factory memory part is not rewritable (only for old pre-2000 ‘products), the new setting is written to an empty memory and it is returned to its old location. Any other tuning where something is installed in the car is NOT chiptuning. The process is also commonly described as chip tuning.


Csippting is a ‘Hungarian’ word use, written form, identical in content to the more common form of chiptuning. Interestingly, many people search Google search for the word tweaking instead of the original spelling.

Tuningbox, tuning box

An external electronics about the size of a box of 1-2 cigarettes that are connected to the car’s factory electronic system. Its purpose is to modify the electronic signals passing through it, to deceive the control unit and / or other motor components (eg injectors). Its purpose is the same as the purpose of chip tuning: to create a motor characteristic different from the factory. From the above clarification, it turns out that this is NOT chiptuning, although most of the interested parties / users incorrectly put this completely different procedure, tool into one category, under the same name.

Chiptuning or tuningbox mixing

Simple: the tuningbox is a tangible, installable box, the chiptuning is always “just” modifying and fine-tuning the car software. The tuningbox is an external device, the chiptuning is an internal program modification.

Tuning specialist

A competent and responsible person who has the professional skills, qualifications, experience, knowledge, information, tools, attitudes that guarantee that if you make a setting in a car (or machine, tractor, truck, etc.) that is different from the factory , it will only and specifically benefit the car. Your work has no immediate or later-onset side effects, but its benefits are noticeable, measurable, and helpful.

Rail pressure, common pressure pipe

‘Rail’ means in English: rail, here it refers to ‘common’ as the atomizers are all connected to this ‘rail’. So the word combination ‘rail pressure’ means ‘common pressure’. On a modern diesel engine, the main structural unit between the high-pressure fuel pump and the injectors is the common rail. Pipe pressure is the pressure of the fuel stored here. Depending on the operating condition and design, the pressure is 200-2000 bar. Low speed has lower rail pressure, higher speed has higher rail pressure. The peak operating pressure of today’s systems is 1350 or 1600 bar. More recently, the 1800 and 2000 bar systems are also gaining ground.
Some tuning procedures prefer to change this feature because of its simplicity, in order to increase the amount of fuel delivered to the combustion chamber over time. Typically, the primitive method of tuning boxes is to increase the pressure value more finely or drastically. Of course, it is also possible to adjust the pressure value for the current operating state during chip tuning, but this is very rarely necessary, as the pressure tables are precisely calibrated at the factory over the entire range, for each fuel quantity.