Automobile manufacturers consider a number of factors when they design electronic systems for their vehicles. In Jeeps, most manufacturers consider performance levels, dependability and emission levels. Though Jeeps are performance oriented vehicles, emission norms and the dependability of the engines normally override it during the manufacture. So what happens is that the engine performance on the road is much lower than what it is supposed to be.
To enhance the performance levels, two things can be done: the Jeep ECU (engine control unit) is tweaked by externally modifying the ECU, without altering the original mechanics of the engine or even replacing it with a specifically tuned ECU that will help improve performance.
Mostly, people get their Jeep ECU tuned when they need more power or higher fuel efficiency or even for better emission controls. Some decades ago, this was called chip tuning and it was very much in vogue.
The original ECU of your vehicle may be replaced with a custom-made ECU to handle the required functions. Alternately, a programmable ECU, which can be mapped to the engine, can also be wired in. These days, the ECU can also be tuned by software updates. Make sure that you get your replacement ECU from a reliable dealer, who will properly program and flash it to your vehicle.
The vehicles which have the modified ECU must use high quality fuel and have to be serviced more frequently. However, there is also another thing that Jeep owners, who want to get their vehicles tuned, need to be aware of; many of these software upgrades escape the attention of the vehicle manufacture. So the warranty on the engine holds despite the higher tuning that the vehicle has been modified with. In addition to this, many of the systems may not be as per norm on the regulatory or environmental fronts and could be treated as a violation, if there is a clamp down on it.
Some countries in the European Union have brought in a regulation where these aftermarket tuners must meet the requirements of a recognized authority or regulator. If vehicle owners don't meet these terms the vehicles operating permit may be revoked and will stay so, even after the software is taken out. The regulations further states that the insurance companies are informed about all upgrades for the ECU. This would, of course, mean that the vehicle owner will have to shell out a heftier premium for the modification on the car.
Not all Jeep owners go in for the tuning. Some of them need to replace the Jeep ECU. In most cases, the ECU will not need to be replaced often; it will have to be replaced just once during the life span of the Jeep. Sometimes the ECU gets damaged because of extreme climatic conditions; especially humidity and moisture. It may also get affected by vibration, an internal failure or if the memory crashes. There are a number of replacement dealers and you have to be careful that you select a high quality replacement ECU for your Jeep.
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