How to Improve Gas Mileage With a Computer Chip

by Francis Walsh

How happy are you with your fuel mileage--you know, the amount of driving you can do on a full tank gas? Do you want to better fuel economy? There are automotive chip makers that sell computer programs for cars and trucks that allow you to reliably improve gas mileage with a computer chip. If getting better mileage is important to you, then consider installing a computer chip yourself.


Disconnect the vehicle’s power supply. Loosen the clamp on the end of the positive (red) cable and pull it off the car battery. Secure the loose end away from the battery once it has been disconnected.


Locate the ECU (electronic control unit) that contains the ECM (electronic control module) for your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle, the ECU is located near or on the firewall inside the engine bay or under the dashboard.


Open the ECU cover to expose the adapter that connects the unit to the wiring harness. Illuminate the area with a utility light if the area where the ECU is located is not well lit. Shine light on the ECU. Depending on the chip company, or the chip, the way you will improve gas mileage with computer chips depends on the chip.


Disconnect the module from the wiring harness by pulling the male end of the wiring harness free from the female end of the ECM. Replace the factory ECM and reconnect the adapter if you are replacing the factory ECM. If you are not replacing the factory ECM, then plug in the new chip using the chipmaker’s adapter, which connects to the wiring harness, and then reconnect the harness to the factory ECU and module.


Secure extra modules directly to or near the factory ECU. The best place to fasten added modules is on the firewall near the factory ECU containing the factory ECM. Close the lid of the ECU after connecting the performance chip to the vehicle's wiring harness and securing any extra modules nearby.


Connect the positive cable to the car battery by tightening the clamp on the red cable back onto the positive post of the battery. Close the hood of the vehicle.


  • check To get around some insurance worry, some chip makers have a programmer that allows you the flexibility to “reprogram” a factory ECM after storing the factory data in a hand-held device for later use. A second option is to purchase and use a “piggyback” style of ECM that can be connected and disconnected at will.


  • close Most manufacturers avoid paying insurance claims on vehicles that have had performance upgrades completed on the engine, especially if the claim is engine-related. The computer chip is one such upgrade that puts your manufacturer’s warranty at risk if damage occurs to internal parts after the chip is installed. Recognize manufacturer’s warnings when they apply directly to your application.

Items you will need

About the Author

Francis Walsh has been working as a freelance writer since 2003. He has contributed to websites such as Shave, Autogeek and Torque & Chromeas, as well as provided content for private clients. Walsh has worked as a performance part-packer and classic car show promoter, now serving as crew chief for Nitrousfitz Racing.

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