Only 6 Steps To Reflash ECU And What You Need To Know

For every car owner, it seems very hard when they think about how to reflash ECU. When you once know the proper way to reflash an ECU, this will be very easy, and not only that; there are some benefits of ECU reflash you will know down the road.

Fortunately, If you have an ECU reflash tool and little experience to reflash an ECU, you don’t need to go to an auto repair shop or a professional. Tuning ECU is easier than ECU replacement. Whether you reflash or flash ECU by a mechanic, the cost is always high.

Even 30% of car owners reflash ECU at home now, So you can also do it by yourself. A little bit of knowledge about the Engine control unit (ECU) and the right reflash tools will be needed to reflash an ECU.

What Is ECU Reflash

You have to remember an ECU Reflash, ECU Turing, or ECU Remap are the same thing and have the same meaning. ECU reflashing means electronically erase the old calibrations and reinstall new calibration in an ECU. Modern ECUs use the EEPROM (Electronically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory), a clip, which is the heart of the engine control unit (ECU) computer. The ECU computer Clip retains the ECU programming. When you reflash or tuning the ECU, the clip electronically erases the program and replaces it with new. You better remember resetting a car computer and reflashing an ECU is not the same thing.

How To Reflash ECU

If you want to reflash ECU, you will need a laptop and onboard diagnostics (OBD II). The OBD 2 code reader will allow you to read the factory data out of ECU; when you read the date of ECU, you can modify those ECU data, which is ECU reflashing, and this is how the reflashing ECU is done.

How To Reflash ECU

Before 2000 automobile manufacturers put an old-fashioned ECU computer in a car that was not so digitized as a new car computer. Modern car manufacturers come up with an efficient and latest ECU which is operated by software and program. The ECU computer software is a management software that runs your car computer these days. The car manufacturers take this innovation seriously and make it real and standard.

Interesting fact you should know about automobile companies marketing people,  In early 2000 the car companies marketing people decreased the horsepower of a car by fuel economy. But, car owners were not that happy about that, and after that, companies understood that they wanted to back the horsepower to the car. When companies wanted to bring back the horsepower, they made a chip for a car computer. When you remap the ECU, you are working on ECUs chips; the chips have worked or laid out and turned into a digital program, and then we loaded it onto the car.

Reflashing an engine control unit is actually remapping or custom mapping the engine, making the car more efficient and increasing the power of your car. To remap ECU, you don’t need a massive amount of time; it can be done within a bit of time if you have experience. I will be using the Revo ECU software system; you can use which one you got.

Step by step guide on how to reflash an ECU:

Step 1: Putting Battery Pack on The Car
Step 2: Bring A Laptop With An Internet Connection
Step 3: Check the Engine For Existing Faults
Step 4: Plug in The Revo System
Step 5: Find tThe Right Software And Load It Into The ECU
Step 6: Go For A Test Drive

Step 1: Putting Battery Pack on The Car

Whether you reflash or flash the car, you have to put a battery pack on the car because you need to make sure the battery can provide constant power while you load the software into the engine control module (ECU).

The proper voltage supply is essential when you work around a car computer. It would be very bad if your car character drops while you reflash an ECU in your car, and it also indirectly damages your car engine. That’s why you have to put the battery pack on the car properly.

Step 2: Bring A Laptop With An Internet Connection

laptop with an internet connection to reflash ECU

For reflashing an ECU, you need to load software into the engine control unit computer, and this software will load by a computer. Bring a windows based laptop which operates properly.

A stable internet connection will be needed for downloading the engine control module reflash file. Whether you remap an ECU at home or at the auto shop, a stable internet connection would be very helpful. If the laptop’s internet connection makes any difficulty during Remapping, the car’s engine control module can get damaged.

Step 3: Check the Engine For Existing Faults

check the engine for existing faults

Car owners or car mechanics always try to avoid checking the engine for existing faults while they reflash ECU. Checking the car engine for existing faults is necessary, and it also has some benefits.

To check the engine for existing faults, you have to plug-in in the bad common system and clear the car’s onboard computer for details. When you check the engine for faults, you also get the engine’s exact serial number and the engine’s exact specification, which will help you load the right software in your ECU. So, you should not avoid checking the engine for existing faults before tuning ECU.

Step 4: Plug in The Revo System

After you check the car to find any existing engine fault now, it’s time to plug in the Revo system to reflash the engine control unit (ECU). It’s very important to clear any fault in the car before reflashing an ECU computer because if faults remain in the car, you can’t do the proper Remapping of your car ECU.

Without any faults in the car’s engine, plug in the Revo system and find the right software according to your car’s model. When you plug in the Revo system and find the right software for your car, do not hurry because you have to load the right software for your car; otherwise, your car computing won’t work properly.

Step 5: Find The Right Software And Load It Into The ECU

Finding the right software is the key to reflash an ECU successfully. When you plug in the Revo system, you will see various car models’ software, but you have to choose which one is for your car.

Select the right software and load it to your car’s ECU. The car ECU takes time to load the software. You will see any visual graph or something that will show you how far reflash software is loaded to your ECU. When the laptop sees you the remap software has loaded in the ECU, all of the software files are into the car. Before the software gets into the ECU, do not unplug or cancel the reflashing file going process.

Step 6: Go For A Test Drive

After knowing how to reflash ECU and putting the ECU reflashing software in, now it’s time to go for a test drive. Drive your car carefully. Pushing the accelerator and increasing the speed, then notice any changes after reflashing ECU. After you reflash your ECU, the car should produce more horsepower and go faster. You can feel your car’s strong power no matter where you drive.

Another way is to check the car’s performance after reflashing the car ECU to a dyno. When you go to a dynamometer (also known as dyno), the mechanic will run a test to see the car’s current performance, and you can also see that.

This is the proper way how you can reflash ECU. Now tuning an ECU should not seem so hard to you because you just know the whole process of reflashing an ECU computer. ECU software file and the process of putting those files into the car it’s the main work to reflash an ECU.

Why Does An ECU Need To Reflash

Your ECU needs to Reflash for optimum settings to get the better performance of your vehicle. Car manufacturers build a car with a limited and certain engine control unit (ECU) program that is not optimum for your car, but you can reflash the ECU program and load a new program. Whether your car has a bad ECU or good, reflashing an ECU brings better performance for your car. That’s why an ECU needs to reflash or remap.

When car manufacturers build new cars for customers, they give ECU computers a safeguards program because of some regulations, like car lower octane fuel, environment friendly. But, When you remap ECM, the car runs more efficiently and performs better.

Some car manufacturers even give you a restricted program into your car computer or ECU computer for their own peruse. They make sure that your car can fit into certain classes to suit car buyers and the manufacturer market. But if you remap your ECU, your car can give you higher and better performance. You should also know there are different types of remapping you can do in your car.

ECU Reflash Tool

ecu reflash tool
ECU Reflash Tool

You have to need some necessary tools to refresh the ECU. ECU reflash every tool is not as expensive as you think; some of the tools you can get around you. Below you will see what tools you will need to reflash an ECU :

  • Windows Based Computer
    To reflash an ECU, the computer is necessary. Without a computer, you cannot remap ECU. A laptop computer would be the best to reflash an ECU because the laptop is easy to move and it has a small size.
  • Stable Internet Connection
    Reflashing or remapping an ECU is load a new program to the car computer, so you have to download software, and that’s why you will need a stable internet connection on your computer.
  • Voltage supply
    When you reflash an ECU, that means you are making your car’s brain. So, if your car dies when you are remapping ECU, your car won’t be able to run. That’s why always try to use a voltage supply whenever you try to reflash an ECU.
  • On-Board Diagnostics (OBD II)
    On-Board Diagnostics (OBD II) scanner is a common tool that every car owner has in their car. OBD 2 will help you to read the factory data of your car ECU. Whether you test ECU computer or tuning ECU, you have to have an OBD II scanner around you.
  • ECU Software
    Without software, ECU tuning won’t be successful. To reflashing an ECU, the ECU software is the main tool. Some ECU software companies offer you a subscription-based service, and some of them have a lifetime. Try to buy or get a good ECU software that is appropriate for your vehicle.
  • Experience
    Yes! Experience is not a tool, but the experience is the main stuff when you remap an engine control module (ECU). Without minimum experience, you won’t be able to reflash or flash a car computer.

Types of ECU Reflash

types of ECU reflash

You need to be certain why you want to reflash ECU. There are different ECU reflash types for your car’s different aspect improvement, like ECU reflashing for performance, economy, and vehicle issues.

Let’s see different types of ECU reflashing for your car:

  1. Reflashing an ECU for performance:
    If you notice your car performance is not so good and performance is going down day by day, reflashing an ECU for performance can bring you back to track. If you remap the ECU for performance, it can maximize the driving performance.
  1. Reflashing an ECU for the fuel economy:
    Remapping the ECU for fuel economy can minimize your cost of fuel. If you want to decrease fuel economy in your car, then reflash the ECU for fuel economy.
  1. Reflashing an ECU for vehicle issues:
    Sometimes you may notice your car experiences idle roughness, stalling, Too hot and too cold starting issues, and so on; these are the issues you may be facing due to faulty existing car computer software. By reflashing your car ECU, you can get rid of these issues in your vehicle.

Some car owners think the process of reflashing an ECU is different for different manufacturers of cars. They asked questions like; how to Ford ECU or how to reflash Mercedes ECU and different vehicles. But, the process of remapping a car computer is more or less the same. That’s why you don’t need to be so worried about how to reflash Audi ECU or Subaru ECU.

How To Reflash ECU At Home

how to reflash ECU at home

In order to reflash ECU at home, you will need ECU to reflash tools in your home, and you also need the experience to do it. The process of tuning the ECU is the same whether you are remapping the ECU at an auto shop or at home. You will need a laptop, ECU software, and proper knowledge.

An auto mechanic can do ECU tuning quickly and adequately just because they have so much experience. That’s if you want to refresh ECU at home, the first thing you will need is your experience.  Without proper experience, you should not try to remap ECU at home because when you reflash ECU, that means you are setting up the whole car’s entire system to be run. If you can’t load the ECU software in your car, your car won’t run or work as it should, which can bring some serious issues.

ECU reflash tools are not cheap. ECU tuning tools are pretty expensive. If you have ECU tuning tools in your home, that would be very helpful. You can buy these ECU reflashing tools at any auto shop.

Computers or laptops are the key components to reflash an ECU. No matter where you reflash an ECU, you have to have a windows-based computer which you will bring close to the car. A stable internet connection is also required for tuning an ECU. When you put an ECU remap file in your car computer, the internet will be needed.

By using these tools mentioned earlier, you can reflash an ECU at home. Like I said before, to reflash ECU at home, you will need the proper knowledge, experience, and ECU reflash tools. Without proper understanding and tools, you should not reflash ECU by yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much does it cost to reflash ECU?

The cost of reflashing an ECU depending on the auto shop. The average auto shop can cost you around $120 to $250 to reflash ECU. Reflashing a car computer cost can get higher if your car has other issues like engine existing faults. And labor cost to reflash an ECU can be $50 to $20 hourly.

When should I reflash my ECU?

There are different types of ECU reflashing. Tuning ECU enhances your car performance. That’s why first you need to know which types of ECU you need for your car and why. Most car owners reflash ECU for performance, and if it’s you, then when your car performance gets weak gradually, you can notice that. Therefore, You should reflash your ECU for better performance of your car.

Is ECU Tuning Bad For Your Car?

If you are tuning ECU properly and successfully, there is nothing wrong with tuning an ECU for your car. Even if you tuning ECU appropriately, your car’s fuel economy will be improved and also your vehicle performance. But, you have to ensure that you do it properly whenever you tune or reflash an ECU; otherwise, tuning an ECU can be bad for your car.

Is ECU Tuning Safe?

Tuning ECU is completely safe. If your car’s ECU needs to be remapped, you can reflash ECU without any hesitation. Tuning ECU is a safe and simple way to improve the overall performance of your car. Most auto repair shops have ECU reflashing service in their shop because ECU tuning is totally safe for your car.

Is ECU Tuning Legal?

Tuning ECU is legal. There is no constitutional difficulty in tuning an ECU of your vehicle. Reflashing an ECU is also safe. But, Tuning the ECU of your car can void your car’s warranty. Many car insurance companies won’t give you a chance to Tuning ECU of your car.

Is ECU reflash good?

ECU reflash is good for your vehicle performance. Greeting satisfaction from ECU reflashing or Remapping depends on the car owner. There is no harm to your car if you reflash an ECU. If you want to reflash ECU, you can do it without any doubt, and reflashing is good.

Final Thoughts

If you are a car owner, I’m sure you know what ECU reflash is. And now you just learn how to reflash ECU. This is the whole process of tuning an ECU properly. So, you have to gain experience before you reflash an ECU in your vehicle. Remapping an ECU can be very difficult if you don’t have proper knowledge and experience about how to reflash ECU. And without current practice, you might mess up the whole ECU computer program.

You should not worry too much about ECU reflashing. Tuning an ECU is completely safe, and remapping ECU does not have any harm your car. For much better driving comfort, and car’s performance will be improved if you reflash ECU. Fortunately, tuning the ECU is not illegal; that’s why you can do it whenever you need.

When you reflash ECU, you should give the proper concentration to the software and file load from your computer. It would be very helpful if you reflash ECU with professional help.

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