Is It Possible for the Average Person to Reprogram a Car's Computer?


Quick Answer

It is possible for almost anyone with a computer and the correct interface hardware to reprogram the engine control unit of many cars using computer software packages. However, reprogramming a car's engine control unit in a way that improves performance without damaging the vehicle may require specialized knowledge.

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Full Answer

Almost all cars built since the 1990s incorporate an on-board diagnostics port in the engine that allows diagnostic equipment to interface with the car's ECU. Reprogramming or "flashing" the ECU is performed by connecting a computer to the OBD port with a specialized interface cable. Software such as OpenECU allows users to modify the settings of the ECU and alter the performance of the engine control system.

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