Does Thorton chip tuning work?

This blog will answer the following questions: does Thorton chip tuning work? What are the different performance chips sold by Thorton chip tuning? ECU remap, piggyback ECU or performance chip which one should you get?

Does Thorton chip tuning work?

No, Thorton chip tuning cannot enhance the performance of your car and improve its mileage. It is just a fake product available online that claims to add 40 additional horsepower to the standard engine output after driving for 125 miles. A close inspection of the Thorton chip tuning device reveals that it does not have the ability to flash or remap any performance map in the engine control unit.

Altering a performance map in an engine requires special equipment and trained personnel. A performance map contains data that is used by the engine control unit to determine the fuel injection quantity according to engine load.

Lamda or oxygen sensors are also present in the exhaust system to check for the oxygen percentage in the exhaust gases, tuners use this data and design a performance map from scratch. This performance map can then be programmed into the factory ECU with the help of an OBD II scanner.

Remapping an ECU cannot be done on the fly as claimed on the Thorton chip tuning website. A car must be connected to a dyno and additional exhaust sensors while a performance map is being tuned and flashed on the ECU.

After competing for the remap of the ECU, the performance gains are immediate. There is no need to drive the vehicle for 100 or 200 miles to feel the performance gain. Many renowned tuners like Autotuner even published a dyno report which clearly indicated the power and torque figure before and after a remap.

There are no dyno reports on the Thornton tuning website, the website only makes false claims that their device is compatible with inline 4, 6 and V 8 engines and it has a lifetime warranty. Every engine is built differently so it is not possible for a single device to work for all engines.

If the power output of the engine is increased by injecting more fuel into the combustion chamber, therefore, it is not possible to increase the power output and at the same time increase the mileage. The manufacturer usually designs a balanced performance map which gives good performance and also maintains fuel consumption. Reliability and CO2 emission are also some of the factors that determine the power and torque output of the engine.

What are the different types of performance chips sold by Thorton chip tuning?

The different types of performance chips sold on the Thorton chip tuning website are listed in the table below:

LEVELPower Fuel economyPrice
Level 1+20 horsepower+1 – 2 $29.95
Level 2+40 horsepower+2 – 4$59.95
Level 3+60 horsepower+4 – 6$89.95

The level 1 to level chip claims to add additional 20 to 60 horsepower to the standard engine output and also increase the fuel economy by 1 to 6 miles. These figures are unrealistic, increasing the horsepower of the engine involves mechanical changes and it cannot be achieved by electrical means.

Therefore, these different levels of performance chi[p are bogus and don’t really do anything apart from extracting more cash from the customers. If you really want real performance gains then there are three stages of tuning available in the after-market that can increase the performance of the car.

  • Stage 1 tune

It is the cheapest option, it does not involve modification of the engine or replacing the components in the engine. Some of the popular stage 1 parts are larger air filters, iridium spark plugs, air induction kits and a simple engine remap.

The expected power gain from a stage 1 tune can be between 10-15 horsepower. Stage 1 only improves peak power by modifying the power and torque curve of the engine. Initial acceleration is sacrificed to get a higher top speed. 

Stage 1 is a great way to set up the vehicle for future upgrades and most of the stage 1 tunes can be done without the need for a trained tuner or technician. 

  • Stage 2 tune

Stage 2 tunes involve special knowledge of the charge air, and mixture formation systems. After completing stage 1, two or three Bolt-on parts must be added to the engine to reach stage 2. There is usually a bigger turbocharger, high valve lift camshafts, a racing ECU or a very aggressive engine control unit remap.

As the intake systems are modified, the fuel system can need bigger fuel injectors if the existing one cannot inject more quantity of fuel before the ignition point is reached. Stage 1 and stage 2 can add up to 80 horsepower to the engine.

Increasing the power means the engine is operating near its rev limit so depending on the manufacturing built quality, reliability issues may arise as the mileage of the vehicle increases.

  • Stage 3 tune

Stage 3 tunes are very expensive and complete engine rebuilds are needed along with custom performance maps. The stage 3 tunes are also not just limited to the engine, it involves reducing the curb weight of the vehicle and adding bigger brakes. 

Stage 3 tuning is not street legal and it is mostly used on race cars or track cars. The noise levels are very high due to the use of free-flow exhaust systems. Maintenance is also required frequently on cars with stage 3 tunes.

Therefore, stage 3 modifications must not be performed on a daily car, these are more suitable on the race tracks where the performance gains can also be compared by looking at lap times.

ECU remap, piggyback ECU or OBD -II performance chip which one should you get?

If you are new to the world of performance tuning and want to test things out, then a simple ECU remap is the best option. The factory ECU performance map is replaced by a custom map designed by a professional tuner. Autotuner is one of the best ECU remapping companies, there are slave as well as mater units.

Programming of custom maps is only possible in a master autotuner but once the map is tested on the dyno; it can be downloaded in the slave unit. 

ECU remap cannot be detected by an authorised dealer diagnosis tool so if the vehicle is in a standard warranty period, there won’t be any problems claiming a warranty at authorised dealerships.


This blog answered the question- does the Thornton Chip tuning work and also explain different stages in the performance tuning. More and more OBD -II performance chips are flooding the market claiming to improve the performance and mileage of the vehicle. Do not believe such claims unless a dyno report comparing before and after performance figures is also published with the product.