The Difference Between A Tuner And A Module

Dec 2, 2009

You’ve heard it before: “Should I install a tuner or a module and what the heck is the difference?” While they both have similarities like giving you more power, and increasing fuel mileage, they have many differences.

First for some book definitions:

Tuner: A device that reprograms the vehicle’s onboard computer or the ECM (Electronic Control Module) for a certain outcome.

Module: An inline device that receives stock signal and manipulates that signal for a given enhancement.

If you are wondering which is better for you, the first place to look is what type of vehicle you are driving. Some tuners and modules are only available for certain vehicle models. While each do basically the same thing, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Tuners are an easy, quick install. They plug inside the cab to your data link converter under the dash. There’s no need to get dirty and get under the hood. They are for the not-so-mechanically-inclined. Installing modules, on the other hand, requires getting dirty, getting under the hood and plugging into the wire harnesses.

However, a lot of guys like modules because they add power without leaving a trace detectable by dealerships. Some tuners are untraceable, but most will leave a trace or a water mark.

Tuners help you get better fuel economy through timing and improved drivability. They are in a sense the more technologically advanced programmer. Most are Internet updatable and upgradeable, and they fit more applications in the market. A nice feature for trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps is they can recalibrate the speedometer to compensate for oversized tires on some applications.

A great feature about modules is you can change your power levels “on the fly.” It’s not until just recently that some tuners are equipped with this feature. Modules will, in a sense, think for you. If your engine is cold, the module knows to wait until it warms up before adding power. It also makes sure that your engine does not surpass its capable levels. If your engine is reaching danger levels, it will bump down to the previous level.

Whether you need a tuner or a module depends on your preference. But don’t hesitate, add power and fuel economy to your vehicle today with a new tuner or module.