Vehicle performance enhancements often involve a great deal of tuning and programming, which allows an engineer or technician to evaluate and gauge the operations of a car or truck. This process often uses several pieces of computer hardware and software to run tests on a vehicle and see how the various components and pieces of equipment are working together. Individual problems can be assessed and then upgrades are made to improve upon the performance of a car or truck in factory or aftermarket settings.
Gathering Data for Tuning
Automotive tuning typically begins with the gathering and analysis of information about the performance of a vehicle. This is done through scientific methods that allow a technician to scan a vehicle while it is driving to see how well it is performing. Different types of hardware can be used for this, though it often involves a small computer device being physically connected to a car while it is being driven.
Data is then gathered by this device, which can be uploaded to a full computer for further analysis. While this raw information does not typically provide specific details about individual components of a vehicle, it gives technicians insight into how a car is performing. With this knowledge, they can then look at areas of the car or truck that can be improved through upgrades to enhance the driving experience of a vehicle.
High Performance Tuning
Tuning of a car or truck is a precise process, and often requires numerous enhancements and changes to multiple parts of a vehicle. The suspension of a car, for example, can be altered through the use of different springs at the front or back end of the vehicle. Additional alterations can also be made, however, to the shock absorbers and “wheel geometry” of a car to further change how it performs on a road.
While car tuning is not a “guess and check” process, it does require a great deal of patience and the willingness to continue making changes. Known improvements are made, and the performance of a vehicle is analyzed, before additional changes are considered and implemented. With each upgrade, incremental or large changes to performance are evaluated and then used for additional testing and tuning of the car’s operating conditions. Many of these changes are internal and involve the engine, drive train, and suspension of the vehicle.
External changes can also be made while tuning a car or truck. These are typically aesthetic in nature and alter the look of a car, usually through the addition of more features to the outside of a car or by changing existing parts. The tail pipe, for example, is frequently altered by car technicians and enthusiasts looking to make their vehicle more unique. These types of external tuning, however, can have a negative impact on the overall performance of a car, as its form is no longer as intended by the original designers.
The use of both internal and external tuning can help minimize these adverse effects. While features may be added that downgrade a car’s handling, upgrades to springs or the suspension can offset this and create overall improvements in performance. Experience and education can help someone better gauge what changes constitute improvements, and which ones are more negative.
Vehicle Testing and Programming
Many modern cars and trucks include computers that regulate systems within the vehicle and track changes or performance. Software can be used to interface with this onboard computer and better gauge the performance of a vehicle. Programmers are often needed to create new ways in which technicians and engineers can better understand what is happening while a car is being driven.
Programmers create software that can be ran on a computer to evaluate and understand data from various devices, as well as firmware needed to properly run different machines. Firmware are types of programs installed onto hardware that allow them to function properly, and software engineers in the automotive industry often work on developing such programs. As the tools used to perform diagnostics and tuning on vehicles continue to expand technologically, more programmers will be needed to create even more complex software.
Learning About Tuning and Programming
An online mechanical engineering degree is one of the best ways to learn how to conduct the testing and software design needed for tuning and programming. This type of degree can be especially beneficial for someone interested in software development, as it allows the person to focus primarily on programming and practice, and learn programming languages at their own pace. Online programs provide students with the tools to communicate with educators through forums, chat programs, and even video conferencing, and to learn and complete assignments when they have the availability and means to do so.
In the past, it was fairly easy for someone to learn about maintenance and upgrading automotive components while in a home garage with a fairly knowledgeable teacher. With changes to the technology and the amount of computers and programming used in cars, however, this has become much more difficult. Many online and technical schools offer courses to help someone with an interest in automotive design and tuning to learn the practical skills and knowledge needed to work in this industry.
Moving Forward with High Performance Tuning
One of the greatest perks of automotive tuning and programming is that it is a progressive trend in the automotive field. Technicians and engineers with a background in high performance tuning are going to be in demand for years to come as workers in various applications. Racing crews, for example, often have need of multiple individuals who can work together as a team to streamline and optimize every component in a vehicle. These teams are frequently led by someone with a background in automotive tuning and an online management degree, combining technical knowledge with leadership skills.
Car manufacturers also need tuning and programming during the development of new models and when creating improvements upon existing designs. This type of tuning is not usually intended to make every last element of a car as precise and perfect as possible, but to ensure a cohesive machine that functions well. While this level of optimization may go unseen by most consumers, it is felt by the driver in every turn and seen in the enhanced safety and performance features designed into the car.