Rogue engine tuners who use cloned tools in an attempt to boost a car’s performance are wrecking thousands of engine ECUs a year with repair and replacement costs setting owners back up to £2,000 each.

This warning has been issued by the engine remap services provider, Viezu, who is providing drivers with a series of top tips to help them avoid such damage.

While cloned or fake tuning tools can look identical to genuine tools, under the surface there can be a considerable difference. Cloned tools often run on very old, out of date or hacked software causing instability or incompatibility issues for the user. However, perhaps more importantly this can result in the tool crashing (or ‘bricking’) where it locks up during the tuning process and the car simply will not start again.

In some instances it is possible to recover an ECU that has lost communication but if the ECU has been bricked it is often not possible. In many cases like this, the vehicle owner will simply take their vehicle to a garage or main dealer who will diagnose a replacement ECU as the most economically viable solution as the intricacies of identifying specific software issues could take months to resolve with significant labour charges. Replacement engine ECUs normally cost owners in excess of £1,000 each.

To ensure an engine tuner is reputable, has the appropriate back-up and genuine tools, Viezu is recommending drivers ask these five simple questions before handing over their car keys:

1. What tuning tool are they using and is it genuine? Ask the tuner to provide proof of this and ask the tuner to show you their tools software information screen. Take a screenshot and send it to Viezu if in doubt who can verify if the tool is genuine, within license and very importantly who it’s registered to.

2. Is the tuning tool still in licence? The real software will show its licence expiry date. It is not advisable to use software that is out of license due to potential compatibility issues.

3. Ask to see the insurance policy that covers not only the workmanship, but also the tuning service. If there’s no insurance, quite simply, don’t book. If you’re in doubt about the insurance policy, call the insurer to check that the policy number is real.

4. If your tuner claims to have a warranty ask to see proof of this. Don’t be fooled by a fake glossy booklet. Ask to see the details of the real warranty policy underwriter and again, call them directly if you are in any doubt.

5. Finally, ask to see the training certificates of whoever will be carrying out the tuning service to ensure they have been appropriately trained by a reputable Company with the right credentials.

James Ash


Content Marketing Executive at

January 11, 2017

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