If you want your car to outperform others, it's time to tune it. First, however, you need to know whether to perform a street tune vs. a dyno tune. In this guide, we discuss the two options and show you which one might suit your needs better.
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Street Tune Overview
Street tuning is the most popular method, mainly because it’s also the cheapest. With the street tune, you adjust settings while driving the car on the road. It’s best to perform it where there is minimal traffic because the process can be dangerous if you aren’t able to pay attention to the road. You can also tune the vehicle on a track, where it’s a little safer but still offers on-road conditions.
While the dyno tuner can replicate real-world conditions, there's nothing quite the same as actually being on the street. Plus, you don't have to take your vehicle anywhere to have it tuned. This doesn't just save money but also your valuable time.
On the other hand, if you run into any trouble with the tuning, you could end up stranded on the side of the road. Plus, it can be tough to monitor the laptop for tuning while you are driving and operating the vehicle. Additionally, it’s not only unsafe but also illegal to perform wide open throttle tests, such as the ones you will want to do.
It’s not difficult to find the street tuning equipment needed to complete the job yourself. You can analyze the Mini Maxx street tuner vs. race tuner programs, as well as the Screamin Eagle Pro street tuner vs. FP3 to see which one would be better.
Dyno Tune Overview
With the help of a dynamometer, you can tune the vehicle in a shop. You put the vehicle on a roller where it gets strapped down. This machine measures how much power is produced at each wheel so that adjustments can be made. You will need to visit a shop with the right equipment and expertise to get the job done, which does increase the price and causes you to wait until you can get an appointment.
However, dyno tuning can be more accurate, providing better calibrations than street tuning does. With no environmental factors to contend with, such as traffic, you can get exactly what you want out of the vehicle. Unlike when you are debating between SCT Street Tune vs. Performance, you will need to revisit the shop if you need to make future adjustments.
There are some times when you can rent a dyno tuner. However, you will need the space to place it, and you will need some experience to use it correctly. Otherwise, you could make adjustments that harm the performance of your vehicle. If you prefer to buy your own machine, be prepared to put out a good amount of money, which might not be advisable if you don’t plan to use it often.
Street Tune Vs. Dyno Tune: Which Is Better For Your Vehicle?
The cheaper option between the two is normally the street tune. However, different programs have different costs associated with them, whether you are choosing between the FP3 vs. Pro Street Tuner or H&S Mini Maxx Street Tuner vs. Race Tuner. A good street tuner might cost you $400 or less. In comparison, you can expect to pay more than $500 with dyno tuning, but you probably won’t need to make any adjustments in the future.
When you street tune, you have a lot of factors to consider. From traffic to pedestrians, it’s not going to offer the safest environment. Plus, if you are looking at the laptop while you are driving, you are putting everyone at risk. On the other hand, the dyno tune is done in a shop, in a controlled environment, where no one can be hurt. It’s the smartest option if you want to remain safe.
Length Of Time
When you perform street tuning, you do it on your own schedule. You can street tune any time, whenever you are ready. However, you might have to wait for street conditions to improve or find a track to calibrate the car. On the other hand, if you take your car to have a professional dyno tune, it could take anywhere from two to four hours once the car actually gets on the rack. You could also wait days or weeks to get an appointment because there aren’t a lot of shops offering this service.
With street tuning, you perform the adjustments whenever it is good for you. Purchase the equipment needed and tune it when you are ready. If you need to make other adjustments in the future, you have everything you need. When you visit a shop, you have to work around their schedule. You also have to take the car in and pick it back up. Plus, future adjustments will require another trip to the shop.
If you don’t have any experience, it’s going to be better to take your car to a professional. These shops have the tools and skills needed to get the job done right. If you know a little bit about tuning, you might prefer doing it yourself. You can order the program that works best for you and play with it until you understand how it works. You should also be able to find YouTube videos illustrating how to make adjustments.
If you are doing your own tune, the horsepower gains depend on the program you choose. For example, you will notice differences between the Screamin Eagle Street Tuner and Pro Tuner. On the other hand, you can expect a 10-15% increase when getting a dyno tune. The amount of gains you receive will be closely related to how much you are willing to spend and what type of vehicle you drive. It's important to note that the EPA states that increased horsepower often leads to higher emissions and reduced fuel economy.
Street Tune Vs. Dyno Tune FAQs
How long does a dyno tune last?
If you are tuning an older vehicle with a non-electronic ignition, you might need to tweak it every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or yearly. However, if you have a newer model with electronic fuel injection and ignition systems, every 25,000 to 100,000 miles is all that's needed.
Does tuning reduce engine life?
It can, depending on how you have tuned it. Some tunes increase the horsepower, which can put more wear on the internal engine parts. However, you can also tune the engine to run more efficiently, which could extend its life.
Can you tune a car daily?
It's best to tune your car and leave it be. If you need to make a couple of adjustments, that would be okay, but tuning is not meant to be a daily affair. Instead, get all of the adjustments right and enjoy the road ahead.
Are dynos accurate?
If you compare the readings from two different dynos, the numbers will not be the same. For this reason, it’s difficult to trust the adjustments. While you might not be able to get things as precisely as you wish, you will be able to improve performance.
How do you choose between the dyno vs. street tune? If you have the money, it’s better and safer to choose the dyno tune. However, you can make some of your own adjustments with the right street tuning equipment.