Piggyback ECU Tuning Modules

What is an ECU?

The vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU) works just like any computer. It plays a vital role in controlling how much fuel is directed into the engine cylinder, ignition timing, and a lot more fundamental engine functions. In modern-day automobiles, the ECU is also responsible for handling sophisticated electronic systems like managing variable valve timing and valve control.

An ECU or Electric Control Unit can help you unlock an abundance of controls that will allow you to obtain your goals. For one, it might release more horsepower and torque from your vehicle because manufacturers are known to limit the horsepower and torque of production cars. Adding a powerful ECU might also change the driving characteristics of your car making it more responsive to the suggestions of your right foot. 

On the other hand, it might become one big costly project that delivers far less than your expectations. Or worse, you might even lose performance and dollars at the same time. Yikes!

When it comes to tuning your vehicle, you normally have two options. First is to alter the original coding sequence of your car’s factory ECU (Electronic Control Unit) using a tuning device like a chip. The chip contains a specific tuning program and is fitted in the factory ECU, changing its coding. This can also involve completely replacing the factory ECU with a standalone aftermarket ECU that is more powerful and versatile.

The second option, meanwhile, involves the use of special tuning modules that override your car’s original system settings. These devices are known as piggyback tuning modules.

Why Install a Piggyback Module?

One of the more popular solutions when overriding your car’s stock ECU is using a piggyback.

A piggyback tuning module is an electronic device that intercepts sensor signals and modifies them before sending the signal to the ECU. 

The main function is to provide a distinct performance-based map to enhance your car’s horsepower and torque. There are piggyback modules that can be custom programmed while others, called plug-n-play, feature pre-set mappings.

Installing a piggyback module is not as intimidating as it sounds. You don’t even have to be a licensed mechanic to do it. YouTube has lots of self-help videos when it comes to this particular thing – including us. See video below.

Since your car’s factory ECU will still retain its normal functions, your car will be able to communicate via the OBD-II port. This allows you to pass emission tests, examine codes and issues, and run OBD-II gauges through the port. 

It works in complete compliance with any sensor and gauge in your car. Since there are zero changes needed on the factory ECU or sensors, every function will remain the same. And then when you call for the performance you want, it will be there.


Vivid Racing’s catalog of ECU tuning products includes piggyback tuners, tuning box kits, standalone ECUs, gearbox tuning, ECU flashes, and more!

Buy online or give one of our world-class professionals a call at 1-480-966-3040.