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If you’re like me you’re always looking for ways to get more out of your ride. Ideally I’d like to get more horsepower and torque without dropping a ton of money on components and if I can get better mileage in the bargain that would be great. If you believe the advertising, one way to get those benefits without getting your hands dirty is the use of a programmer or a chip so I thought I’d see what I could learn about them. What follows is a Hypertech Max Energy Programmer review that I hope will shed a little light on the advantages and disadvantages of this product.
What is a power tuner?
For the uninitiated, the guts of a power tuner is a software program that optimizes the performance of your vehicle. It’s kind of like having a mechanic in a box except this mechanic doesn’t pay attention to stock settings unless you want him to.
The “tuner” is a small handheld device that you download the software to then connect to your onboard computer via the OBD2. The tuner reads your VIN and determines what the stock settings are for your particular vehicle and what the settings for enhanced performance will be based on your preference. You plug it in and then answer simple yes and no questions about each performance adjustment you’d like to make. Once you’ve made your choices the tuner overwrites the settings in your computer with the new “enhanced” settings.
Presto…your ride is now optimally tuned.
Hypertech programmer features
Before I get into the features of this programmer let me dispel any concerns non-geeks might have about working with a “computerized” tune. First it only takes about 8 minutes to do a tune. Secondly the only “commands” you’ll enter is Y (yes), N (no), arrow up (up) and arrow down (down). You won’t be calling Geek Squad for assistance (see the video on this page to get an idea just how easy this is).
So just what does this performance tuner do? Here’s a quick list from their promotional material:
- Custom vehicle tuning for your specific make, model, year and engine.
- Programs your engine for greater horsepower and better mileage.
- Expertly tuned across the power band for great performance at any RPM.
- Optimized transmission settings so you are always in the right gear.
- Works even when towing up to 10,000 pounds.
- Reads and clears trouble codes.
- Allows you to optimize based on the type of fuel you use.
- Corrects the speedometer and odometer when you swap out tires (up to 52″).
I’ve left out the claims of significant increases in horsepower (176 hp for diesel and 57 hp for gas) because I couldn’t find any credible third party corroboration.
How do the claims stack up to reality?
One thing for certain, there is no shortage of customer reviews for this product. What is interesting is that users seem to love it or hate it, there’s very little middle ground. Of the 854 reviews on Autoanything.com 86% rated the programmer a 4 or 5 out of five. If you go to Hypertech’s website they have reviews by make that are all stellar but those should be considered endorsements not reviews.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the most common performance comments found in Hypertech programmer reviews:
- The owner perceives an increase in power, some more than others but that’s to be expected.
- The transmission is stiffer with less resulting in better acceleration.
- Improved mileage runs about 2 mpg which doesn’t sound like much but given the price of gas every little bit helps.
- Drivers who tow loads almost universally noticed more power at lower RPMs.
Here’s a sample of “real folks” talking about the performance tuner.
Reviewed by Robert D F (Pontotoc, MS) Reviewed for a 2007 Chevy Silverado — Mar 02, 2013 6:10 AM
“I have a 2500 HD Chevy Truck with a 6.0 gas engine. I was seeking for a way to increase my horse power and gas mileage. This product has done both!!! My gas mileage is 2 to three mpg better and my power is better as well. I recommend this product!!! Get CHIPPED!!!”
Reviewed by STACEY B (RUTHER GLEN, VA) Reviewed for a 1999 Chevy S10 Pickup — Feb 06, 2013 3:55 PM
“Programmer was nicely packaged and quality felt very nice upon receipt. Upon attempting installation I found out I had to go online and download the program for my vehicle so it does not come pre installed like the other name brand I purchased for my 2001 F250 7.3L, a little irritating but completed and installed with no further delays. Installed in Oct 12, noticed immediately shift points improvement which was my #1 desired goal, possibly a slight increase in fuel economy. Would Recommend!”
And on the negative side.
Reviewed by Eric H (Livonia, MI) Reviewed for a 2010 Ford F-150 — Feb 22, 2013 6:36 AM
“Did nothing for me MPG went down not up no more power. Save your maoney and just put on an K & N cold air intake.”
Is there a downside to performance tuners?
I said earlier that you don’t need to be a geek to install and program this product and I still stand by that. However, it is software and software can be funky. When there is a problem it’s expressed as an error code and you won’t have a clue what it means much less how to fix it.
Fortunately Hypertech has excellent support. In fact they have proactive support. They must Google their brand name every day to find users with problems on all the various car forums. In trolling the forums for information for this Hypertech review it was not uncommon to see a support tech from the company jumping in to answer a member’s question. That kind of customer service is rare.
Another problem that can arise is users not changing their settings back to “stock” before having their car serviced by a dealer. While legally the Magnuson Morris Warranty Act protects your warranty when you install aftermarket products, in the real world your dealer may take exception to any warranty repair if they discover the settings have been changed.
The good news is the Hypertech programmer stores the factory settings and it’s a snap to load them back in before you visit the dealer. Once the service is completed you can load your custom settings back in.
Lastly this programmer is unique to your car truck or suv. Once the VIN is loaded in that’s it. You can’t use this programmer on a second vehicle you may own.
Overall it’s a deal
Based on the opinions of users this looks like a product I would use. I think it’s really a question of setting expectations. If I can get an extra 2 miles per gallon the Hypertech tuner will pay for itself inside a year. If you drive more than me it will pay back faster. Most everyone noticed a boost in power and to get that without opening the hood means a lot to me.
Lastly is tech support and a lifetime warranty. I’m really impressed with the amount of effort the company puts into taking care of customers. These days that’s hard to find.
Increased mileage. Increased power. Somebody to call if something goes wrong. What’s not to like?
Get the very best deal and super fast Free shipping when you purchase the Hypertech Max Energy Programmer at AutoAnything.com. It ranks high on this online retailer’s list of performance products and comes with a 1-year low price guarantee.