It’s All About the Air

When you get right down to the basics, a lot of the development money going into bringing modern new engines to the market is spent to get more air into the engines. The more air that can be “inhaled” by the intake valves before they close, the more fuel can be added and the more power an engine will produce. It is not just about power, of course, with a lot of attention being given to complete combustion and the cleaning of exhaust gases, in order to meet emissions standards and ensure good fuel economy, but when it comes to producing power, more air is what you need.

Valve timing and surface area, intake manifold design, cylinder head layout and flowrate, and many other factors are optimised to increase the amount of air that enters the cylinders. That is why turbochargers have become so popular. They are mechanical air pumps driven by the normally wasted exhaust gases to force more air into the engine’s intake manifold. In this way, a smaller engine can ingest a lot more air than would normally be possible through normal atmospheric pressure, to produce the power of a far larger engine, but with better fuel economy than large engines. Coupled with other fuel-saving technologies like cylinder deactivation, fuel cut-off, and start-stop, modern engines are far more economical than they were ten years ago, despite also being a lot more powerful.

An engine’s electronic control unit (ECU) is programmed to adjust the spark timing, variable valve timing, fuel injection, turbocharger pressure, and a huge range of other variables to ensure the best possible compromise to give you the rated factory power output and claimed economy and emissions figures. However, it is virtually impossible (and economically prohibitive) to produce millions of engines that are all composed of hundreds of parts, each to the exact same tolerances and clearances. ECU programming must account for these variances, as well as many other operational variables, and the resultant engine maps are usually always a compromise.

The great thing about this compromise is that it can be optimised, which is what a Unichip does. Think of it as a piggyback computer that is added to your engine’s ECU to optimise its settings. Now, it is possible to have engine control maps tailored to your specific engine, ensuring that you can get even better power and economy than standard, without having to modify your engine or reduce its life expectancy. What is more, we’ll refund you within three months if you’re not happy. Also, you will more than likely be able to transfer your Unichip to your next car.


Corner of Solomon Mahlangu
and Veldpou streets
Monument Park


P.O. Box 15756
South Africa