Performance monitors are a cool tool to monitor vehicle performance in real time and get important information about engine and vehicle characteristics. In this blog article we show what you should pay attention to if you want to retrofit a performance monitor in your vehicle. We also explain the different connectivity options that are available to you and introduce some vehicles that may even have a performance meter unlocked at the factory.
Retrofit performance monitor
- Choosing the right performance monitor: Before you start retrofitting, you should consider what information you would like to see displayed on the performance monitor. Be sure to choose a device that meets your needs and is of course compatible with the vehicle. Some monitors only have basic functions, while others provide detailed data on engine power, torque, fuel consumption, boost pressure, G values and much more.
- Connection options: Most performance monitors can be connected via the vehicle's OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics) socket. This is a standardized interface that has been present in almost all vehicles since the mid-1990s. Connection via the OBD-II socket is uncomplicated and allows access to a wide range of vehicle data. Make sure the performance monitor you intend to purchase is compatible with the vehicle's OBD II standard.
- Factory unlockable performance displays: In some cases it is possible to unlock a hidden performance display in the vehicle from the factory. This is the case, for example, with the VW Golf GTI Performance (MK7) or the Seat Leon Cupra. To unlock the ads, you usually need special software like VCDS (VAG-COM Diagnostic System) or similar. The software allows you to access the vehicle control unit via the OBD-II interface and activate or deactivate certain functions. Note, however, that unlocking such features may potentially affect the vehicle's warranty.
Vendors of performance monitors
There are a variety of performance monitor vendors, covering different features and price ranges. Some well-known providers are:
- Edge Products: Edge Products offers a wide range of performance monitors for different types of vehicles, especially trucks and SUVs. The monitors provide extensive data on engine performance, fuel consumption and other vehicle parameters.
- Bully Dog: Bully Dog is another performance monitor provider specializing in diesel and gasoline engines. The devices have extensive diagnostic and performance monitoring functions.
- Cobb tuning: Cobb Tuning is particularly well known for the Accessport product line, which is a combination performance monitor and engine management system for sporty vehicles and tuning enthusiasts. The access ports make it possible to easily and quickly adjust engine mappings and performance data.
- Scan Gauge: ScanGauge offers compact, easy-to-use performance monitors that display key vehicle parameters such as speed, torque and fuel consumption. Some of the devices are very easy to install and they are a good entry-level solution if you want to know more about the car's performance.
- AEM Electronics: AEM Electronics offer a range of digital gauges and data loggers specifically designed for motorsport and tuning. The products show extensive data visualization options and are designed to work in demanding environments.
- PLX devices: PLX Devices has launched the Kiwi 3 and Kiwi 4 OBD-II adapters, which act as a performance monitor in combination with a smartphone app. This solution makes it possible to monitor and adjust vehicle data.
Note that the compatibility of the performance monitors can of course vary from vehicle to vehicle.
What should be considered?
A performance monitor shows valuable insights into the vehicle's performance and can help identify problems at an early stage. When selecting the monitor, however, pay attention to the compatibility and the desired functions. Inform yourself previously about the possible possibility of unlocking a hidden performance display in the vehicle in order to be able to take full advantage of vehicle monitoring.
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