PCM Programming Options for Your Vette

Is your Corvette’s computer properly tuned? Whether stock, or sporting twin turbos, a properly tuned Vette will run circles around one that isn’t properly tuned. While offering a full understanding of your vehicle’s computer system would take volumes, in this article we will explore the types of products available for tuning late model Corvettes, and touch on the advantages and shortcomings of each.

1Mail Order Reflash

Several companies offer tuning where you mail in the vehicle’s PCM. The tuner uses Tuning software, and can tune for a variety of modifications. PCM For Less is one example of a company that offers this service.

Pros: Cost-this can be the least expensive way to obtain a tune.

Cons: Time-you must send in your PCM, and it may take several days to get back. Your Corvette is not able to run during this time. Labor-you have to remove the PCM, which can be a challenge for some. CASE or CAM relearn-in some vehicles, you will need to perform a Crank Angle Sensor after the PCM has been removed and reflashed. And perhaps the biggest issue, if you modify the vehicle again and need to retune, you must go through this all over again.


There are several handhelds available. Most offer you the ability to download one of several tunes that are available. In the case of a Corvette, there may only be two tunes. Performance, or Economy. Some user options are also usually available for gear changes, tire sizes, shift firmness, etc. Superchips, Diablosport, SCT are all Handheld manufacturers.

Pros: More flexibility than a Mail Order Reflash. Internet updateable

Cons: Many Handhelds are for stock vehicles. This means that if you have modified your Vette, the calibrations in the handheld will not work.

3Tuning Software

Tuning software is the most capable of the three options, and the best value if you are modifying the vehicle over time. Whether you have a heads/cam package, or a 10 PSI Supercharger with a built motor, the ability to scan the vehicle, and make changes to the Calibration is key in how well your Vette ends up running.

Pros: Tuning software is what the Pros use. Tuning software can be used on more than one vehicle. In fact, with HP Tuners, you can tune up to four vehicles, without spending additional money. HP Tuners Tuning Software comes with both an editor and a Scanner, so you can datalog how your Vette is running, then make changes based upon that datalog. Training is available to both shops and vehicle owners, and there are active forums dedicated to tuning! If you need to recalibrate the PCM because of a modification you made, no problem, just do it! Don’t know how to tune? No problem-email the file to a professional and have them tune it, or seek training.

Cons: It’s the most expensive if you are only tuning one vehicle and you don’t plan to modify that vehicle in the future. The person utilizing the software must learn how to use the tuning software, or pay a pro to perform the evaluation of the scan, and then tune it.

1If you are interested in learning more about Tuning Software, check out www.hptuners.com. If you are interested in seeing what is available for training, visit www.thetuningschool.com, www.calibratedsuccess.com and www.masterenginetuner.com as well as http://www.hptuners.com/forum/, or either of the tuning forums here on Smokin Vette . In person training is available, as well as at home courses, books, DVDs and webinars.
If you are interested in having someone find a tuner for you, email Tunerlocator@cfl.rr.com with your year/make/model and a list of modifications, and the International Association of Professional Tuners will pair you up with a Professional Tuner!

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