Is it Worth it to Tune Your Car? (BAMA Tune Review) – Vekhayn

Is it Worth it to Tune Your Car? (BAMA Tune Review)

I recently purchased a tuner for my 2006 Ford Mustang V6. Sure the V6 isn’t a race car or carries the horsepower of the V8 by any means but it can still put down some speed if needed. I was given this automatic V6 as a gift and still love to drift and slam the pedal to the medal whenever I feel like it, but I was told tuning your car could easily add a few HP and make it more fun to drive, so I headed over to AmericanMuscle.com and purchased the Bama iTSX Wireless Tuner.

iSCT Tuner from AmericanMuscle via https://vekhayn.com

The general consensus around the car community is that tuners max will add around 10 HP to your car, but many claim if your car is an automatic you may see a much better improvement due to the more aggressive gear shifts. Due to my car being automatic and naturally having really slow gear shifts and being in a spot where I will need a tune in the future (upgraded CAI, turbocharger) I figured it would make sense to start now and utilize their free tunes for life program where they promise to give free custom made tunes for the rest of your life.

The installation was fairly simple, but the wireless model has its fair share of difficulties to work with compared to the wired one due to the confusing bluetooth pairing on the wireless tuner. For more information on how to fix the problem encountered with the wireless tuner, read this post here. Really, all I had to do for the installation without the problems was simply plugging in the tuner to the OBD port in the drivers side near the pop hood button and open the app on my phone.

 

After I filled out the form on BAMA’s website giving them the information on my car, how aggressive I want my tune, etc. they graciously and quickly gave me a custom tune file to upload to my car via the app. I ran through the steps on the app including turning the car on/off, etc, and once uploaded, hit the road. At the bottom of my e-mail it did note that my car has an adaptive ECU so it would take some time for the car to adjust and relearn how to drive with the tune.

Honestly, at first when I installed the tune I was quite nervous. This was one of my first “car mods”. I wanted to start modding my car after getting into one of my first street races and experiencing the adrenaline rush and fun that comes with it, and I just wanted my car to be faster. However, I just dropped $400 on this and was worried I wouldn’t see much out of it. I did understand without getting something such as a turbo, supercharger, or engine I wouldn’t see much of a difference, but I wanted all I could get. I was told by one of my friends (@5.0_universe) who I’ve known for a little over three years now told me that one of the first and best mods you can get is a tuner, because not only will it help you down the road with other mods (pairing with a cold air intake can increase your MPG and HP), but it will “wake up your engine”. So I took his advice and bought it, honestly unsure of what would happen.

VigilantCMDR’s 2006 Pony Package V6 mustang via https://vekhayn.com

I hit the road, and luckily for me, I basically live in the middle of nowhere. I live in a rural farm area in the midwest, so I got long farm roads I can just drive through as fast as I want. At first due to the adaptive ECU everything seemed really clunky, and it was almost like this car was foreign to me, it wasn’t how I used to drive it. However, I did a few laps and after roughly 20 minutes I couldn’t stop driving and having fun with how fast it was going compared to before. What was most noticeable to me was:

 
  • Faster and way more aggressive gear shifting.

     In an automatic transmission, you usually are stuck with whatever the computer feels like doing when you’re racing, and sometimes the sequential automatic gear shifter some cars get just aren’t enough, don’t work, or in my case don’t have all the gears. My car used to shift really weird and stay in first and second gear forever before even coming close to third or fourth gear and shifted at weird points like ~4,000RPMs and slowly hit the next gear. Now with the tune my pony powerfully pushes through almost to 5.4k RPMs and shifts fast lurching the car back and propelling my car to give the Honda Civic next to me some GAPplebees. While I am not sure how healthy it is for the transmission to shift that hard or fast, I know it makes my car faster and I still have a powertrain in my car as of the date of writing this post.

 
  • The car is the “racecar” I want with the custom tune.
 I also notice that the car is more of the sports/racecar I wanted when I bought it. I would assume when you’re buying the car the dealer isn’t assuming you’re trying to street race or mod the heck out of this thing, and in most cases they are right. Most people will buy these cars to just cruise in and maybe empty some valves time to time but there is still a small percentage of people that are pushing these engines to their limit. I feel like this tune is enabling the engine to be that racecar we always want, at a moments notice once I start slamming that pedal the tune enables my car to know exactly what to do and makes the engine fly up and shift hard launching my car really fast.
  • The engine really does “wakeup”.

    Whenever I was driving the engine untuned I always felt like it had more in it. The shifting never really pushed the engine to its max and I felt like it accelerated slowly and was being held back. With the tune it removed all of that. Now when I accelerate I literally burnout for a second I start moving so fast, which is something I think is incredibly cool.

  • Safety of the increased responsiveness of the car.
      Many may say that getting a tune will make your car more dangerous, but I argue it makes it safer. My car responds incredibly fast now and can get out of a dicey situation quick, which has been helpful in scenarios where people roadrage and you need to get out, or if someone almost hits you and you’re at the edge of the highway and quickly need to maneuver around them. (both are scenarios that have happened to me!!). I have quickly been able to just floor it and use the max potential of my engine (4.0 V6!!) to get out of there quickly and avoid a car accident.
 
 

      In conclusion if you’re on the edge about purchasing the tune, get it. I bought it and never have looked back. My car is so much more responsive, I feel more in control, and I feel like even though it’s a small V6 the tune easily added 15 HP to my car just by allowing the engine to work harder and shift harder making those impromptu street races, much closer!

About the author

Tommy

Vigilant is an author extremely dedicated to his blog. From a hard life of growing up paycheck to paycheck, he somehow took advantage of the opportunity to make himself a stronger person and pushed through to keep on pursuing his career an Emergency Medicine doctor, wrestles, and lifts 2 hours a day all with a full-time job and in college. Learn more about Vigilant and the "mustang gang" here at the About Me section.

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