What Is Dyno Tuning?


There’s a lot going on under the hood of a vehicle that can affect its performance and efficiency on the road. Being able to measure the production rate of these different parts and systems can allow for adjustments to be made that can increase a car’s capabilities.

This is where dyno tuning comes in. Using a dynamometer, or dyno, to tune a vehicle helps measure things like engine horsepower, torque, and the mixture of air and fuel in the engine. As changes are made to a vehicle, you can see firsthand how the power of an engine is affected.

There are two main types of car dynos: engine and chassis dynos. Engine dynos measure the engine numbers, while a chassis dyno allows the full power generated from the wheels of a vehicle to be tested.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from a dyno tune, as well as how students in the  Automotive Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) get the chance to work with this equipment.

Reasons for Dyno Tuning

There are several reasons for using a dynamometer on a vehicle.

Being able to measure the performance and output of a car helps the driver to tune the vehicle, giving it increased horsepower and torque.

It’s a good call to get dyno tuning done before adding performance work and upgrades to a vehicle as well. This is so you can maximize power but balance it out and still maintain efficiency. After modifications are made, a vehicle can then go back on the dyno to see what was gained.

Dyno tuning works by using the preferred settings of a vehicle and the systems to help enhance the performance to optimum levels. Some benefits of dyno tuning can include:

  • Increased drivability after modifications
  • Minimizing backfire
  • Maximum power
  • Stronger/faster acceleration

Another benefit is the possible prevention of maintenance and repairs. An engine that has been optimized for performance through dyno tuning will have stronger and faster acceleration. It won’t have to work as hard to accomplish the same performance, helping it to last longer.

Dyno Tuning Checklist

Before a dyno tuning session, it’s important that a vehicle is prepped. This means having parts and systems in the best condition possible so the most accurate readings can come from the dyno pulls.

Any leaks or mechanical issues can affect the results you get from a dynamometer, which is why you want to be sure to tune up your ride. Preparing a checklist of what to focus on can help:

  • Plugs and filters: Be sure to check different plugs on the vehicle to ensure they’re clean and in good condition. This goes for the air, oil and fuel filters as well.
  • Fluids: Going into a dyno tuning session with fresh oil, as well as transmission and differential fluids, can help things go smoothly. Ensure there are no leaky plugs or gaskets, and make sure you have plenty of fuel in the tank.
  • Belts and hoses: Dyno tuning sessions can be hard on the engine, so any weak or old belts and hoses could be at risk for tearing or bursting. Be sure yours are in good shape.
  • Tires: Your car’s tires run directly on rollers during a dyno pull, so you’ll want to be sure they’re in good condition and have proper traction. You don’t want to risk popping a tire on a dynamometer — it can put you and others at risk.

Having some spare parts and tools on hand when going into a dyno tuning session can come in handy as well. Replacement spark plugs or an ignition coil, for example, are good to have in case you need them.

Tune a Car in UTI’s Power & Performance Courses

Students enrolled in UTI’s Automotive Technology program get the chance to work with a dynamometer firsthand during the nine weeks of Power & Performance courses.37

Developed alongside industry leader Roush Yates Engines, the curriculum is designed with speed enthusiasts in mind. The program covers how to perform full-engine teardowns and rebuilds. It also teaches students how to make tuning adjustments to maximize engine output.

Power & Performance I

During Power & Performance I, students will become familiar with calculating compression ratios and will gain knowledge of basic engine rebuilding procedures when given specifications (blueprinting). Course material will be used to help disassemble a V-8 engine and inspect every component.

Students also gain an understanding of dynamometer testing, with an emphasis on tuning. Chassis and engine dynos are used to show how changes to an engine’s induction, fueling and exhaust systems affect performance.

When the course is finished, students will have assembled a V-8 engine, which they will take with them to the second section of the program.

Power & Performance II

Students will use the knowledge they gained in Power & Performance I to build on their understanding of engine installation and dynamometer operation. Students will be able to install an engine on a rolling chassis, installing exhaust, ignition and carburation systems.

After completing and checking various systems, students will experience their engines running for the first time and get the chance to strap their chassis to the dyno! This will allow them to see the amount of torque and horsepower produced by the engine.

Students also get to install a heavily modified V-8 on the chassis to perform dyno tuning. This will allow for a comparison between their engine and the modified one.

Emission Legal Performance Tuning

Different types of tuning software are covered during this portion of the Power & Performance courses. Students will get to tune vehicles that are supercharged, turbocharged and nitrous-powered using a chassis dyno.

This portion of the course allows students to learn about EPA emissions requirements and how different performance accessories can affect engines. It also helps to teach them about utilizing tuning software and a five-gas analyzer.

Learn Engine Tuning at UTI

You can have the opportunity to build, test and tune engines when you enroll in UTI’s Automotive Technology program. You can download the full course catalog to get more in-depth information of what’s covered in the Power & Performance courses.

Pursue your passion for the automotive industry and graduate in less than a year7 with the skills and hands-on experience needed for an entry-level career.1 Request more information today.

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
7 ) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
37 ) Power & Performance courses are not offered at NASCAR Technical Institute. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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