There are hundreds of modifications out there that claim to improve the performance of your vehicle. Today, we’re going to look at a few that will actually produce noticeable improvements, without breaking the bank.
Cold air intakes are one of the easiest mods to perform for some of the best results. Depending on your vehicle and the air intake itself, you can see upwards of 10 horsepower gained from a mod that will take less than an hour to install. Cold air intakes increase power by reducing the temperature of air coming into the engine, while also increasing air flow. Colder air means the oxygen is more densely packed, and produces more energy when ignited. Not only can this improve performance, this can improve fuel economy, as less fuel is needed to achieve the same amount of power as a standard air intake. Keep in mind there are a couple things to be aware of with this mod. Your vehicle’s internal computer may need a moment to calibrate the proper amount of air and fuel mixture to run optimally, so may run rough when you first start it after installing the air intake. That being said, the computer may not be able to calibrate itself and will need a tune to run properly (which just so happens to also be on this list). I’ve seen many people, especially young car enthusiasts, damage their vehicles but assuming this is a mod that will always be as easy as install-and-drive. So if your vehicle continues to run poorly after twenty minutes of driving, I would recommend going back to the stock intake and investing in a tune. Cold air intakes are easily one of the most cost effective and simplest ways anyone can increase their vehicle’s power.
No matter what kind of car you drive, if your tires aren’t sticking to the pavement, extra power isn’t going to do you any good. If when you floor the gas pedal your tires screech before you go anywhere, adding extra horsepower is just going to make you screech more, still not going anywhere. And so, having a good set of tires can make you accelerate faster, turn sharper, and stop sooner. Having a good set of tires not only significantly improves performance, but makes your vehicle much safer and easier to control. If you have the need for speed but live in a region where winters get cold and icy, I would invest in a set of both snow tires and performance summer tires. Snow tires will keep you safe on hazardous roads (a time you really shouldn’t be pushing the limits of your vehicle’s speed) and the summer tires will let you get the most performance out of your vehicle possible. If you have relatively new tires, it’s understandable waiting on buying a fresh set of performance tires, but if your current tires have seen better days, this is a no-brainer, as the benefits to your vehicle from performance to fuel economy are well worth the investment. After all, at some point in your vehicle’s life you will be buying new tires anyway, might as well make sure they are well worth the price paid.
As mentioned previously, a tune may be required to get the most out of your cold air intake, or to get any benefit at all. A tune is performed using a tuner specific for your vehicle. These tuners can be used to do a wide variety of tasks, such as diagnosing check engine lights, optimizing your vehicle to run on a higher or lower octane fuel, increase fuel economy, increase power output, let your engine rev higher, as well get the most power out of each gear before shifting, in the case of an automatic transmission. If that list of possibilities isn’t enough to sway you, this single mod is one of the easiest ways to get as much as a fifty horsepower increase for many vehicles. Usually many of these benefits have a drawback as well; for instance, tuning for greater fuel economy will usually come at the cost of power, and vice versa. There are a select few performance garages that will do this for you, but usually at a high cost. If you are a car enthusiast, I would recommend purchasing your own, that way you can tune it however you like, as many times as you like. A word of warning, many tuners come with preset tunes that are designed for specific vehicles, it is recommended to stick to those tunes or do copious amounts of research before doing your own tune, too much change to the computer can do very costly damage to the vehicle!