Let’s quickly travel to the past – you recently bought your first vehicle and thought this would be the only one you own for as long as you live. You have seen many custom builds on TV, on social and on Youtube but decided that you would instead leave your car as it is. Why? Perhaps, you thought you would have to work as a mechanic to go under the hood and not mess anything up – you felt it is complex and expensive to fix. So many have been there and thought like you.
Yet, there are easy, safe, and cheap ways to improve your car, and in this article, we will prove to you just that. So many mods could be applied on most cars, ensuring that their performance will become better. Here are some of the most prominent and simple changes you can make to achieve a better performance of your car.
Sometimes the stock tires are a real downfall of a car. A new pair will surely make a difference in the performance, improve your handling, tighten the steering wheel, look better, and improve the road presence. For example, the R-Comp tires are produced from a softer material compared to cheaper all-season ones. However, you should know that using soft tires on your car daily is not the best idea. That is because they will lead to gas mileage deterioration, more expenses, and faster wear. On the other hand, if you decide to increase the diameter of the wheel, reduce the sidewall height and increase the width, you will get more grip and improve drivability. Therefore, choosing more expensive tires pays off in the long run since they tend to be more durable, perform better and make your car more responsive.
What It Takes
You can’t really take care of the tires without specialized equipment – you won’t be able to put them on the vehicle without a machine that won’t damage the area around the wheel. This is not a problem since a quick run to the local auto shop won’t take long or cost much.
Continental ExtremeContact Sport
These tires are an overall fantastic choice for creating a quick, responsive, and durable ride. The system here is made for coupes and sports cars. The technology used utilizes a silica-enhanced compound which improves tread life and the boost.
Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT
These tires are also made for sports cars, high-performance sedans, and coupes. With these wheels, drivers will be able to get more out of their vehicles. They provide great control and driver feedback, featuring impressive refined carbon compound technology, allowing for bigger blocks and asymmetric design of the tread. All that will help with the contact of your vehicle with the pavement, providing better handling. The band without joints is a hybrid one wrapped in Aramid, which enhances durability and reduces weight. There is also a rayon cord casing which improves the performance at higher speeds.
Have you ever driven a vehicle that responds to every push of the accelerator? If the answer is yes, you have probably felt the adrenaline rush and torque, stapled features of the auto world. To achieve such good responsiveness, you need to have a very stable throttle body and surrounding components. It is fun to feel the throttle response, but the engine’s ability to reciprocate is far more critical. A cable throttle creates a physical connection between the body on the motor and the pedal in some older vehicles. With newer cars, there is a particular algorithm contained in an electronic control unit. If your car is one with a traditional throttle body, you might see that the cable has worn off, become stretched, and needs adjustment after time. Don’t worry, because this is very easily fixed in most cases – you just need to have some tools and a bit of time.
What It Takes
You will need wrenches and a few minutes to make some adjustments to the cable slack of the throttle body. You can look online for a tutorial on how to do it. You can also read your car’s manual for instructions. If your vehicle is more modern and it has an ECU, then it will be even easier – it is a good idea to read the manual once again – there you will find the relearn procedure of the throttle.
Accufab Throttle Body
These bodies include a stainless-steel shaft, Idle Air Control provisions, and a 3-position linkage arm with a threaded ball stud. You won’t have to worry about any leakages up to 100 psi. That is an exceptional choice that is high quality and will surely improve the responsiveness and handling of your vehicle.
BBK Throttle Body
This upgraded throttle body has a 75mm Throttle Body Bore, made from durable aluminum casting similar to the previous product. It has higher airflow and direct fit replacement – all this improves the responsiveness and acceleration of the vehicle. All of the products from BBK are made in the USA, so you can be sure that there won’t be any flaws happening during mass production.
A modification that is one of the cheapest ways to improve your handling and performance is by switching to high-quality brakes. They would reduce the distance required to stop and limit fading that happens during everyday hard braking. Of course, if you decide to go for a high-performance set of new brakes, it would not be cheap, but you can also go for a checkup and replace the brake pads that came with the car at a much lower price. That might be one of the easiest and quickest ways to see a tremendous improvement in the way your car runs.
What It Takes
If you know a thing or two about mechanics, you might be able to change your brake pads on your own, since you just have to remove the tire, undo the caliper holding, and put the new pads in. However, you might need to do some tooling, depending on your current rotor’s health or the brake enclosure, so we suggest you leave it to the professionals at the auto shop. Nevertheless, it is a quick process that shouldn’t take more than a few hours, and it could be even less if you are experienced.
EBC Brake Pads
The Red Stuff Brake Pads are made for fast street use and high horsepower but are also suitable for European vehicles and American muscle cars. The pads, made from ceramic, reduce the emitted dust by EOM by up to 80%, including a rust-proof exterior, eliminating the squealing and protecting the roots and the other components from damage in the long run.
Carbotech Performance Brakes
Similar to the products from EBC, these brake pads allow your car to have amazing stopping power. They are very durable and with a great design. The pads are “rotor friendly,” eliminating the grabbing and locking, which plagues some newer cars when hard braking. A specific high-torque compound is used, which improves the high fade resistance and the reproducible performance no matter the operating temperatures.
You might have already heard that upgrading the cold air intake will significantly improve your car’s overall performance, especially when it comes to horsepower. That is not the whole truth, but it is not bad to help your vehicle breathe better. The stock COI usually keeps your engine breathing and clean no matter the conditions. However, modifications on the market will improve your performance by opening a path that lets cooler air into the engine. This leads to an overall longer engine lifetime and more power. If you do this switch, you should sense a slight improvement in performance and responsiveness.
What It Takes
Putting CAI is not that complicated – the most challenging part is creating a new path for this new system. In theory, the whole process is relatively simple. You have to remove the old airbox and attach the new one, enabling you to bypass the foam filter box, usually coming with the vehicle. This is not a very expensive modification, and you might be able to do it yourself if you have a little knowledge. Nevertheless, it is always best to leave your car at the auto shop if the task seems too complicated.
Injen SP Series Cold Air Intake
This CAI is made for optimizing the effectiveness of the powerband. The combustion is also improved by allowing the induction of colder air. This aluminum system feeds rich oxygen to the engine’s cylinders, which makes the combustion efficiency better and stops corrosion. The CAI has a great design which adds to your responsiveness and horsepower.
K&N FIPK Cold Air Intake
This brand is popular for its air filtration systems. The mentioned product is an amazing modification you can add to your car. It is designed depending on the model and make of the car and has a nylon intake tube from Crosslink, letting cooler air into the engine, compared to the ordinary metal one. This system can improve your vehicle with around 26 horsepower on some models, which is impressive.
This is one of the most crucial aspects of your vehicle — this intelligent computer system has been included in almost all newer models, which have been released over the last 2o years. It assists you in regulating and evaluating the operating systems of your car. A vehicle usually comes out of the factory with some presets, controlling the mixture of fuel and air in the engine, which helps with the power and efficiency. A con is that those set parameters are usually far from what the engine is really able to achieve. At the auto shop, the professionals could reprogram it and, in this way, make the engine’s performance better.
What It Takes
Instead of getting a new ECU and diving into the complex process of replacing the one you already have, it is much better to go to a good auto shop, where you could discuss the ECU programming with a professional. It all depends on the model and make of your car and the set parameters. Although this is not the most popular mod chosen by individuals who are not part of the tunning community, it is still possible to unlock the true potential of your car. It is best to contact a professional, asking for guidelines.
AEM Infinity 6 ECU
This one was made having a successful race track star in mind. It has provided significant improvements like knock control, boost control, ignition control, traction control, injection control, launch control, Flex Fuel, traction control, and protection of the engine. All of this makes the tunning process easier, allowing better management of the car’s system, including the ignition systems and fuel injection.
Haltech Elite 2500 ECU
This product enables drivers to fine-tune their car, improving its performance. It really takes the calibration of the engine to a new level. There is a waterproof case, exhaust and intake cam control, dual-channel knock control, throttle control, and long-term and short-term map learning. It features amazing functionality, suitable for any type of vehicle, no matter whether it has a 12-cylinder or a single-engine.
Similar to the CAI, exhaust systems are an extremely widespread mod. You might decide to neglect the latter and not do anything to upgrade it. However, you should still consider improving it if you have added a new CAI. You can, of course, enhance the sound and resonance achieved by the car when there is a new exhaust. This might grant you better efficiency. Most vehicles have managed to improve their fuel economy by about 5% after such upgrades, making the engine’s performance a bit better.
What It Takes
You can divide the upgrades of the exhaust into 2: systems that are fully realized and reach the engine bay, and the ones which don’t have a purpose other than improving the audibility and aesthetics. The latter manages to achieve an illusion of a better system, but you will be able to experience only small, if any, improvement of the performance. You should definitely go for a fully realized system. If you would like to work on the car by yourself, you will need blocks to go underneath it. You should trace the old system, remove the exhaust at the head, and put in the new one. You have to have some skills to do this successfully – you should know how to weld, understand the work process of the system, and some other ones. As with the previous modification, if you feel you won’t be able to do it alone, it is best to visit your auto shop. You will have to leave your car there for around a day. The needed time mostly depends on the readily available parts.
Gibson Exhaust System
This exhaust system has tips from stainless steel protected from corrosion and manages to improve your car‘s torque and horsepower. In addition, the exhaust tone is said to resemble a NASCAR machine, allowing for constant airflow, which in turn makes the vehicle’s performance better.
MagnaFlow Exhaust System
The exhaust systems by this brand are made to provide you with better torque and horsepower instantly. Its unique design reduces the engine’s heat, relieves back pressure, and makes the exhaust much better. It is made with tubing out of stainless steel, which is fast-flowing and has no restrictions. Its mesh core is the most suitable for exhaust movement temperature. There is also a specific material that limits the unpleasant audible notes. Another feature is the overlapped welds – they allow for the exhaust system to keep working for many years.
Subframes are modifications made out of reinforcements and steel tubing, which are welded or bolted on the bottom part of the chassis. They are used to improve rigidity, which influences the way the vehicle turns, sways, and moves. Apart from their improvements, braces help track, drift, and with other racing techniques. That is because they address the issue with the body flex when there is high stress.
What It Takes
The idea here is simple – reinforce some of the key points of the subframe and protect the car against the side effects of high tension. If you know, it might be easy for you to weld reinforcements and braces onto the car. However, the process is not a quick one, and it could be expensive to do, depending on the project’s complexity. Also, you should not forget that if you add a brace, the vehicle’s overall weight will increase. If you would like to lower the body flex of the car you own and keep it in good shape, you should consider bracing. As already mentioned, a negative is only that if you are racing, the additional weight might affect your experience.
DC Sports Upper Strut Bar
This brand has become very popular in the tuning world. The crossbody chassis braces they offer have been put on numerous customized vehicles. It has to be mounted in front of the engine, limiting the body stress while driving. You won’t need to do any additional mods – this reinforcement will look great and help your performance.
Stifflers Chassis Brace
This product reinforces your car and includes a rigid frame presence, more dependable control, and full-length subframe connectors. It is coated with black powder so it will be protected from the weather and ensure that the brace will last for a very long time.
This is one of the cheapest upgrades you can choose. Although you might not feel an improvement in the performance of your car, spark plugs are crucial for the vehicle’s ecosystem. They are affordable and easily replaced, making a big difference when you want to get the best out of your car’s capabilities. With good plugs, you will get good combustion, leading to a better-performing vehicle.
Denso (4504) PK20TT Platinum TT
This product uses twin-tip technology, including an 11mm titanium enhanced ground electrode and an 11mm platinum center electrode. Both help with fuel economy and better acceleration. They include an alumina powder insulator which strengthens and improves the thermal conductivity. Because of all this, the plugs will be able to endure a lot of stress with no problem.
Autolite APP104 Double Platinum
These plugs have a platinum-to-platinum firing mechanism that eliminates gap erosion, provides durability and reduces misfires. They optimize the performance of the engine and improve fuel economy in the long run.
Thanks to the platinum ball welding process, the plug manages to keep a consistent point of contact which prolongs durability and enhances adhesion.
Many people overlook factory suspension on stock vehicles. Consumers believe that their minimally-designed systems are made to help with various driving conditions and provide overall good performance. What this means is that many suspension systems are not specifically made, having a certain thing in mind. If you would like to have a comfortable ride, you might find out that handling will then be affected in a negative way. The same goes the other way around. To fix this you can choose a good suspension system that is personalized to a particular style of driving. This will eliminate those uncomfortable effects, but do your research before choosing a system so that you can be sure you are getting the most suitable one.
What It Takes
Suspension systems are not complicated, but they might become confusing when you include full performance suspensions, coil-overs, and niche racing-spec products. This is why it is best to leave this project to an expert. While you might be able to do it by yourself, if you have the necessary skills and knowledge and spend around an afternoon working on the car, it is good to clear a whole day to be sure that you have managed to install the new system correctly. You will have to fasten, replace and compress multiple components, but the traditional tools should be enough. For example, you might use sockets, adaptors, and a torque wrench.
KW Variant 3 Coilover
This product provides you with many options for customization – from enhanced rebound compensation to trapezoidal threading, making sure that there will be enough durability under stress. There are specific dampener features (“TVR-A” and “TVC-A”) that allow you to adjust the compression and rebound. This in turn helps with steering, stability, and handling.
Bilstein B16 Coilover
This is a well-known brand that specializes in suspension systems. The mentioned coilover is one of their bestselling products. It allows you to adjust the quick damping system, the threaded body helps with lowering up to 50 mm and it uses lock rings and spring seats. The special coating limits corrosion in the long run. The gas-pressure technology provides you with a smooth ride anywhere.
You have most probably already seen cars with one seat and stripped interiors. Such a modification might be too much for you, but it is wise to think about the benefits of removing some weight from the vehicle. If you do a bit of research, you will find out that there are a lot of plastic, composite, and metal parts that increase the weight of the car. Removing those is sometimes seen as the last option in order to achieve better performance.
What It Takes
Removing all of the unneeded weight is a “destructive” way to improve your car. You can get rid of additional seats, floorboards, door panels, plastics, and sound systems. All this will not negatively affect the performance of the vehicle. It will take you about a day to do this project, some adaptors, sockets, pry tools, and screwdrivers. In this way, you will be able to remove a few pounds that have been weighing your car down.