We all want to go faster, but where should we start? How can we make our cars faster, and what are the best ways of doing it? Not to mention, how do we get the most bang for our hard-earned bucks? Every make, model and year will have different options for specific modifications, but we’re going to go over the ins and outs for general speed upgrades and modifications that will work for most cars – and there’s much more to it than just focusing on the engine and trying to squeeze out as many horses as possible, we do want our cars to be great all-around performers after all.
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Get Tires With More Grip
There’s no point in increasing your car’s power if you can’t get it effectively to the ground, so it’s time to fit some fat and sticky tires. Tires won’t just help you get more grip during acceleration, they will also improve cornering speeds and reduce braking distances.
Get a good set of tires and keep them properly inflated as well as checking the tread often and keeping them in top shape. Coupled with lightweight rims, the car will be much more responsive and fun to drive.
Upgrade The Brakes
Performance isn’t all about power and handling, you need to be able to stop and set the car up for corners efficiently as well. If your brakes aren’t up to the task you’ll be off the throttle and stomping the middle pedal much earlier than you need to with a good brake setup.
Basic brake upgrades, like better discs and pads, aren’t all that expensive, giving you some significant gains on a budget. Taking things further, you can go for drilled and/or grooved discs. For those who want to get serious, a big brake conversion with massive discs and huge calipers should provide unbeatable stopping power. Don’t forget the brake fluid and lines to get the most from your setup.
Upgrade The Suspension
Having sorted the brakes, wheels, and tires, it’s time to make your car handle through corners as well. Upgraded suspension will stiffen up the car, and reducing body roll means improved handling and response.
There are several components that can be changed in order to achieve this. The usual place to start is by fitting a lowering kit. Those on a budget will usually go for a set of lowering springs, but for better performance, a full set of springs and dampers or a coilover setup is recommended. To reduce chassis flex you can add sway bars and tower braces.
Engines run on a mixture of air and fuel, so by providing the engine with more air, we can increase the power. Air intakes are essentially a pipe with an air filter fitted on the end, and they do exactly what it says on the box – let your car’s engine intake more air.
The air intake will let your car breathe more easily, but it has to be fed cold air, as warm air will end up costing you a few horses – and we don’t want that. An air intake on its own won’t provide you with a lot of power, but it’s essential if you plan on modifying the engine further.
Performance exhaust systems are known to most people for its notorious habit of making cars louder, but there’s more to it than just the added noise. By upgrading the exhaust, the amount of restriction on the engine is reduced by easing the flow of the exhaust. Or in layman’s terms; it increases performance.
A full exhaust system, from the headers to the tailpipe, will provide the biggest performance gains. A cat-back system is a bare minimum for any performance gains, anything less will just make the car louder without any significant power increase.