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4 Tuning Tips For Better Performance

Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012

There is so much information about modifying cars for better performance, that it's hard to squeeze all the art and science behind it in one article. However, in this post we want to touch on the most important aspects of the automotive performance, and give you some tips on how to get started with customizing your car for better efficiency.

Tip 1: Install A Cold Air Intake.

If we speak about performance and not just about a sporty-looking car, it's critical to know what actually makes power and what doesn't. So for starters, let’s find out where horses are hiding in your vehicle.

Basically, engine is a device which converts heat energy into mechanical energy. The most HP goes out of an explosion of air and fuel that forces the piston and gives your car or truck power. To increase this power you need to increase the amount of air. Cold air is much denser than warm, and it holds more oxygen. The more oxygen flows into the engine, the more ponies is coming out. Therefore, if you’re looking to boost your vehicle’s performance, consider upgrading your factory air intake to a more sophisticated cold air intake system. Not only will it press more HP out of your engine, but it will also improve mileage by a few mpg, which is quite an advantage in the paradigm of skyrocketing fuel prices.

Tip 2: Upgrade Your Exhaust System

The engine is breathing through an exhaust system. If you think that a louder exhaust makes more power, you’re wrong. Nowadays, there are a lot of well-designed exhaust systems which utilize cutting-edge straight-through mufflers and have a special built-in technology to mute the sound. Such muffler chambers are actually tuned as musical instruments contributing to powerful yet harmonic performance of your car. So if you want to let your engine breathe freely outputting both great HP and sound, upgrade your exhaust system.

Tip 3: Get Lightweight Custom Wheels

You can have all the horsepower in the world but it doesn't make sense unless you transfer it to the ground.

Remember one important thing: the bigger and the heavier wheels, the less performance is usually gained. The main goal is less rotating mass, which can only be reached with light-weight materials. Unless you can afford carbon fiber rims, consider getting light alloy or 1-piece wheels for your car. Another factor that affects weight is size, so when performance is put over looks, smaller diameter wheels usually work better.

Tip 4: Use a Body Kit

Fitting out your car with a body kit, you kill two birds with one stone, improving both the performance and the looks. A set of additional car accessories can not only give your car a unique exterior, but it can also improve its aerodynamics. However, don't forget that extra weight affects performance, so when choosing a body kit make sure it’s made of some lightweight materials. For example, fiberglass body kits provide a remarkable weight/price ratio, but on the other hand, fiberglass is rather fragile compared to other materials, such as polyurethane or ABS plastic.These materials are more durable and thus, more expensive.

The process of turning your daily driver into a road beast requires time and effort. Using the Internet for inspiration and the aftermarket parts store for tools, you can do much. But at the end of the day, on the way to your vehicle’s true identity, do only what makes sense for your specific vehicle. Good luck with your experiments and remember that if you have any questions, shoot ‘em in the comments!

Peter Altrem is a Technical Writer at, the US’ leading e-retailer of car parts and accessories.

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