There are many who decide to modify their car to improve its performance and motor enthusiasts are never short of new ideas for customizations. Some fundamental operations to make the car more performing are the optimization of the efficiency of the airflow, the exhaust system, and the replacement of suspension components to improve handling.
Finally, you can also consider adding a form of supercharging and even a nitrous oxide system. Ultimately, it’s about customizing your car to your preferences; then choose the modifications based on your driving style, your interests, and the type of vehicle.
This article is for informational purposes only; some of the customizations described may not be permitted by the Highway Code in force and could make the vehicle unsuitable for circulation.
Make some simple changes to improve fuel economy and power
Modifications to increase the car’s performance will not have much impact if you do not comply with the service schedule necessary for the vehicle to function properly. Changing the oil regularly, making sure your tires are at the correct pressure, and putting your machine through the recommended checks will allow you to perform better and last longer.
Consult the use and maintenance manual to find out the frequency of servicing and which operations to perform based on the kilometers traveled. In some cases, it is necessary to adjust the timing belt or chain or change the fluids once a certain mileage is reached, to make sure the vehicle works just as it was designed.
- A professional tuning that includes changing the air and fuel filter, replacing the spark plugs and also replacing the transmission fluid and filter, are all measures to maintain maximum efficiency of the vehicle.
- Make sure that the tire pressure is the one recommended by the manufacturer, in order to optimize fuel consumption and extend the life of the tires.
Install a cold air vent
Think of your car as an athlete racing in a race; the air supply for the machine is equivalent to breathing while running. The original ones are designed for numerous purposes, such as reducing engine noise. By replacing the factory air intake tube with a model designed to maximize power, you not only get an increase in horsepower but also improve efficiency. Typically, these custom air intakes have a larger diameter and are designed to send air to the throttle body as directly as possible.
- Such replacement vents usually also include a filter with a larger surface area, which allows more air to pass through at increased volume.
- Some models also feature heat protection to prevent the engine from heating the air as it passes through.
- The colder the air, the denser it is with oxygen, allowing combustion at higher temperatures which, in turn, increases power.
Purchase an increased flow exhaust system.
If the air intake corresponds to the inhalation of the running athlete, the escapement is equivalent to the exhalation. There are numerous options for installing such an escapement. Some people choose to fit a non-genuine catalytic converter which replaces the pipe from the catalyst to the muffler. Other quite common modifications are the increased flow catalysts, new front pipes, and even new manifolds. By changing the entire exhaust system (from the manifold to the muffler) you maximize engine performance.
- Higher flow systems with a larger diameter have a stronger impact on turbocharged vehicles and also improve their efficiency.
- The regulations relating to the replacement of exhaust systems are quite restrictive; ask for more information at the offices of the Civil Motorization before proceeding.
Reprogram the Engine Control Unit (ECU)
The ECUs present in modern cars allow the engine to run smoothly, adjusting the ratio between air and fuel in order to keep combustion constant, regardless of density (which varies with altitude) and the temperature of the air itself. If the air/fuel mixture begins to be “lean” (too much oxygen), the ECU increases the fuel supply to restore balance, while it acts in the opposite way if the mixture is too “fat” (too much petrol).
The proportion that the engine control unit maintains is established by the manufacturer and studied on the basis of various factors, such as the reduction of emissions and an increase in reliability. You can reset the ECU using a particular program or taking the car to the workshop; afterward,
- Some vehicles can be reprogrammed through the diagnostic ports thanks to programmers that you can find on the market or “chips” that you can install.
- High-end programmers allow you to transfer more than one program or performance profile. This means that you can change the air/fuel ratio as needed – for example, to achieve better performance, reduce fuel consumption or use gasoline with a lower octane number.
Replace tires with high-performance ones.
Tires are a very important element of the car. Good traction allows the car to transfer the power generated to the asphalt and makes the difference between a lightning bolt and a burnout at the starting line. Most people choose a tread type that allows for a compromise between maximum grip and good water movement in wet weather.
- Pay attention to the maximum speed the tires are designed for. This value is usually expressed as a letter indicating the maximum speed the tire can withstand. Most cars are equipped with “S” tires, which are safe up to 180 km / h. Sports tires are indicated by the letter “Z” and are capable of sustaining speeds in excess of 240 km / h.
- Some tires made for higher performance emit a louder noise than “standard” ones.
Replace the spark plugs.
They are the elements that emit the electric spark that triggers the combustion of the air/petrol mixture in each cylinder of the engine. Over time they can wear out or get damaged due to unfavorable conditions of use or a mixture that is too greasy or too lean. Damaged spark plugs have a hard time igniting the mixture, causing the engine to malfunction.
There are a number of different models, so do some research or ask the auto parts store clerk for advice when choosing which ones to fit your vehicle. You should include regular spark plug replacements as part of your maintenance schedule to prevent them from corroding or malfunctioning.
- Some are made with different materials: copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, but it must be changed frequently because it tends to corrode; consequently, many people prefer iridium ones when looking for better performance, because they have a conductivity similar to copper but a longer life.
- Remember to consult the machine repair manual when determining the gap between the electrodes before installing the spark plugs. This value, called gap, indicates the distance that the electrodes must maintain between them in order to generate the electric arc. If not correct, it could compromise the spark plug’s ability to ignite the fuel/air mixture inside the engine.
There are many online forums and groups that are dedicated to the exchange of information and knowledge between mechanics and engine enthusiasts. You can consult a specific web page or forum that deals with your car model, to better understand the possibilities available to you.