September 14, 2017
How to Customize Cars?
Outfitting Your Car for Performance
- Make simple adjustments to maximize fuel economy and power. Modifying your car to increase its performance will do you very little good if you fail to stay on top of the required maintenance that keeps your car running smoothly. By changing your oil regularly, ensuring your tires are properly inflated, and following the recommended schedule of service for your vehicle, you can make your vehicle perform better and last longer. Check your vehicle’s owner manual for recommended service at different mileage points. Some cars may require timing belt or chain adjustments or fluid changes at specific mileage markers to ensure the vehicle continues to run as it was designed.
- Professional “tune ups” that include air and fuel filter changes, spark plugs, and even transmission fluid and filter changes are a great way to keep your vehicle running properly.
- Ensure your tires are inflated to their recommended pressure to improve fuel economy and extend the life of the tire.
- Install a cold air intake. Think of your car as an athlete running a race; the intake on your car is the way it breathes in as it runs. Stock intakes are designed for a number of purposes that include things like reducing engine noise. By replacing your stock intake pipe with one that was designed to maximize power, you will not only increase horsepower, but fuel efficiency as well. Cold air intakes often have a larger diameter than the stock pipe and are designed to take the most direct route to the throttle body as possible.
- Cold air intakes usually include an aftermarket air filter that increases the filter surface. This allows for more air to travel through it at a higher volume.
- Some cold air intakes even include heat shielding to prevent the engine temperature from warming the air as it travels into the engine.
- The cooler the air, the denser it is with oxygen, allowing for a hotter burn which creates more horsepower.
- Purchase a higher flowing exhaust. If the intake is how an athlete (your car) breathes in as it runs, the exhaust is how it breathes back out. There are a number of options available to you when it comes to installing higher flowing exhausts. Many people opt to install a catalyst-back aftermarket exhaust, which replaces the piping from your catalytic converter(s) to the muffler. Higher flowing catalytic converters, front pipes and even exhaust manifolds are all also common modifications. Replacing the entire exhaust system (from exhaust manifold to muffler) will maximize the performance of your engine.
- Larger diameter, higher flowing exhaust systems have a more significant effect on turbocharged vehicles. The increased exhaust flow also serves to increase the efficiency of the turbocharger.
- Some states have strict regulations about replacing your catalytic converters. Check on the website of your local Department of Motor Vehicles prior to modifying or replacing your catalytic converter.
- Reprogram your engine control unit. The engine control unit (ECU) in modern cars keeps the engine running smoothly. The ECU adjusts the air/fuel ratio of your engine to keep things consistent regardless of air density (altitude) and temperature. If your engine begins to run lean (too much oxygen), the ECU will add fuel to the mixture to re-achieve balance, and vice versa if the engine starts to run rich (too much fuel). The ratio the ECU maintains is established at the factory and based on a number of factors such as reducing emissions and increasing reliability. By using a programmer or taking your car to a performance shop to have your ECU flashed with a new program that prioritizes performance, you can free up power and even increase gas mileage.
- Some vehicles can be reprogrammed through their OBDII ports using programmers you can buy for your specific vehicle or “chips” you can install.
- Higher end models of these programmers allow you to utilize more than one program or profile. This allows you to switch between air/fuel ratios that prioritize performance, gas mileage, or even using lower octane fuel.
- Swap your tires for high performance alternatives. Tires are extremely important to the performance of your car. Good traction determines your car’s ability to put the power it produces to the ground; it’s the difference between getting a good launch and burning your tires at the starting line. Most people choose performance tires designed with a compromise between maximizing the tire’s “footprint” and allowing for water displacing tread.
- Pay attention to the speed rating on the tires you purchase. The rating is usually a single letter that refers to the maximum speed the tire is rated for. Most cars come with “S” rated tires that are safe up to 112 miles per hour. Many performance tires carry a “Z” rating, which is rated for speeds in excess of 149 miles per hour.
- Some high performance tires produce more ride noise than their stock alternatives.
- Replace your spark plugs. Spark plugs produce the electrical spark that ignites the mixture of air and fuel in each cylinder of your engine. Over time, they can wear out or become ruined by unfavorable running conditions such as running too lean or rich. Compromised spark plugs have limited ability to ignite the air/fuel mixture, which may result in the engine misfiring. There are many different options when it comes to spark plugs, so do some research or consult the clerk at your local auto parts store when choosing spark plugs to install in your engine. Spark plugs should be replaced at regular intervals as a part of your normal vehicle maintenance to ensure they don’t corrode or fail.
- Some spark plugs are made from different materials: copper conducts best but has to be replaced far more often due to corrosion, so many people choose iridium plugs for performance applications as they conduct nearly as well and last much longer.
- Make sure you consult your car’s repair manual when gapping your spark plugs before you install them. The gap on the spark plug is the distance the spark needs to arc from one piece of the plug to another. An incorrect gap height can compromise the plug’s ability to ignite the air fuel mixture.
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