Most people are unhappy with their cars performance. There is an old mantra among car enthusiasts that you can never have too much power. It does seem that the more power you have the more you crave.
It is also a fact that manufacturers make compromises in setting up a car. They have to build a car which is sold in different markets, has to deal with different grades of fuel and cope with temperature extremes from -20 to +40 so to save money each car is set to perform optimally in every region.
This actually gives a wide margin to the car tuner to come along and improve things. Going to the extreme though usually compromises reliability and durability of the engine. You’ll usually find that by upgrading one part another needs to be uprated to cope with the extra power.
Safe stage 1 car tuning modifications.
- Induction kits – basically a high flowing air filter, these are easy to fit and on larger engines cars and turbos will usually give a little more power at the top end of the rev range. They also give the engine a nice roar.
- Remaps – this changes the cars timing and fuelling (and boost on turbo engines) and dramatically increases the power. Turbo cars will gain around 30% whereas NASP engines will usually see 15% more power. This is the most cost effective mod to carry out.
- Sports exhaust – a high flowing exhaust and sports cat will free up top end power. It’s worth noting that most car exhaust are more than adequate. If you have tuned a cars power to much higher levels the exhaust may well be the bottleneck slowing it all down.
- LSD – a limited slip differential will help to put the power on the road, especially in corners or on wet or slippery surfaces. Track times decrease constantly when a LSD is fitted.
Most other mods such as stage 2 or stage 3 upgrades require more than one bolt on part. Fuelling often needs to be increased and the standard clutch will usually start to slip.
Our word of advice to the new car tuner is not to believe the claims made by manufacturers. Instead look online at reputable independent car sites or forums to source a suitable car and impartial advice on tuning cars. Try autotrader and TorqueCars for starters.
The aim of car tuning is always to end up with a car that perfectly caters to your driving style and preferences. Some drivers like low down torque, others use the higher RPM ranges which is where they want the power to be. You also have to bear in mind considerations such as fuel economy, running costs and reliability.
Also when a car is tuned you have to shorten your service intervals and expect to pay out more frequently for tyres and brakes but this does depend on your driving style.
There are many other sites out there full of car model specific tuning advice as well. Please let us know in the comments below if you have modified your car and what your plans for it are.
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