Many of us wish that our car went a little bit faster. We love our vehicles as they are and we’ve maintained them with the utmost care, but wish they had that few extra horsepowers to get off quicker at the red light or make an uphill climb more easily. These tips won’t make your car a full-on dragster, but they will make your daily commute a bit more fun and your four-wheeled machine a little more peppy.
1. Cold-Air Intake
The first and most commonly used trick to increase your horsepower is to install a cold-air intake in your car (if it doesn’t already have one). The idea here is that cold air is more dense and hence for any given volume, you can get more cold air into the engine as compared to hot air. More air in the cylinders with the fuel means more combustion which leads to more horsepower. Cold-air intakes can give your car an increase of an impressive 5-7 horsepower at a reasonable price.
2. Cat-Back Exhaust
Logically speaking, this is a very simple trick. All it requires is that you straighten out the pipe between the catalyst in the exhaust tubing to the back of the car up to the rear bumper. By reducing the obstructions in the path of the exiting gas, it is able to leave the system more quickly and allow for more air and fuel to be sucked into the piston. This speedy travel of gases into and out of the engine increases power. Most late-model vehicles have a catalyst exhaust system that isn’t as restrictive as the earlier versions. But if your car has an earlier version, this technique should help your car greatly.
3. High-Flow Catalyst
When new regulations forced automakers to install catalytic converters to cars, the performance of the vehicles suffered greatly. This was due to the fact that companies rushed to oblige with the regulations and didn’t have time to worry about the effect this would have on the car’s power output. Swapping the old catalyst for one with a high-flow number will noticeably increase the horsepower of your car. Pair this with a cat-back system for the greatest improvement. However, people should be careful to replace the old catalyst rather than simply knocking a hole into it (which is illegal in certain countries) and ensure that once they remove the old catalyst, they install the high-flow catalyst as soon as possible (since it is illegal to completely remove a company-installed catalyst).
There are quite a few tricks you can do with the tires to make your car go faster. For starters, you can change the alignment to make it more aggressive. Stock alignments are toe-in and can be dialed out by straightening the alignment so that the tires point in a straight line, giving you greater speed. Replacing your regular tires with short tires will also improve acceleration, but at the price of inaccurate readings from your speedometer. You can also add light-weight rims to reduce weight and improve performance, but this option may be a little more expensive than expected.
Reflashing simply means to change the programming of your car’s computer, allowing it to produce more power. Most companies deliberately place a limiter on their cars for safety reasons. This involves programming the computer so that it prevents the car from going faster than the manufacturer wants. Reflashing removes this limitation and the plus side is that it can be undone if you need to claim your car’s warranty or have work done by the manufacturer. The downside, however, is that your car must be supercharged or turbocharged to benefit from reflashing. Normally aspirated engines will only gain half an extra horsepower by reflashing, which is barely noticeable when driving. The entire computer module controlling the engine can be swapped for a newer version, but again this option may be heavier on your wallet than expected.