So, you’ve got a need for speed and you want to start modifying your ride. Where to start?
Ideally, you want to increase your car’s overall performance, which will increase horsepower. But before you go down the rabbit hole of high-performance upgrades, it’s important to have an understanding of how your engine works—and where it gets its horsepower from.
Lucky for you we’ve put together this simple guide on engine performance and how to increase your horsepower. Keep reading to learn more.
Improved engine performance is the best way to increase horsepower. It’s that simple. Of course, if you don’t know where to start it can get a little overwhelming—especially because there’s no particular order that designates what to upgrade first.
So, let’s break it down. Your car’s speed is determined by your engine’s efficiency, the programming of its electronic parts, and the overall weight of your car. With this in mind, the very least—and most important—thing you can do to increase your horsepower is to provide your car with the right amount of air and fuel.
Air and fuel are your car’s life force. Their combustion alone is what gives your engine the force it needs to power each moving part. Therefore, the more air and fuel you can put into your engine, the more power it can put out.
Most of the upgrades you’ll come across are either designed to force more air and gas into the combustion chamber or drive out the extra exhaust. You’ll also find upgrades like an ACT clutch, which don’t necessarily add power, however, they allow you to use your engine’s power more efficiently by engaging each gear faster.
Now without further adieu, here are some of the best and most popular ways to increase your horsepower:
Small but mighty they are, your spark plugs are not something to be overlooked. They’re critical to your engine as they provide the spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture in your combustion chamber. If one goes bad it’s enough to cause your engine to misfire or keep your car from starting.
Upgrade your spark plugs and change them every 20,000-30,000 miles accordingly with your owner’s manual. Trust us, it makes a difference.
Upgrading from a stock filter to a cold air intake is one of the best and easiest ways to increase horsepower. They have special filters that increase the surface area that pulls the air into your engine. Not only do they increase the amount of air that’s taken in, but they do so while the air is still cool.
Why does this matter? Because cold/cool air is much more oxygen dense—and oxygen dense air molecules equal more power. They also reduce airflow resistance which reduces unwanted turbulence within the pipes.
By upgrading your exhaust system you can reduce the amount of engine restriction. A high-performance exhaust system allows for the exhaust gases created by the combustion process to escape much quicker. They also don’t muffle the sound of your car, which another reason they’re a popular upgrade.
In other words, it helps your car to “breathe” better, as expended air and fuel can exit the combustion chamber faster. With a quicker exit, more air and fuel can be burned per combustion compression, which means more power.
There are a few different types of aftermarket exhaust systems, and you can one to fit every budget.
As we mentioned before, the overall weight of your car comes into play when determining speed. This is because horsepower is a unit of measurement defined by the rate at which work is done. More specifically, the power it takes to pull a certain amount of weight over a certain amount of distance—in a certain amount of time.
Therefore, another way to increase your horsepower is to reduce your car’s overall weight. One way to do that is by upgrading to high-performance wheels.
They may be an expensive upgrade, but they’re worth it. Not only will they improve your traction and handling, but they can lighten the load up to 10 pounds per wheel. That’s a potential total of 40 pounds shed from your ride.
Superchargers and turbochargers are referred to as forced air induction systems. You can install one or both, depending on what your budget allows.
A supercharger works by compressing the airflow—or forcings more air—into your engine. If you recall that more air in your combustion chamber equals more power, then you’ll find that a supercharger will provide a significant increase in horsepower. They also give you instant acceleration when you step on the gas.
A turbocharger’s power works its magic from the exhaust. Basically, it uses exhaust gas to power a turbine. The turbine spins an air compressor, pushing more oxygen into the engine cylinders. This allows more fuel to be burned each second. It’s like having an air/fuel recycling system in your car.
You can think of Nitrous Oxide as a portable super/turbocharger. Its portability is actually what makes it so popular because you can use the same kit in multiple cars. Nitrous is like a quick oxygen injection for your engine, as it creates air directly in your combustion chamber. This creates more power—and speed.
A bottle of Nitrous can run you up to $3000, but it can be used in addition to a supercharger and turbocharger. It can also reduce turbo lag and is legal in most states.
There are plenty more upgrades that you can get your hands on to increase the horsepower and overall performance of your car. At least now you have an idea of where to start and what some of the most popular options are.
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