1) Cold-Air Intake
A cold-air intake should be one of the first mods you do because anyone can do it in less than an hour and you will benefit from improved acceleration and fuel economy. It consists of replacing the stock, restrictive air box for your car’s intake. The idea behind it is that by allowing air to flow naturally without any baffles or restrictions, your engine is able to breathe easier to access more air when needed.
You need to be careful as to which intake you select as the wrong choice might just make it breathe hotter engine air, so try to select one that “seals” off the engine bay from the air filter area. These kits often come with a long-life air filters that require different maintenance and cleaning intervals for optimal performance.
Read online forums to understand what other like-minded drivers and owners suggest in terms of the upgrade. Do your research and you could learn a good amount just by reading about what others have experienced and done with their intakes and the performance improvements they offer.
2) Computer Tune
A computer tune or ECU tune can range from very easy to very difficult depending on the car you are modding.
Not all cars are designed for this modification, but many allow aftermarket settings to be written to the computer. There are two primary types of ‘tunes’ for your car: a self-service, pre-made tune and a custom-built Dyno tune by a performance auto shop.
A self-service tune is the easiest and most affordable as it is usually a plug-and-play process whereby a handheld device is plugged into the car’s port for the ‘tune’. A ready-made tune file provided by a distributor would backup your computer’s settings and overwriting the stock settings allowing the engine to produce more horsepower.
3) High-performance Tyres
Tyres are your only contact with the road so make sure they have plenty tread on them and are in great overall condition.
If you find yourself pushing the car a little harder than usual, it may be worth your while investing in a set of high-performance tyres.
Not only will you get a drastically improved level of grip but also an improved fuel consumption. High-performance tyres generally have a lower rolling resistance which means you will squeeze a few more miles out of your tank.
4) Spark Plugs and Leads
Although this is not technically a ‘mod’ as it is basic vehicle maintenance but the performance of your car can be drastically hindered by using old spark plugs and leads.
Spark plugs wear out over time as their conductive elements erode away and force your ignition coils to do more work to produce a “hotter” spark. Leads also make a big difference due to electrical resistance and insulation causing interference. The cost for this is modest and can be easy to do on your own (once again depending on the car).
5) Cat-back Exhaust
Just like the air-intake mentioned previously, the exhaust needs to allow air to escape freely so if you do an intake upgrade, it’s a good idea to upgrade your exhaust too.
You will not only get notably better sound coming from the exhaust but some people who have done the mod have noticed a fuel economy improvement as much as 5% from the standard exhaust.
A cat-back exhaust system entails everything after the catalytic converter, so it’s completely legal to change.
Pricing varies greatly based on the brand and features of their exhaust systems so once again, do your research. YouTube is a great way to hear the before and after samples of people’s exhaust upgrades and to help make your decision a little easier.