The list of upgrades that you can bolt, weld or mount onto your car is almost endless. However, some of them make a more significant impact on performance than others.
In our Tuned In Weekly series, we talked about an efficient order of operations for a project build that can maximize performance improvements on a realistic timeline. Today, we will explore six of the most popular and effective performance enhancement modifications.
1. Pedal Commander
The Pedal Commander is a simple yet effective performance upgrade. It improves your acceleration and throttle response by intercepting and altering the signal from your accelerator pedal to the engine control unit (ECU). By doing so, the Pedal Commander can make your vehicle more responsive to your commands. It also eliminates the delay that often occurs between pushing on the gas and the engine responding.
The result is a quicker and more fluid acceleration experience, perfect for drivers that like to hit the gas hard. The Pedal Commander also has different modes that can be switched between to suit your driving style and preferences. For instance, you can choose to drive in Eco mode for fuel efficiency or use Sport mode for a faster and more exciting ride. There are also 9 sensitivity levels to choose from, making it easy to find the ideal setting for your specific needs.
Another benefit of the Pedal Commander is that it can be easily installed and removed in less than 15 minutes. This is because it uses an OEM factory harness and does not require any additional wiring. To install the Pedal Commander, simply locate the wires and harness that go from the gas pedal to your ECU. Once you have located them, simply remove the factory plug and connect the Pedal Commander to it.
The Pedal Commander is a great option for drivers that want to improve their car without spending money on a tuner or custom tune. It is also one of the safest and most practical ways to boost your vehicle’s performance. Unlike other risky performance parts, the Pedal Commander does not increase horsepower or torque, so it is safe to use on any type of road.
2. Air Intake
A car’s internal combustion engine relies on air to churn out power. The more air your engine has, the better it can perform. Air intake upgrades are a relatively simple and affordable way to improve your vehicle’s performance. By directing colder air into the engine, intake upgrades are designed to boost horsepower, torque, and fuel economy.
While there are some impressive bolt-on upgrades that can significantly increase your power output, such as turbos and superchargers, these kinds of upgrades require extensive engine reworking and often a considerable amount of time to install. Luckily, the aftermarket offers a lot of great intake and exhaust upgrades that aren’t so drastic and can be installed within a day or two.
The most popular aftermarket air intake upgrade is the cold air intake system, also known as a CAI. These systems replace your OE air filter with a high-performance aftermarket filter and a custom intake tube that allows more air to flow into your engine. Cold air is more dense than warm air, and it is believed that cold air allows for more efficient combustion, which in turn translates to increased power output.
There are many different types of intake systems on the market, each offering a different level of performance. Some, such as the short ram intake system, offer a more moderate boost in power. Others, such as the racing radiator intake, offer more dramatic performance gains throughout the entire rev range.
Whatever type of air intake you choose, be sure to pair it with Pedal Commander. Pedal Commander eliminates the frustrating delay between pressing your gas pedal and your vehicle’s response, giving you complete control over your acceleration.
Modern cars are true marvels of engineering, relying on multiple components and mechanical systems working together to guarantee smooth, safe operation. While most drivers understand their wheels, steering systems, and brakes, many are less familiar with the suspension in their vehicles. A proper suspension upgrade, however, can make a world of difference in your driving experience.
Suspension upgrades provide a number of benefits, including better handling and reduced wear and tear on your vehicle. By limiting the amount of energy that transfers from road bumps to your car’s cabin, a suspension upgrade can improve the ride quality of your vehicle for you and your passengers. It can also help reduce tire wear and extend the lifespan of your suspension and drivetrain components.
Springs, dampers, and sway bars are common suspension upgrades that can be made to your car to improve its handling and performance. Springs absorb the kinetic energy of bumps and potholes, preventing your tires from bouncing and maintaining optimum tire contact with the road. Dampers can be used to control the rate at which your shocks compress and rebound, allowing you to adjust their resistance for different conditions. Sway bars, on the other hand, are designed to minimize body roll during cornering by transferring weight from one side of the vehicle to the other.
Another suspension upgrade that you can consider is a set of new control arm bushings. These soft rubber pieces are what keep the various parts of your suspension in alignment and can start to wear out over time, causing them to move around in ways they shouldn’t. By replacing them with fresh, performance-oriented bushings, you can expect to get a much smoother feel from your suspension.
The braking system is one of the single most important features on any vehicle. Braking converts the kinetic energy of your car into thermal energy through friction, slowing and stopping your four-thousand-pound metal machine.
A brake’s two main components are the caliper and the disc or drum. The caliper has pistons that are squeezed by hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder when you step on the brake pedal, forcing them against the disc or drum to generate friction and slow or stop the wheel and car.
Larger brake discs are more efficient at dissipating heat from the braking process. This makes them not only more effective at slowing the car, but also last a lot longer before they suffer from heat-related brake fade, which reduces their effectiveness. A high-performance brake kit is therefore a popular choice for performance-minded drivers wanting to get the most out of their car.
For the most part, brake upgrades focus on increasing the bite of the pads (through a better compound), the clamping force that the calipers can apply, and the leverage they can exert against the rotor. Many kits also feature vented and/or grooved rotors to further increase the amount of heat they can reject, again helping to prevent brake fade.
Another thing that can help with avoiding brake fade is to have your brake fluid flushed and changed on a regular basis. Brake fluid is hygroscopic and absorbs water from the atmosphere, which can affect its ability to absorb and release frictional heat.
Forget turbochargers, nitrous oxide and suspension kits – the best and cheapest way to make your car faster is by installing a set of sticky tires. High performance tires are designed to deliver grip at incredibly high speeds, so your vehicle can transfer the massive amounts of power from its engine into cornering force and acceleration. Improve your drive and upgrade with CSA Wheels’ durable 4×4 alloy rims today!
The tires are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road’s surface, so they’re a vital component of your driving experience. When choosing a new tire, pay special attention to the tire size and speed rating that is written on its sidewall. The speed rating indicates the maximum safe speed at which a tire can be driven when fully inflated. Commuters and family sedan drivers should consider H-rated tires, while sports cars may require V, W or Y-rated tires. Light truck drivers can also choose from N, P, Q or R-rated tires.
A good tire is composed of a strong, rigid core that is held together by layers of rubber and synthetic materials. The treads are made up of a variety of patterns and textures that grip the road and provide traction. The rubber compound and tread pattern determines the tire’s overall performance, handling, ride quality, braking and fuel efficiency.
A tread pattern with a lot of sipes creates more traction and provides a smoother ride on pavement. The treads also transport water from the center of the tire to the outside edges for enhanced wet weather performance. Some tires, like the Falken Sincera SN250 A/S, offer Dynamic Range Technology to provide versatile road performance for a wide variety of conditions. This technology creates a tread compound that remains flexible in hot and cold temperatures.