Every one of us has, at some point, watched a popular car tuning show, said, “wow, this sounds awesome,” switched the channel, and scrapped the idea altogether. This process just has to be too expensive and too complex for an average Joe.
If you got this impression, we are here to break the good news – you are only partially wrong. You see, even though car tuning takes a lot of time, resources, and effort the skill can be mastered even by absolute beginners as long as they know what they’re doing.
We are here to help you make these first steps and give you some useful tips that will introduce you to the world of tuning.
Never underestimate general maintenance
Tuning a vehicle that is not well-maintained is very similar to building a house on a broken foundation. The whole thing will fall apart sooner than later. So, do your best to keep your car in top-tier condition both on the outside and the inside as well. The bodywork should be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a month, while all essential fluids should be checked and refilled according to guidelines provided in the owner’s manual. Also, always use the tires appropriate to the season in which you are driving.
Understand basic engine mechanisms
Yeah, we are going deeper into the engineering/mechanics waters now, but be that as it may, understanding the basic engine mechanisms is an absolute must if you want to enter the world of DIY car tuning. This issue is far too complex to be tackled here, but we will give you some pointers to the topics you should research:
- Air cleaner filters
- Airflow meter
All these systems have a huge impact on car performance, and you should know them inside out. Once you finish the research, you can start buying your future race motors engine parts and start the assembly.
Add more power by managing intake/exhaust
When exercising, humans tend to breathe quite heavily to reach optimal strength. Cars are not that different, so they also produce more strength by breathing in more air. Fortunately enough, replacing the intake system is not that hard, so you should put this at the top of your upgrade priorities. However, in order to achieve optimal power, your car also needs to be able to breathe out efficiently. Therefore, upgrading the muffler and the exhaust system should follow soon after.
Consider installing forced induction
The combustions that drive modern engines require an ample amount of air to happen. We have seen how to bring that air to the engine without any obstructions. However, if you want to push your car over the edge, you can consider replacing the stock supercharger for a unit of larger volume that will be able to force more compressed air into the engine and thus produce stronger combustions. This upgrade should be accompanied by a larger intercooler system that cools off the air that gained heat during compression.
Fine-tuning the suspension system
The suspension is an essential car system that smoothes out the ride and keeps the vehicle under control at high speeds. Once you upgrade your engine, your old suspension system won’t be able to manage the added power, so it is highly advisable to replace it as soon as you are finished with the exhaust. Where to start with this one? Well, stiffer springs and more consistent shock absorbers will definitely give you that extra ounce of stability when steering, so you can replace them first. Ball joints, sway bars, control arms, and similar components should follow soon after.
Don’t skip the brakes
The math is simple here – the more power the engine produces, the more brake power you will need to bring the vehicle to a halt. So, your stock brakes will probably have to go as well. If you are wondering about the replacement, we would suggest that you consider using ventilated disc brakes. Since they feature a cooling system, they perform much better under heavy pressure, which results in shorter stopping distances and less damage inflicted on the discs. If you want to get the optimal safety, you can go with “disc-disc” conversion and replace the rear drums with disc brakes as well.
Cover the body with wallpapers
Last but not least, we have to cover the visual upgrades that probably make one of the most appealing things about car tuning, to begin with. Well, since all of the upgrades we have mentioned above require substantial financial investments, we will give you an easier way out of this one. Car wallpapers have come a long way since cheap tribal patterns we have seen countless times in the previous decades to some very appealing and trendy designs we can get now. Most importantly, adding wallpapers is cheap, simple, and takes no time whatsoever.
These few tips are far from a complete story, but they should give you some general idea about the first steps you can take to turn your old four-wheeler into the lean, mean beast you have always wanted. Mastering the skill will, of course, take some time and effort. But hey – now you at least know where to start.
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls and a passionate traveler. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.