After owning sport cars for many years, and throwing away way too many money trying to achieve better performance, it’s only fair to share with you some of what I saw in the market, on the internet and from personal experience.
– Cold air intake: remove your dull black airbox and put a shiny air filter tucked inside a heat shield, gaining 17hp 10tq on top RPM. WOW, that’s too good to be true for only 250$!! Yea well… NO! All you’re doing is exposing your filter to more heat being more open to the engine bay. What’s the heat shield’s role you ask? Make your engine bay look expensive and shiny.
– Aerodynamic kits: car owners install spoilers, wings, body kits, scoops… hoping to get some more stability from downforce. When your top speed is not going over speed limit, you’re handling won’t be getting any better. Car will look better, however no performance gains there.
– Rims: so after you have spent some 1000s to gain around 20-30hp, you stand away from the car thinking “it’s time to slam on some big rims to make the car standout”… DON’T. When it comes to weight, there are 2 kinds, you have the sprung weight, which consists of the weight of the car, and the unsprung weight, which is the components that move when the car moves, like tires, rims, brakes, suspension, driveshaft… as not to go through a physics course (references can be found by doing a simple google search), the weight you add as unsprung weight affects greatly the performance of the car, making you lose all those expensive HPs that you bought. When it comes to unsprung weight, mainly tires and rims, think LIGHT
– Software remap: after software tuning became popular, we saw way too many tuners in the market, claiming to reach 25-30, even 40hp from a simple software remap without any hardware modifications. These maps cost around 500$ on average, so you can say every 13hp/1$, that’s wonderful news!! Don’t want to be a party popper, but NO!! Well known car manufacturers spend millions of dollars on engineers with years of researches to outstretch the performance of their cars to 200hp from a 2.5L naturally aspirated engine. All of a sudden, just by flashing a software into your OBD2, you’re expecting to gain 20% more power? Think again. Cars are designed to last over 250k miles with optimal performance and fuel economy. By installing flashes (without any hardware modification) all you’re doing is compromising your engine’s life for a few hp (yes too few to mention), or giving away your money to tuners. Is it worth it? Of course not, better invest that extra cash in maintenance.
– Expecting big power from weak cars: tuning is a very expensive and demanding hobby. If you’re on a limited budget, don’t buy a slow/modest car expecting to stretch its power to 500hp after you saved up some money. You’ll be spending much more than buying a faster car from the first place. Be wise about what you buy and what you expect, plan ahead and invest your money in a car that is cheap to tune and yield big numbers.
– Badges: the everlasting controversy, will they give you more power and stability? well after putting a lot of M badges, brembo brake caliper covers and bilstein/eibach decals, I can say, with deep sorrow, they didn’t help (unexpectedly lol)
These are few of many mistakes that we make hoping to gain more power. Remember that a car is not an investment, it’s a big liability that will cost you a lot money. It’s a great hobby nonetheless, think smart and plan ahead your mods.
Happy motoring 🙂