You are lucky. You have a car that you can enjoy, a car that gets you thrilled during the weekends, or, on weekdays, helps you start fresh by saving your energy. It does not matter if it is a Porsche 911 from the 80s, or a Ford Fiesta ST or a SEAT León FR with the indestructible 1.9 TDI engine. Therefore, if your car is a simple utility vehicle, you can also have fun on the wheels. We provide you with ten affordable modifications that substantially and safely improve the performance and appearance of your cars.
This list is not exhaustive, in the sense that it is not its purpose to make your car a less practical machine. It also doesn’t include each of the performance improvements. Of course, we want its performance and dynamics to be superior, but without the need to install a roll cage, empty its interior, or leave you without three months’ salary. The list would be quite different if we wanted to get a car to do circuit runs or compete in amateur rallies. We understand that you still want to use your vehicle on the road.
With these nine improvements, your car will be faster, more fun, and good looking.
1. Cherished number plates, seats, steering wheel, gear lever, etc.
Modify your car and make it more efficient.
Sport seats – sometimes scrap units from the GTI version of your car – or a shorter gear stick will make you more focused on driving rather than having to contend with the forces of physics. A shorter gear lever will allow you to change gears more quickly. You can also buy pedals with a better grip or the one that will enable you to make a toe-heel more easily.
Personalized registration – a great way to improve your car appearance and make it more unique. You can achieve that with cherished number plates. To get more info on that, visit number1plates.com, and you’ll see what difference they make.
2. Install a sports intake kit
Most cars have a lot of potential for improvement. Several aftermarket parts manufacturers offer sports intake kits for less than € 200. At the same time, that can increase the power of your engine – depending on cylinder capacity and capability, of course – between three hp and ten hp. Its shape optimizes the airflow to the driver and reduces the intake temperature. You can install them yourself in a few minutes with some ordinary tools, following the instructions. To learn more about airflow optimization in Jeep cars, visit jeepequipment.com.
3. Performance exhausts
I am not referring to the typical “tubarro” that does not go beyond a silencer. I am referring to less restrictive exhaust lines, with fewer curves and optimized geometry for optimal exhaust gas evacuation. Although its price is higher, you can find complete lines that also replace the engine exhaust manifolds. Be that as it may, your car will sound a lot better. Remember that.
4. Steel brake lines
What this improvement achieves is that the pedal feel is more precise. Metal hoses do not deform like the rubber ones that most cars have as standard. The touch of the pedal will not become spongy during sudden braking, and even in normal conditions, we will feel a more natural response by transmitting the hydraulic fluid under pressure more efficiently. Plus, they have the additional advantage that they don’t break or crack over time as rubber hoses do.
5. Stabilizer bars
They increase the rigidity of the chassis around the front or rear axles. That has an immediate effect on the car’s performance.
It is one of the most affordable improvements that we can install in a car, and many drivers experience a complete transformation of the vehicle. What the stabilizer bars achieve is to increase the structural rigidity of the chassis, whether they are mounted on the front or rear axle. This increased stiffness has a positive multiplier effect on car dynamics, more precise and agile. The cornering improves considerably, and its prices can start at just over € 150, depending on the car.
6. New shock absorbers and springs of sporty size
In addition to better cornering, you will have less sway and a lowered image for your car.
Many cars can improve their dynamics with the installation of new shock absorbers and springs. Their install is up to the owner, but with the stabilizer bars, it is one of the improvements that are instantly noticed. Choose the hardness you want and make a final decision according to the model of your car. You can check that on the Internet.
7. A new braking equipment
You will stop your car with more force and in less time. Now, you may need to approve them to pass the ITV. It is a matter of budget. High-performance brake pads will improve the braking power of your car even if you don’t replace brake discs or calipers, and their price is affordable. Replacing the four drives with their corresponding calipers is a significant improvement, but can still be done for less than 1,000 euros. If you occasionally use your car on track days or you like going out on Sundays to make routes on mountain roads, it is an excellent investment to take into account.
8. Reprogram your car’s electronic control unit
Attention, quicksand ahead! We could write an article about “repros,” but we prefer to give you some simple tips. They are especially useful on turbo engines, by increasing turbo pressure from the car’s electronic brain. We recommend a very moderate reprogramming, which does not increase the power of a vehicle by more than 20%. A further increase in strength can require mechanical reinforcements or cause parts such as the turbo to shorten its useful life considerably. Consult with an expert, always.
9. Sports cut tires
The tire is the only element that connects the car to the ground. It’s a piece of rubber that we usually overlook, but it is ultimately responsible for the dynamics of the vehicle. Stay away from Chinese brands or second-hand tires, and remember that a worn tire performs poorly. There are many sports cut tires supplied by different brands, with excellent lateral grip and an exquisite driving feel.
Remember to make car modifications safely and do not skimp on expenses. Affordable is not the same as cheap: cheap is expensive, and sometimes it is better to deprive yourself of a whim than buying a product of dubious reliability and performance. Use the Internet and its forums, as they are an excellent source of information if you want to improve the performance and appearance of your car.