Many people prefer having a car over using public transport. Personal cars are fast, convenient, and contribute to future savings. But as cars age, their performance decreases, and upgrading to a newer version is expensive.
You should regularly maintain your car to increase its lifespan or take measures to improve its performance – this can increase your vehicle’s life by 50%. Improving your old car also increases its resale value. Here are a few ways to go about it:
1. ECU Remapping
An ECU (engine-controlled unit) is a small device that contains a chip with software that controls your vehicle’s operating system. ECU remapping – also called ECU tuning – involves overwriting or modifying this unit’s settings to improve car performance. Through this technique, you can reprogram the car to manage fuel injections, airflows, and sensors within legal requirements.
You can increase horsepower, ignition control, and engine torque and have better fuel consumption.
Note that you can not remap your car if it was produced before 2000, as older cars lack the software required.
ECU tuning is a low-cost way and reversible way of improving car performance – you can simply reinstall the original software if you want to. However, it does have a few drawbacks: it invalidates your car’s warranty, as the modifications can affect the reliability of your car beyond the manufacturer’s control.
It will also cause your insurance cost to rise. Some insurers may void the policy in case of an accident or refuse to insure a remapped vehicle. Consult with your insurance company beforehand to prevent these risks.
2. Use a Carbon Fiber Engine
You can replace stainless steel exhausts with carbon fiber exhaust. Its increased strength and lighter weight ensure better performance and make your car run faster.
Carbon fiber engines can also resist high temperatures. They are durable and resistant to corrosion by acids, alkalis, or oils. If you own a BMW, you can go through Monaco Motorsports‘ carbon fiber exhaust tips to enhance your car.
However, it’s essential to note that stainless steel is often cheaper than carbon fiber.
3. Get Performance Tires
Poor tires get the work done but affect the car’s performance. In contrast, performance tires have better-handling response, steering, and traction due to better grip. As they incorporate malleable rubber with a wider surface and better hold, you can improve your braking and decrease the chances of getting into accidents.
Performance tires also let you drive faster because of increased handling response and better contact patches with the ground. The tread patterns make tires safer and more stable, even during rainy days. The tires can resist heat, too, preventing overheating that can lead to tire failure. Although they can be expensive, performance tires are a worthwhile investment as they have better quality and last longer.
4. Align Your Wheels
When the angle and direction of tires are accurately aligned, they are easier to control. Aligned tires offer a better grip which increases traction and reduces skidding. They also improve fuel efficiency and enhance safety.
Proper alignment can also reduce future wear and tear on suspension components of cars. You can forgo repair and replacement costs with proper alignment, as misalignment causes damage due to potholes and bad roads.
5. Upgrade Brakes
If your braking system keeps overheating or you have increased your car’s engine power, you should consider upgrading your brakes. More substantial stopping power will also improve your car’s performance in extreme weather conditions. You can do the following to improve braking performance:
- Increase the caliper piston’s size to apply pressure to a greater area.
- Increase the disc radius for a greater break torque and higher moments; you can apply more pressure at a larger radius.
- Increase friction between pads and rotor by using materials supplied by manufacturers to increase braking torques.
- Increase line pressure by decreasing the master cylinder diameter.
6. Improve Air Intake
Another economical method to improve your cars is by installing a cold air intake system. It facilitates airflow to the exhaust and motors of your car by enhancing the stock intake system. So, instead of internal hot air, you get to feed colder and denser air to the engine. Colder air also has more oxygen which boosts your car’s power. Its benefits include the following:
- Increased horsepower
- Improved acceleration
- Better mileage
- Better filters
- Better sound.
However, its drawbacks include hydro-locking; moisture entering the engine can cause mechanical damage, such as by stopping the piston. You will also need to tune the engine with a new unit, as the air intake can lead to inaccurate readings.
Pairing cold air intake with an exhaust update is recommended to increase engine efficiency. An exhaust upgrade will improve airflow by filtering out toxic substances and moving combustible materials out of the car.
7. Synthetic Lubricants
Synthetic lubricants are an alternative to synthetic motor oils. Unlike oils, lubricants provide optimal performance in extremely high and cold temperatures.
Lubrication decreases the friction between the various parts. Smooth working allows the parts to experience less wear and last longer. So, for instance, if your car overheats, the lubricants will keep the parts working until you can pull over and assess the situation.
8. Get Premium Oil
Premium motor oil will save you money on repairs and replacements while your engine runs smoothly. In contrast, oils such as mineral oil contain impurities that can damage your engine.
Premium oil has additives that enhance its performance and make it slicker, allowing it to move freely between engine components and preventing sludge buildup or thick oil. Your vehicle will require fewer oil changes, and you will get better mileage.
9. Maintain Ignition and Upgrade Spark Plugs
Ignition maintenance is vital to improving your engine’s performance. Ignition coils transfer voltage to the spark plugs, which in turn release electricity, igniting air and fuel to put the piston in motion and keep your car running.
Spark plugs increase power, but older ones can lead to misfiring and overheating. Periodically change your spark plugs and replace parts with high-performing ignition parts when it’s time.
Here are some upgrades you can make:
- Change your spark plugs with a platinum tip or iridium, as they require less voltage and tend to last longer.
- Space the spark plugs appropriately; you can get bigger sparks with larger gaps, provided the ignition can handle them.
- Upgrade your plug wire with the addition of an ignition amplifier.
- Improve performance by advancing ignition timing. However, you need to be careful as it can damage your engine. This may require the use of premium oil or gasoline.
Whether you want to do it yourself or get the help of professionals, good maintenance habits are essential to ensuring your car’s efficient performance and longevity and avoiding costly repairs down the road. Do your research, speak with experts, set a budget, and consider your car’s model before making your decision. If you want your car to run at its best, you need to keep up with maintenance.