Top 10 ways to Make Your Car Go Faster

Suggested by SMS

We Americans love our cars. Our cars are rarely just a means of conveyance. We take pride in our cars and see status symbols within them.

There are expensive cars and cheap cars. Fast cars and economical cars. For most American men our first cars were used and a little run down. But we always wanted to find a way to get more from our cars. Most notably almost every guy wanted more speed out of their cars.

My personal experience with building a faster car was a 1969 Chevelle. I bought it with a 307 cubic inch engine and modest transmission and rear end gear ratio. It had some power, but for a car that was built in the time when all cars had actual frames under them, it was a heavy car, and it could barely out perform an old pickup truck.

By the time that I regrettably sold the car it had a custom built 454 in it. It would almost get the front tires off the ground from a dead start and would do 0-60 in 5.6 seconds.

In my case, I was able to get my car a lot faster by investing a huge amount of money on a completely different engine. This is not necessary these days. There are hundreds of aftermarket bolt on performance enhancing products and techniques that can be employed to make any modern car faster, more powerful and more efficient with fuel.

Since I obviously don’t know what kind of car you are about to beef up, I am going to keep the items in this list as generic as possible. If your car is still under factory warranty, you will need to ask the car manufacturer if any of these items will void your warranty.

10. Electric Fans


Somewhere between your engine and the radiator is a fan. This draws air through the radiator to keep your engine cool. On older cars this is a mechanical fan. It runs off of the engines power via a fan belt. These mechanical fans draw a surprisingly large amount of horsepower directly from your engine. By removing this mechanical fan and replacing it with an aftermarket electric fan, you have freed up some extra horsepower to reach the ground. Do some research; there are a plethora of aftermarket electric fan manufacturers out there. You will easily find one that fits just right in your car.

9. Electric Fuel Pump


Pictured above is a mechanical fuel pump. It is driven directly off of your engine. Usually powered by a lobe on your crankshaft, mechanical fuel pumps are one of those things that rob power that should be going to your drive wheels. So, for the same reason you want to convert your mechanical fan to an electric one, you should do the same for your fuel pump. If you upgrade both your fan and fuel pump, you may want to keep in mind that you are now drawing extra power from your battery and alternator. These may need to be upgraded now too.

8. Air Induction


Your engine pulls in air and mixes it with fuel. This mixture is burned and produces horsepower. So if you can increase the amount of cool dense air that your engine is able to pull in, you will produce more power. The fact is that most cars are manufactured with the air it pulls in limited for various reasons. There are several companies out there that make aftermarket air induction systems to bolt directly on to your car in an afternoon. K&N is the leader in this field. A couple of hundred bucks, a few simple tools and a Saturday afternoon and K&N will guarantee extra horsepower for your car. In most cases your fuel economy will increase as well, making this an aftermarket item that pays for itself.

7. Carburetors


If you are working with an older car, chances are that you have a carburetor. This is a device that mixes the air and gasoline into a vapor to be burned inside the engine. All newer cars will have some form of fuel injection, but if you do have a carburetor on your car, this is one of the easiest ways to increase your horsepower. If you have a 2 barrel carburetor, you should upgrade to a 4 barrel carburetor. There are a lot of carburetor manufacturers out there that build the performance parts you need to make your car faster. Most notably in America would me Edelbrock and Holley. To upgrade your carburetor from 2 to 4 barrel will also require you to install a new intake manifold. Doing all of this will cost a few bucks, but the difference will be very noticeable.

6. Fuel Injection


If you have an older engine that is carbureted, and a few bucks that you can afford to invest into making your car faster, converting to fuel injection may be for you. Edelbrock and Holley both offer bolt on multi port injection systems for most American engines. Because these systems are electronic and not mechanical like a carburetor, they are more precise. They will offer your engine more horsepower and better fuel economy. As the items in this list get more complicated, the cost of the upgrades also increases. Your ability to increase the speed of your car is usually only limited to the amount of money you are able to spend on your car.

5. Performance Chips


If you are trying to increase the performance of a newer car (‘90’s and up) You are most likely dealing with a car that was built with electronic fuel injection.

Electronic fuel injection is controlled by a ‘computer’ or chip of some sort. Well, as you may have guessed, there are companies out there that have figured out ways to enhance your cars performance by simply replacing or modifying the chips that control your engine.

These chip upgrades are very versatile with their applications. You can buy a preprogrammed chip or you can buy a chip and a programmer device that will allow you to modify the performance chips yourself. You can achieve better fuel mileage, better towing capabilities, better horsepower and of course better speed either off the starting line or in the top end.

4. Exhaust System


While most of the suggestions in this list are dealing with getting more air and fuel into your engine, another way to increase performance is by looking at ways to improve getting the exhaust out of your engine more efficiently. Removing your mufflers and adding glass packs will make your car a lot louder, but generally won’t offer any real performance. For most cars the exhaust system is choked down right at the engine itself in the stock exhaust manifolds.

By replacing your exhaust manifolds with “Headers” the weakest link is improved in your exhaust system. From that point back to your tailpipe, the general rule of thumb is the less restriction getting the exhaust out of your car, the better the performance will be.

While you may have 2 tailpipes at the back of your car, in most cases your exhaust is choked down to 1 catalytic converter then split back to 2 exhaust pipes towards the back of the car. For truly improved performance you will want true dual exhaust all the way back.

There are laws governing the removal of catalytic converts and the amount of noise you are allowed to produce. So when converting your choked down car into a true dual exhaust system, check your local laws regarding noise and catalytic converters. The converters are very expensive, so if you have to have them and you want 2 of them, it is going to cost a few bucks.

3. Turbochargers


While turbo chargers are stock equipment on almost all diesel engines, most people are not aware that you can install an aftermarket turbo charger on your gasoline engine for a great increase in performance. Essentially how a turbo charger works is, it uses the exhaust gasses to spin an impellor which builds a positive pressure of fresh air and forces that air into the intake to mix with the fuel. This upgrade is an expensive one. The turbo charger itself will cost around $1000.00 and to install it, you will have to modify both the air intake system and the exhaust system of your car.

There are companies that produce aftermarket turbo chargers for just about any car on the road today. If you have the cash, you can have a turbo charged car.

2. Nitrous Oxide


The principal is very simple. If you add Nitrous Oxide to your air and fuel the mixture becomes considerably more explosive and therefore greatly increases horsepower.

NOS is a company that specializes in this concept. No matter what kind of car or engine you have, there is an aftermarket NOS system that will inject your car with a burst of extra horsepower.

There are many different systems. You can have a dose of nitrous dumped into your air intake, or for the person who really wants a punch there are also systems that inject from multiple points directly into your intake manifold. You are limited only by how much money you are willing to spend.

A couple of things that you will want to consider before adding a nitrous system to your car is that too much nitrous will blow your engine apart. Depending on the type of engine you are running you need to be very careful with the amounts of time that nitrous is injected into your engine.
The laws governing the use of nitrous oxide vary from state to state. In many cases it is legal to have nitrous oxide in your car but not legal to use nitrous. So check your local laws and regulations before you fork out the cash for this upgrade to improve the speed of your car.

1. Superchargers


You will see giant superchargers sticking out of the top of drag racers and very beefed up classic muscle cars. There is nothing more impressive looking that you can do to your car than have one of these monsters poking out of the hood of your car.

But far more impressive than the appearance of a supercharger is the performance of a supercharger. These big breathing beasts will add a huge amount of power to your engine instantly.

In a nutshell, while stock engines depend on vacuum and atmospheric pressure to get the air fuel mixture into the combustion chamber of your engine, a supercharger physically compresses the air, making it denser and shoves it down your engines throat! It is kind of like a turbo charger on steroids.

There are several different types and styles of superchargers. The monster pictured above is the cream of the crop and requires a good old American V-8 engine to handle all that extra horsepower. There are smaller versions for most types of engines available out there for a wide variety of different cars. Many of them are low profile enough to stay under the hood. In the case of supercharger’s, bigger is better.

A couple of things to keep in mind if you are considering adding a mega-blower to your car;
They are very expensive. You could generally buy and entire new engine for less than the cost of a bolt on supercharger.

They are complex. These amazing devices don’t just come out of a box and bolt right on to the top of your engine. There are a lot of modifications that you will have to do to the engine to get them operational, not to mention you will have to cut a hole in the hood of your car.

There are legal issues as well. When I was considering adding one of these to my 1969 Chevelle in Wyoming I found out that it was illegal. It turned out that they were grandfathered in for use on ’68 or older cars. So be sure to check your local laws regarding superchargers. You may be able to install a smaller version in your area.