Car tuning refers any adjustments made by a vehicle owner to its appearance or the performance. Most people choose to keep their vehicle as it is manufactured and feel it is best to keep it that way. Car enthusiasts, however, over the years have preferred to make modifications or tuned their cars to enhance either the outlook or optimize the way it performs. Some may like better fuel economy, some might prefer better power, or some would want to improve the car’s handling and driving.
Cars are mostly tuned for the pleasure of owning and driving. Alteration to the car’s outlook include changes made to the sleek characteristics of the vehicle via side skirts, spoilers, front and rear bumpers, air vents, splitters and lightweight wheels. Car tuning is an attempt to bring out the highest possible performance from the base motor vehicle through alteration, addition or outright replacement of its components.
Tuning has played an integral role in the sports car segment. But in the last couple of decades, the business of modifying economy and compact cars has gained immense popularity. Because of their lightweight and easy availability of low-price tuning equipment, such cars exhibit high performance at a very low cost when compared to dedicated sports cars. Tuning is now not limited to just professional sporting and racing drivers. Drivers with little or no automotive, mechanical, or racing experience can tune their vehicles to match the more impressive versions of racing vehicles.
Tuning principally relates to the variations made to the engine and other management systems of the vehicle in order to increase the power output. Additional changes like widened tires, better brakes, stiffened suspension, improved steering and transmission modifications such as the installation of a short shifter are often required to allow the vehicle to handle the enhanced power. Certain modifications such as altered suspension, low profile tires and the addition of spoilers can change the overall appearance of the car, as well as adding downforce to increase grip.
Things to be kept in mind before investing time and money in modifying a car.
Reprogrammed Electronic Control Unit (ECU)
To avoid mechanical problems such as a rough engine start/idle, a performance-tuned ECU is highly encouraged. This understands any significant changes in horsepower. In automatic transmissions, this can help in faster shift of gears.
Turbo and supercharger kits are often used to ensure that engine can safely bear major upgrades. But this can be extremely expensive.
Short-shift kits are available that can reduce the time between changing gears. This also increases acceleration. Performance clutch upgrades can also help the transmission cope better with higher engine torque/horsepower.
Shock absorbers and stiffer springs can better handle the extra weight from other upgrades.
Ventilated disc brakes helps in easy cool off during heavy braking and also avoid disc damage. Some drivers may even choose a ‘disc-disc’ conversion, which replaces the rear drums with disc/caliper brakes.
A car is subject to tortion when accelerating that can cause warping at key points in the chassis. Torque bars can be installed to deal with this problem. These torque bars vary as per vehicle drivetrain type (FWD, RWD, AWD or 4×4)
A good set of rims and tires can make all the difference in a car’s overall performance. Stock rims helps in increasing overall grip on the road as are more resistant to corrosion and wear.
Intake and Exhaust
CAI (cold-air-intake) and Catbacks (performance exhaust systems) helps in increased horsepower if done correctly. A cleaner-looking engine bay and a chromed dual-exhaust is always good.
Window-tints, hoods, spoilers and various body kits are usually available, allowing you to personalize car exteriors. High-definition projector headlamp kits and Fog lights can also be nice additions.
The usual tune-up
Poor mileage, excessively burning motor oil, poor acceleration and rough start/idle are signs of a much needed tune-up. Replacing the air filter, spark-plugs and cables are just some of the options that can help restore power back into your car.