The thing about cars is some people like them how they rolled out of the factory, whereas others prefer to customize them. You’re likely reading this article today because you fall under the latter category, and you’re probably unsure how to improve your car.
There are many different options when it comes to vehicle customization. You could go solely for looks or just have a power increase. Perhaps you might want a bit of both? In any event, here are seven different ways you can pimp your ride and create a fantastic car:
Arguably one of the first modifications anyone does to their car is changing the wheels. The thing about stock wheels is they are often lackluster and uninspiring. If yours don’t give you any street cred, it’s time to do something about the problem.
There’s an almost limitless choice for alloy wheels on the market; all you need to do is choose ones that fit your vehicle. You must also ensure they don’t foul the wheel arches or any suspension components.
Back in the 1980s, it might have been acceptable to have small-sized wheel diameters with big, chunky tires. But, today’s look is all about larger-diameter wheels with skinny tires wrapped around them. Just take a look at the new Genesis G70, for example.
Once you’ve upgraded your wheels and tires, your car will now likely have the stance of a 4x4 Jeep. The wider track on your wheels gives you a better grip on the road, but the larger diameter means you now have more body roll.
The best way to combat that problem is by upgrading your springs and shock absorbers to aftermarket sports alternatives. Doing so means you can lower the car’s center of gravity and make it handle like a go-kart - even during adverse weather conditions!
If your car is more than five years old, you should also seriously consider buying some performance suspension parts to complement your new springs and shock absorbers. The parts you should add to your shopping list include:
- Polyurethane bushings for control arms and the front anti-roll bar;
- New shock absorber bump stops;
- New ball joints.
Arguably the best upgrade you could make to any vehicle is the braking system. The brakes on your car might be okay for a standard car, but you want to improve all aspects of your pride and joy.
When you upgrade to larger alloy wheels, you can also improve the braking system by fitting upgraded brake calipers with larger rotors and brake pads. It’s a simple and effective bolt-on upgrade that offers a fundamental improvement in braking for most people.
While you fit new brakes on your car, use the opportunity to flush out the old brake fluid and renew it. Doing so also gives you a chance to inspect your brake lines for any damage and replace faulty parts where necessary.
It’s worth noting that the flexible rubber brake hoses that fit between your calipers and fixed metal brake pipes degrade over time. The cost to replace them is minimal yet will drastically improve your road safety - especially when you need to do emergency braking.
If your car is several years old, it’s likely the exhaust system on it has seen better days. Many vehicles with the original exhaust system from the day they got built will have mild to severe corrosion.
What’s more, the internal components in the mufflers will disintegrate after a few years and make a loud noise. One effective upgrade you can make to your car is having the stock exhaust system replaced with an aftermarket custom stainless steel one.
You can get such exhaust systems designed and built for your car from companies that offer performance engine tuning services. The great thing about a custom stainless steel exhaust is you can get it made to your exact requirements.
For example, you can choose from a selection of tailpipe designs for enhanced aesthetics. Plus, you can have small or large mufflers fitted, making the system sound loud or quiet.
You might be wondering why you should get a stainless steel exhaust system rather than a mild steel one. The answer is simple: stainless steel doesn’t rust. That means you won’t have to repeat the same process again in a few years, saving you time and money!
Boost Your Performance Engine De-Carbon
As the years progress, your engine won’t be performing as well as it did on the day it got built. That’s because the interior of your engine will have thick carbon deposits due to the combustion and emissions reduction processes.
Before you look at doing any sort of engine tuning, it first makes sense to eliminate any carbon build-up from within it. One option is to have the engine carbon cleaned with hydrogen.
The process can often remove significant levels of carbon without needing to strip down any parts. But, the downside is hydrogen cleaning doesn’t offer any guarantees. The results could even differ on two identical cars.
If you want to de-carbon your engine the old-school way, you (or a mechanic) would need to do a ‘top-end rebuild.’ In a nutshell, it’s a process that requires the top half of the engine dismantling and each component to get meticulously cleaned by hand.
Carbon typically gets built up in the cylinder head, including on and around the valve stems, the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve, and in various ‘breather’ hoses connected to the top of the engine.
If you’ve opted for the ‘proper’ way of de-carboning your engine, you can conduct some engine enhancements to some components while the top half of your motor has been dismantled.
Starting with the cylinder head, you could ‘port’ the inlet side for greater performance. Porting involves enlarging the ports that connect to the intake manifold as it allows more air to enter your cylinder head and increase volumetric efficiency.
If you’ve got a turbocharged petrol engine, ‘polishing’ or making the ports smoother on the exhaust side of your cylinder is also beneficial. The idea is that exhaust gases can exit the engine quicker as the ports don’t have a rough surface to cause turbulence.
As a result, your turbocharger will spool up quicker and thus result in better engine performance. With those improvements made, you can then reassemble the top-end parts and give your car an oil and filter change.
Once you’ve made those improvements to your cylinder head, you can do some further engine tuning. For instance, upgrading to performance spark plugs and ignition coils can create a noticeable difference in your engine’s power.
Next, you should get your car’s ECU remapped to take advantage of the engine and exhaust improvements. Only then will your vehicle truly feel more powerful and have more torque! You’ll likely live near to an engine tuner that can create a customized ‘map’ for your ECU.
Be sure to use an engine tuning with a dynamometer to measure your car’s engine performance before and after any ECU map changes. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea of the power and torque increases you’ve received with your engine tuning efforts!
One final way to pimp your ride is by upgrading your car’s interior. The world’s your oyster as far as interior customization options go. You could start by having your seats retrimmed in leather, suede, Alcantara, or vinyl.
You may also wish to have the carpet replaced with a plush alternative that feels great and does a better job of soundproofing your interior. Finally, you could upgrade your lighting to LED lights for a bright, crisper look.
Some people even have LED strip lighting installed around the footwell areas. You may even find that some higher-spec versions of your vehicle model might have that fitted as standard!