Car Tuning: Types of Tuning and Important Things to Consider
Are you really a gearhead if you can’t tune your own car? If you’re new to this and want to learn more about the most effective ways to improve your vehicle’s performance – this is just for you! I’ll go over in detail which car performance parts you should get to fine-tune your sports car. When I talk about tuning, I’m referring to the improvements made in the performance, handling and appearance of your vehicle.
There are four basic types of tuning and customising – engine tuning, body tuning, interior and suspension tuning. Generally, most automotive performance tuning parts won’t improve other areas of your vehicle, but some might. Let’s talk about the most commonly sought-after car performance parts – engine tuning parts.
One of the most popular ways to “tune” an engine is to replace it with a new, more powerful one. However, technically, tuning is about improving existing parts so that they provide more power. The most effective way to do this with the engine is to increase the displacement area by boring out the cylinders to make room for bigger pistons that create more power.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this complicated, especially if you’re running a diesel engine, in which case you can implement a turbocharger to provide more torque and thus, more horsepower. 20% increases are common, and with professional configuration, you can get as much as 50% more power. Retrofitting a supercharger is the equivalent of petrol engines. Here, the compressor boosts combustion by providing more air and thus, more power.
Your vehicle can also perform better if you take care of it properly. This includes cleaning and changing the air filter regularly, and smoothing the exhaust and intake ducts for better performance. You can also get an aftermarket chip that changes how the ECU controls the engine by allowing, for instance, higher torque.
Stock suspensions are designed to appeal to the widest range of customers. However, this also means that the stock look of the vehicle will not appeal to everyone. For gearheads, suspension tuning is a key part of their everyday worries. Not only does the suspension play a huge role in how your vehicle looks, but it also plays a big role in how it handles. Most people who want to make their vehicle’s sportier lower the suspension to give their cars a more aggressive appearance and better handling. This is a result of lowering the car’s centre of gravity. However, doing this also comes with disadvantages, especially when driving around the city. You’ll have a poorer overview, and bumps and kerbs can become a real issue.
The two most common suspension tuning upgrades are hydraulic and air suspension systems. The hydraulic suspension provides lots of advantages that aren’t reserved for sporty drivers. This is accomplished through the suspension lowering the centre of gravity when driving at higher speeds, leading to improved road holding and lower air resistance. You can also adjust the ground clearance based on the type of road you drive. If you drive on an uneven surface, there’s a sensor installed on the anti-roll bar which detects it, raising the suspension, resulting in improved comfort.
In air suspension systems, on the other hand, you get air pillows that replace the steel springs. These suspension systems are strictly aftermarket, and the conversion is generally left to experienced professionals. The goal of this suspension is to adjust the height of your vehicle continuously, and you can adjust it by using an application. At the end of the day, the air suspension can extend the ride beyond the stock height, but also shrink, making your vehicle sit closer to the road.
Important Things to Consider When Tuning
You shouldn’t tune your vehicle by yourself, especially if you aren’t savvy with cars and know the ins and outs of how changing different things will impact your vehicle. There are many regulations set in place to ensure safety. Changing a part can expire your operating license and subject you to fines. You also may be restricted from using your vehicle on public roads. All of this is preventable by consulting with car experts who understand what you can and can’t tune.
Alternatively, you should shop for car performance parts in certified stores. These stores have all the parts they sell certified for safety. However, as safe as the part is, you should still have it installed by a professional, certified mechanic to ensure maximum road safety. These professionals will inspect the replacement part and the functionality of your vehicle after the part has been installed. If all is well – they’ll provide you with a certification you should take to the registration office. The modifications will be entered in the registration certificate there, making your vehicle viable to drive on public roads.
Is Your Vehicle Suited for Tuning?
This is one of the first questions you should ask yourself. It’s not something you can answer easily, either. There are so many ways to tune your car, and there are professionals that specialise in tuning every type of vehicle. Different people will tell you different things, so always take everything with a grain of salt.
German vehicles are typically the ones you can tune without too much consideration, especially brands like BMW, Audi, VW, etc. All of these vehicles have numerous aftermarket parts manufacturers who specialise in making wheels, seats, spoilers, throttle controllers and engine parts. Smaller vehicles that have turbos are also suitable for affordable engine tuning. Vehicles such as the VW Golf, for instance, can be tuned at a relatively low cost.
Where to Buy Parts?
To find the right parts for tuning your vehicle, look for stores that specialise in tuning. While you can get great deals on eBay, you should keep away from buying parts from uncertified and untrustworthy vendors. Also, the number of products is immense and can be complex. If you have to return a part because it isn’t assembled properly, it can come in handy having a dealer with a reputation.