Education & Safety

How to Add Horsepower to Your Car

More power!

For most gearheads, there is nothing like the rush of pressing down on the accelerator and feeling your car take off with strength and power. Whether you want to explode off the starting line at the track or just want the fastest car on the block, adding more horsepower to your ride can help you achieve your goals. Check out these ideas for adding more horsepower to your car, truck or SUV.

Before you do any of the modifications on this list, make sure you don’t void your vehicle warranty. Also, check your local and state laws: some laws may limit your performance upgrades. You should also exercise caution to not negatively impact your vehicle’s emissions.

Supercharger or turbocharger

Turbo-Charger

See immediate gains in horsepower by adding a supercharger or turbocharger. While this is one of the most expensive options on the list, you’ll be impressed with the power that each of these add-ons delivers. Also known as forced induction parts, both of these components force air into your car’s engine which improves horsepower and torque.

A turbocharger works with the exhaust system and can potentially give you gains of 70-150 horsepower. A supercharger is connected directly to the engine intake and could provide an extra 50-100 horsepower.

Cold air intake

Cold-Air-Intake

Give your engine more air and more power with a cold air intake. Switching your vehicle’s standard air box and filter for a cone-shaped filter and a plastic or aluminum intake tube can help you realize an increase in horsepower.

More air equals more combustion which could lead to gains of 5-7 horsepower in a typical engine. Please note that if your vehicle is already getting plenty of fresh air, this won’t help you much.

Lose weight

Wheel-Rim

Give your engine more air and more power with a cold air intake. Switching your vehicle’s standard air box and filter for a cone-shaped filter and a plastic or aluminum intake tube can help you realize an increase in horsepower.

More air equals more combustion which could lead to gains of 5-7 horsepower in a typical engine. Please note that if your vehicle is already getting plenty of fresh air, this won’t help you much.

Lose weight

It’s a fact – a heavy vehicle moves slower. Reducing the weight of your vehicle increases the weight to horsepower ratio. Examine your vehicle for ways to lower your car’s weight and to up its power.

Consider swapping out the rims with lighter ones – this can potentially save you 10 pounds per wheel. Changing the battery to a smaller and lighter lithium battery can save 20-30 pounds. Think about replacing body panels with carbon fiber or fiberglass panels to further reduce your vehicle’s weight.

Remove parts you deem unnecessary. Not using the backseat? Remove it and the rear seatbelts. Staying cool not as important as performance? Take out the air conditioning unit. Depending on your goals, you need to decide what items are mission critical to your vehicle and which ones you can live without.

Computer reprogramming and chips

Car-CPU

Reprogramming your vehicle’s computer can give you control over a host of settings like the fuel/air mixture, fuel injection timing, valve timing, spark timing and transmission shifts. Reflashing the settings can lead to gains in horsepower.

Changing the settings can be done by switching out the chip while in other cases you can reprogram the computer using an aftermarket scanner tool.

Cat-back exhaust system

Cat-Back-Exhaust

Reducing noise and emissions is the primary job of your vehicle’s catalytic converter and muffler. Installing a cat-back exhaust system pushes out exhaust gases faster to make room for fuel and air which leads to more power.

How much horsepower you gain can depend on your vehicle’s existing exhaust system. Claims about power gains are all over the map. Some people say you’ll see a 5 horsepower gain, while others say you’ll get a 10% horsepower advantage. Still others throw out larger numbers. Do your homework so you aren’t disappointed.

High-flow catalytic converter

High-Flow-Catalytic-Converter

Swapping an old catalytic converter for a high-flow catalyst is another option for adding extra power to your vehicle. Stock catalytic converters may not let gasses flow efficiently, but high-flow catalytic converters use a honeycomb design to up the flow of air.

As with the cat-back exhaust, the horsepower gains you experience will largely depend on the catalytic converter that came on your vehicle. If you have an older vehicle with a catalytic converter that is impeding flow, you are more likely to see horsepower gains than if you have a vehicle with a relatively new original catalytic converter.

 

Learn more about performance auto parts, find your car part, or find a local car repair shop today.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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