HOW TO: Add Horsepower to your Sports Car

Whatever your reasoning, modifying a car to add horsepower is something that should be researched and planned before making any changes. Modifying correctly and safely is the key to adding power, without decreasing reliability. Modifications done to a car incorrectly will actually hinder performance, and probably break parts of your engine or axles. When choosing a modification for your sports car, you first need to take into consideration what kind of engine you have. With a naturally aspirated engine, you will use parts such a new exhaust, Cams, headers, intake and a tune. With a Turbo or supercharged engine, parts such as downpipes, intakes, free flowing exhaust, front mount intercooler and more. Depending on what model and type of car you have, you are going to want to do your research to make sure the parts fit your vehicle’s year, model and brand. Another thing to take into consideration is your state’s laws. Here in California, most modifications made to your vehicle are illegal, with the exception of CARB emission approved products. The next step is figuring out what modifications to start with. Yes, you could buy all of them at once, but you also need to make sure your car is tuned to the correct parts put on the car. For example on turbo vehicles most people will start out with a Stage 1 tune, which means your car’s ECU (Computer) mapping has been changed to add power safely, but your car is still running the stock/ original parts. Say you wanted to add more power, you would then purchase a downpipe and a new larger intercooler (to remain safe temperature with added power) and a stage 2 tune that is taking these new parts into account. The way the tune works is it changes the mapping of your car’s ECU, allowing you to adjust the amount of boost the turbo pushes into the engine. On a turbo engine stage 1 generally adds about 25-50 horsepower just from increasing the boost, stage 2 generally increases power by 100+ depending on your tune and vehicle. Stage 3 is the final and max power your car can produce. Stage 3 consists of everything from both stages 1 and 2, along with an upgraded and bigger turbo or supercharger that is capable of producing much more boost than the stock one. Depending on your car, people have been able to add 300, 400, 500 horsepower over stock. The way to increase the amount of boost safely is to have these other contributing parts and pieces to allow more airflow and fuel to be brought to the engine at a faster rate, this is the key to more power.

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