What’s the best part of having a project car? That’s a really tough question for me to answer. I’ll tell you one of my favorite parts: figuring out a brand new aftermarket mod I can add to it to get a noticeable performance improvement. There’s something about that first drive when you’ve finally finished installing that perfect upgrade you’ve been dreaming of and actually feeling the performance gain.

So what if you are on a budget? This is an issue many drivers face – especially young and upcoming ones. I wanted to take a moment today to talk about three different performance upgrades that don’t cost too much but that can make a noticeable difference. Sure I could make a list two or three times this long, but I find it’s best to give new enthusiasts a few key directions to move in. So let’s talk about three great and affordable ways to improve performance: a cold air intake, a cat-back exhaust, and high-performance tires.

Cold Air Intake

This is a great choice because (1) you can get a solid cold air intake for under $200-$300, (2) it’s really a quick installation that will take you an hour or two at the most, and (3) it’ll give you both improved acceleration and better fuel economy.

What’s the project like? Simply put, you’re going to get rid of that restrictive factory installed intake that lets too much hot air back into the system with an aftermarket version that allows for a greater air intake. More cold air coming in means the air is denser and the injection system is able to pump more oxygen into the chamber.


Cat-Back Exhaust

While we’re talking fuel economy and acceleration, for another $300-$700 you can get a cat-back exhaust depending on what brand you get. This is a bit more difficult of a job and you may need to go to an automotive shop to get it done if you don’t have your own garage or are just starting.

Instead of the air going into your system, the cat-back affects the exhaust coming out. Typical cat-backs are upgrades to the entire exhaust system (wider pipes, better ventilation, less resistance – all requiring less engine power to vent the engine) so that air can better and more quickly escape. Better exhaust air flow means engine doesn't work as hard to push the exhaust air out.

Be warned the price and style of sound can vary greatly between different aftermarket exhaust system mods so you’ll want to make sure you check out any you are interested in to find that perfect purr for your ride.


High Performance Tires

We all know it, even if we don’t talk about: most stock tires are mild setup for performance. One of the best early upgrades you can make on your project car is installing high-performance tires. This is especially true if your car happens to be an older model. Not only will your handling be drastically improved (particularly at high speeds when cornering), but tires will also be able to handle higher top speed due to higher speed rating. This is by far the quickest way to shave down some time on the track if you are looking to improve your time drastically without investing a lot of money in performance mods.



We’ll be back soon with more automotive thoughts and tips!