How to Affordably Increase Your Vehicle’s Power and Performance

How to Affordably Increase Your Vehicle’s Power and Performance

If you’re one of those people who wish that their cars went a little faster, there are some affordable upgrades you can make to increase the horsepower of your vehicle. Also, it is important to consider the fact that speed is not just about pure horsepower and torque, but also brakes and handles that make it possible to travel at higher speeds along curvy roads. If you focus only on increasing horsepower, you may end up putting a lot of strain on the car and reducing its lifespan. True performance means focusing on several different parts of the vehicle, which make it both faster and more reliable. Some of the affordable upgrades you can make to improve the overall speed and performance include:

CPU Remapping

The term remapping refers to reprogramming the software coding on a vehicle’s computer. With some simple changes, it is often easy to increase power and torque by up to 20 percent. Of course, some changes can be dangerous for your car, so it is important to stick with reputable specialists who offer a warranty on their work. Avoid people who make claims of massive power gains, as they may end up putting you and your vehicle at risk. Also, you should understand that these changes will put increased strain on your vehicle, which means that you should also consider some other upgrades on your vehicle to make sure it can handle the extra power.


While it may seem trivial to include regular maintenance on this list, the truth is that vehicles perform at their peak with new oil and filters, as well as spark plugs. Plus, regular servicing ensures that your vehicle will last as long as possible. Dirty oil and clogged air filters both significantly affect an engine’s performance. In addition, some other issues can affect performance, such as clogged catalytic converters and brake fluid that has absorbed moisture. With regular maintenance, all of these potential issues can get caught early before they can decrease power and potentially cause damage to other parts of the vehicle. Be sure your vehicle is getting serviced regularly, especially if you notice a decline in power.

Remove Weight

Another easy way to increase the power of your vehicle is to remove unnecessary weight. If all else is equal, a 4,000-pound vehicle will need 400 horsepower to keep with a vehicle that only has 200 horsepower but is 2,000 pounds. Weight also puts a bigger strain on the brakes, tires, and suspension. While you should never get rid of important safety items, you can consider removing that extra cargo you have been carrying around in your trunk or downgrading your stereo system. You could also look at seats and other parts that weigh less than the factory components. As you consider replacing various parts of the vehicle over time, think about whether it makes sense to use lighter-weight material.

Underdrive Pulleys

All vehicles have a drive belt that is used to power many of the auxiliary systems. These systems include power steering, the alternator, and a water pump. Unfortunately, these systems siphon power from the engine. Installing an underdrive pulley that essentially runs these systems at a lower speed can help increase power by freeing up some horsepower. One system that takes power from the engine is the air conditioner. If you are willing to part with this system, you can free up power and additionally remove a lot of weight.


You may be able to upgrade your exhaust system to something that is less restrictive than the stock one. Doing this will free up a decent amount of power for your car, although the system may be much louder as a result. Be sure to research the laws in your area, as some can be quite strict, especially in California. The type of engine also matters. A six-cylinder or V8 motor will likely not increase noise enough to be bothersome, but a typical four-cylinder one can sound much too noisy once you get up to highway speeds. Be sure to do your research and ensure the car will not be too loud or break any local laws.


The performance of a combustion engine basically depends on the amount of fuel and air available to burn. Increasing either of these means generating additional power. You can start off with higher flow injectors and fuel pumps to get enough gas into the engine. Getting air into the engine can prove trickier. The primary options are turbos or superchargers, but neither is particularly cheap. However, if you really want to make more power, they could be worth the investment. If your car is already turbocharged, it may be relatively easy to install a larger turbo engine. Another option is a nitrous oxide system, which works by injecting a concentrated shot of oxygen into the engine. Again, a nitrous oxide system is not particularly cheap, but the boost in power could be worth the investment.

About the Author

A native of the tri-state area, Patrick James Smith has cultivated a lifelong love for travel during trips for work and leisure alike. In planning for his travels, he has become well-versed in the art of travel hacking and utilizing credit card rewards points to book free vacations around the globe.