Horsepower is like money.
You can never have too much.
So if you want to lap your friend’s car around the drag strip or simply want to enjoy your daily drives with a boost in confidence, more muscle is more muscle on any engine.
That’s why I want to give you these five ways on how you can boost your horsepower.
They will work on any budget and on any engine… so you’ll literally have no excuse if your car continues to stall as you try to merge with highway traffic.
Your Engine: Horsepower & Torque
In layman’s terms, an engine is a big air pump.
And a few specially timed combustions assist this pump in taking in and expelling air as it “breathes”.
So you can increase your engine’s horsepower and torque by figuring out how to move this air in and out in a greater volume at a quicker pace.
But what is the difference between horsepower and torque?
Torque is the force that gets your car moving, while horsepower is what keeps your car moving.
Both work together in moving your vehicle. So even improving just one will deliver better engine performance.
So how do we do this?
Install a High Performance Air Intake
Your engine needs to breathe freely. And it likes cooler air.
And what’s the cheapest way to supply your engine with cooler air? I’ll let you think about that one.
One of the first steps on the road to power is to install a high performance air intake.
It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to add some extra horsepower to your engine.
An air intake helps by giving your engine cooler and denser air. And your engine needs that air to mix in with the fuel for producing power. Typical gains are in the range of 5 to 20 horsepower.
So, cooler and denser = more powerful.
The systems are available with a uniquely shaped filter with an increased surface area for pulling more air in. In some cases, this surface is up to 3 times larger than that of your factory air filter.
The intakes also reduce air flow resistance and any unwanted turbulence which would otherwise reduce the volume of air coming into your engine.
So, what do you need to keep on your radar? How about:
- AEM DryFlow Air Filters – These filters will never need to be oiled. And they are legal everywhere.
- K&N Air Intake Kits – The kits are good for up to 1,600,000 km!
- Cold-Air Intakes & Ram-Air Intakes – They take in air from a cooler place outside of your vehicle. These systems will be a great help to some models, but not so much to others. A quick rule of thumb is that if you drive a high end vehicle, its air intake system is probably very well designed and you won’t benefit as much from these intakes.
A cold air intake probably won’t make a difference if your engine is turbocharged. This is because they already need so much air that they come pre-equipped with their own intakes.
But… if you’re going to be adding a turbocharger, you will need to supply it with a ton of air by installing a cold air intake.
Keep the Pressure ON With a Turbocharger/Supercharger
They work by compressing airflow and feeding it directly to the engine. And by providing more air, the engine can also mix in more fuel.
And the end result is..?
Improvements in your engine’s power output by up to 50%.
A turbocharger uses the otherwise wasted hot air from the exhaust stream to spin a turbine, which then spins the air compressor. And this makes them extremely efficient. As a downside, you will feel a greater delay until you feel the extra power they generate.
A supercharger drives the air compressor by a belt which is connected directly to the engine. This means you can instant power when you step on the gas pedal. And in most cases, they are easier to install.
Upgrade Your Exhaust System
If you still haven’t caught on, the only way to horsepower is in moving air.
So if you reduce your vehicle’s back pressure, you’ll get a less restricted air flow.
And more power.
The best for the job is a new header-back exhaust system. This type of exhaust system will travel straight from your engine to your tailpipe.
To set up an optimal exhaust system, you need to consider your engine’s power band, its maximum usable RPM, as well as back pressure.
But remember that back pressure shouldn't be eliminated altogether - you actually really need!
And what about exhaust headers?
Installing one will move air faster and with better efficiency.
Long tube headers are better at building torque and power from mid-range to top-end RPMs. This makes the go-to option for high-power performance vehicles. But keep in mind that these headers will affect your vehicle’s emissions. So get ready for legal hurdles and check engine lights.
Shorty headers will give you improved torque and power in the lower-range RPMs. They will work great on your daily driver. A benefit here is that these headers will not affect your emissions.
Chip Your Car
Your car’s factory computer controls everything, like your fuel-to-air ratio, turbo boost, ignition timing advance, and much more.
However, these computers are set to comply with emissions and fuel octane requirements. Which means a lot of performance potential is left hiding in your engine.
Installing a power programmer or a performance chip is a very affordable way to get power gains for your vehicle. The device will give you noticeable gains in horsepower and torque. And most of the time a simple plug-n-play installation is all you’ll need to start enjoying your beefed up engine.
The downside is that car manufacturers frown upon any changes made to their conservative ECU programs.
But will modding your car’s computer cancel your warranty? The answer is no. But you still need to be smart.
Drop Any Unnecessary Weight
No, I’m not talking about losing your friends.
But if you want to skip the part where you spend cash on actual engine improvements, just make your car as light as possible.
It’s up to you make the choice on what you’re willing to part with.
Saying goodbye to you’re A/C, sound system, and even your floor carpeting will do two things:
It will give you the beef you need to complete that quarter mile in less than 12 seconds, while rendering your vehicle completely inadequate for date night.
Other ways for lowering your vehicle’s weight:
- Remove the back seats. In some vehicles, they weigh up to 100 lbs.!
- Replace your steel wheels with lightweight ones. And invest in high performance tires. This little trick will drop up to 50 lbs. from your car.
What mods do you currently rely on for power gains?