When it comes to buying performance parts for your car, it’s worth doing a good amount of research before making a purchase. Not all performance parts are created equal. Here are the top performance parts for your car for boosting horsepower, improving the suspension and handling, and making it safer to drive at fast speeds.
Intake – Cold Air or Short Ram Intake
Upgrading to a CAI (Cold Air Intake) or SRI (Short Ram Intake) will increase the acceleration speed in your vehicle. The gas pedal will become more sensitive and you will have more passing power in your daily driver. The intake is something you can upgrade on any vehicle if you want more speed.
Do some searching for intakes made specifically for you car, as you want to know the MAF sensor will plug into it just fine and fitment won’t be an issue. Some people make their own custom intakes. However, those cheap ones you see on Ebay and Amazon will get the job done. They usually come with a knock-off K&N filter, which we recommend replacing with a real K&N once you get the chance.
A CAI is okay in most vehicles, however if you have a low ride and it floods where you live then a SRI is a better option. These horsepower improvements in most cars are usually similar, and the SRI still provides noticeable performance gains.
If you want a little more speed and better sounding revs, then upgrade your intake.
Recommended Air Filters: K&N
Get a Tune-Up! Upgrading Your Spark Plugs for Better Performance
Haven’t had a tune-up in a while? Bought a car with 75k+ miles on it and don’t know the last time the spark plugs were changed? Change them. Aside from the fuel economy benefits and keeping your car running like new – it’s worth buying the more expensive iridium plugs if you care about optimal performance. Iridium plugs don’t need as much voltage to fire, so you get better combustion, more horsepower and better fuel economy when you use them.
Recommended Spark Plugs: NGK
Drilled and Slotted Rotors
Out of all the best performance parts for your car, the drilled and slotted rotors are one of the best when it comes to aesthetics. These rotors look cool, and they have better stopping power when combined with the right brake pads. Being able to stop quickly is important for the safety of your life, so this is not the mod you want to skip out on.
Recommended Performance Rotors Brand: R1 Concepts
Headers and Exhaust Upgrades
Exhaust mods are the most common of them all. It’s the performance mod that makes people turn their heads to see what the hell is making all that noise. It’s the mod that is both about sound and performance, and it’s the only one that will really disturb your neighbors.
If you just go for an axle-back exhaust, then expect a nice deeper tone. The axle-back is responsible for a lot of the deep roar, and many companies who sell them will ship them with a silencer already installed. It’s worth testing it out with and without the silencer to see what you prefer. Having a loud axle-back can become annoying for the driver more than anyone else..
The 4-cylinder engine with a swapped header is obnoxious. In fact, we recommend sticking with a cat-back or axle-back exhaust before changing the header. Also, check YouTube for reviews and audio of what the exhaust will sound like on your car. The audio isn’t always perfect, but it helps you make a decision you won’t regret.
With that said, the header usually has a primary cat on the car and is the most restrictive of air-flow. In most cases, changing the header will yield high performance gains. Better gains than from the rest of the exhaust. It will also throw a check engine light in most cars, so do research on your specific car first. Some cars will need a defouler to fool the ECU into thinking the catalytic-converter is still doing its job.
We recommend you look into the aftermarket parts available for your vehicle, as each car is different and not all respond to header and exhaust mods the same. If you have a bigger engine, then headers are a great option, and a complete exhaust upgrade will make a much bigger difference. Some cars have ECU’s that learn and adjust to performance mods like intake and exhaust.
However, all cars can get more benefit from a proper tune. Stay away from the OBDII “tuning chips” that don’t actually do anything. You will see these devices being sold for $50+ and come off as an affordable way to increase horsepower. The truth is, they don’t do anything. If you want real power and run a lot of mods, then get a piggyback ECU that can be tuned.
Lowering Springs or Coilovers
Lowering your vehicle does a lot more than improve the appearance of it. They will make your ride a lot stiffer and uncomfortable, but handling overall gets a significant improvement. Being low has a ton of advantages that you won’t understand until you drive your car after lowering it.
Coilovers are a better option if you have the money for them. The ride height can actually be adjusted! Air suspension is even better, although this isn’t an option for most.
For those of you on a budget, stick with the lowering springs. It would be ideal if you could change the struts before throwing on the springs, as it will prevent you from having to change them soon.
Recommended Brand for Coilovers and Air Suspension: Raceland
Probably not what you were expecting to see on this list. Not exactly a performance part for your car, yet it is one of the best performance upgrades you can buy. Good tires will improve your handling, acceleration and braking. Traction will help with take-off, while the handling and braking performance improvements are helpful for the process of driving.
Whether it’s for your project car or your daily driver, tires should be changed before something goes wrong. If its a daily driver you like to have fun with, then tires should be changed and rotated as needed. Here are the 3 best performance tires of 2020 according to The Drive.