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How To Increase Your Car’s Performance

Cars come in a variety of shapes, sizes and with a range of different engine options. These power plants can range from small 0.9-litre fuel-economy monsters to 6.0-litre V12 behemoths, and there are even larger engines out there that people have in their cars!

But whatever the size of the engine in your car, if you feel that you just aren’t getting enough power out of it, and you are fed up of putting your foot to the floor only to discover that nothing substantial happens as a result, then you should consider some improvements or modifications to help get some extra horsepower out of your motor!

Here are some practical ways to help you get more power for your petrol (or diesel)!


Apart from being something you have to attend when you first start a new job somewhere, induction refers to the process of drawing air into the engine from the atmosphere. All cars start off life having panel air filters housed inside a black plastic container known as an “air box”.

These paper filters are replaced each time your car gets a service as they can clog up after a while (their job is to filter the air that goes into your intake). There are two ways you can upgrade your car’s stock induction setup:

  • Get an uprated panel filter – aftermarket panel filter manufacturers such as K&N offer filters for many car models, and whilst you won’t get massive power gains it will help to keep your engine running smoother (something which can complement other power mods);
  • Get an induction cone – these cones replace part of (or most of) your existing induction system, and when fitted with a cold air feed can see increases of up to 5 brake horsepower when combined with other engine modifications.


Cars such as the new Fiat 500 typically come with restrictive exhaust systems made of mild steel. If you get a replacement stainless steel exhaust along with a stainless steel exhaust manifold, not only will have an awesome-sounding exhaust system but you will gain a considerable amount of extra horsepower!

Just make sure that the exhaust you buy is a good fit for your engine, as sometimes aftermarket exhausts can actually reduce power believe it or not!

Service Items

If you have an older car, swapping out certain items that you would normally change in a service for performance equivalents can free up a few ponies, especially if your engine has other modifications; for example, higher quality spark plugs and HT leads can ensure that you do not have any misfire issues which can cause power problems.

Other things you can do include:

  • Getting fuel injectors ultrasonically cleaned;
  • Running some engine flush with your oil shortly before the oil and filter are changed;
  • Occasionally using super unleaded petrol to help keep cylinders carbon-free.

ECU remap

The above modifications on their own or together will help you to gain some extra power, but in order to fully maximise their benefits you will need to have your car’s ECU remapped. The ECU is essentially the computer that controls various aspects of your engine’s functionality and has a map (a collection of data tables) that is pre-programmed from the factory.

Any performance-enhancing modifications will need to be taken into account in your car’s map, so you will have to take your car to a specialist tuner in order to remap your ECU.

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