Whether you’ve invested in an older vehicle you’d like to experiment with modifying or have found that your car is just lacking some punch, there are many reasons why you may consider making a few subtle updates to boost performance. These range from simple tyre replacements to ECU remapping and couldn’t be easier to personalise, allowing you to customise your driving experience.

The most challenging aspect when planning an update is what car performance upgrades you’d like to try, and much of this decision will be based on your budget and whether you would be happy to take your vehicle to the garage. To begin your search, we have put together a guide to some of the most popular options.

The Most Popular Car Performance Upgrades

At Unit18, we have spent more than ten years working with clients to upgrade, repair and maintain their vehicles. Our car servicing centre in Milton Keynes has built an outstanding reputation in the area, and we’re regularly contacted by clients looking for expert advice. Performance upgrades, in particular, are a popular choice amongst our clients but should always come alongside careful consideration. The quality of your parts and the standard of the modification will play a vital role in how successful your upgrade is, meaning that professional assistance is always highly recommended.

With this in mind, the first step to improving the performance of your car will always be to determine which components would benefit from replacement. Take a look at the following six upgrade types for information on the most common:

Car Driving At Night

Schedule ECU Remapping

If your vehicle was manufactured at some point within the last 20 years, it’s more than likely that it will feature an ECU. The ECU is an intelligent computer system designed to control the different operating systems inside your vehicle, making it one of the most important components. However, as the ECU is installed during the manufacturing process, it often means that the system is pre-programmed not to take advantage of the vehicle’s full performance capabilities. This makes ECU remapping one of the most popular modifications.

ECU remapping involves adjusting the vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU) to overwrite the old settings and improve its performance. It allows you to programme your fuel injection, sensors, airflow and more to suit your preferences, providing that they are within legal requirements, of course. As a result, you will be able to enjoy a host of excellent new benefits such as better engine response, wider powerband and precise control of ignition points, just to name a few.

Our team are specialists in ECU remapping in Milton Keynes and can provide you with a quote based on the make, model and age of your car. We’re highly experienced in both OEM+ ECU Software and Performance Toque Software, so please do not hesitate to get in touch to start discussing your vehicle.

ECU Remapping

Install Performance Tyres

If you are looking for a more straightforward performance upgrade, you would most definitely benefit from upgrading your tyres. While not always considered, poor quality tyres can have an immense impact on performance, particularly if they cannot maintain adequate pressure. Why? Because an insufficiently inflated tyre will mean that the vehicle can no longer tackle trickier road conditions as efficiently, making you feel less in control.

By installing performance tyres, on the other hand, the handling of your vehicle will improve significantly. In return, you will be able to take advantage of tighter steering and better road presence, not to mention the aesthetic benefits. Typically, it is recommended to opt for a performance tyre with a reduced sidewall height but increased wheel diameter as this will allow there to be more rubber on the pavement, which as a result, will boost the driveability of your vehicle. These tyres are likely to be more expensive, but they will be a worthwhile investment in terms of quality, response and overall performance. For more information on finding the right tyres for your vehicle, take a look at Halfords.

Replacing Tyres

Book Wheel Alignment

A popular service amongst our clients looking to improve the overall performance of their vehicle quickly and at a lower cost is wheel alignment. As a more simplistic way to boost performance, our wheel alignment in Milton Keynes will ensure that the angle and direction of your tyres are precisely accurate. The process takes as little as one hour, depending on whether you have a two or four-wheel drive, and you are free to drive your vehicle away immediately after the service.

Along with performance, regular wheel alignment can prove hugely beneficial to other components of your vehicle. First and foremost, you will notice an instant improvement in your fuel efficiency as it can help you conserve fuel better. In fact, according to Investopedia, misalignment can lower your fuel mileage by as much as 10%! When accompanied by improved steering, choosing to have your tyres realigned will offer a far smoother, more enjoyable ride.

Wheel Alignment

Upgrade The Braking System

Typically, the only time that replacing a braking system is considered is when components begin to deteriorate or start to impact the safety of your vehicle. However, did you know that upgrading your system with higher quality parts can have an immense impact on your vehicle’s performance? A premium set of brakes and brake pads are guaranteed to reduce the stopping distance of your car, allowing you to feel more in control when taking on higher speeds and more challenging road types. Not only this, but as there will no longer be any need for harsh braking, you will notice an increase in the longevity of your braking system, reducing the need for future repairs.

With this in mind, if you are looking for ways to improve brake torque through replacement, here are some helpful tips:

  • Increase the disc radius to allow for the brake pads to apply more pressure at a larger radius, resulting in a higher moment.
  • The more you push your foot down on the pedal, the harder the car will brake, so consider increasing the line pressure.
  • To allow you to have a bigger area to apply more specific pressure, consider increasing the piston size.
  • Change the material of your brake pads to increase the friction between the pad and the rotor.

Car Brake System

Improve Air Intake

If your vehicle is not equipped with a cold air intake, then it is most definitely worth considering this upgrade to improve its performance. This is a relatively inexpensive modification that you are able to do yourself using a kit; however, as always, our team are more than happy to point you in the right direction if you have any questions.

By installing a cold air intake, you will instantly create better airflow to both your motor and exhaust; therefore, improving your vehicle’s breathing system and allowing more room to build power. Not only this, but as there will now be a cooler, more controlled path of air flowing through your vehicle, you will help towards prolonging the lifespan of your engine, minimising the likelihood of future problems.

When searching for cold air intake kits, there are a few points to keep in mind, beginning with research. Spending time reading through reviews of each kit will always work towards your advantage as they will allow you to gauge which are designed by reputable manufacturers. As the cold air intake will replace your existing stock airbox with a more open system with a bigger filter, you want to ensure that it is reliable and will not allow anything damaging to enter the motor.

Secondly, we would also recommend avoiding kits that route to the bumper. Why? Because this design is likely to come into contact with water which runs the considerable risk of seizing up your motor, potentially causing it to blow up. Instead, opt for a cold air intake that sits closer to your factory air box location.
Car Air Intake

Update The Exhaust

For those who are planning to upgrade to a cold air intake, it is recommended to pair this modification with an exhaust update to ensure that you can get the most out of your investment. A new and improved exhaust system will dramatically increase engine efficiency, offering up to a 5% improvement in your vehicle’s fuel economy.

While your chosen system will vary depending on your vehicle’s make, model and age, it is important to keep in mind that only some upgrades will positively impact performance. Avoid “bolt-on” exhaust upgrades as these are typically used for aesthetic value and to produce a louder engine sound. To take full advantage of the performance perks, you will need to opt for replacing key components or the entire system altogether.

When replacing your exhaust, the goal will be to increase its diameter as this will reduce restriction and, as a result, allow for more flow. Many vehicle owners opt for exhaust scavenging as this helps to achieve a faster exhaust velocity with fewer restrictions. Take a look at Car Throttle for more information on this topic.

Exhaust Pipe

Easy Upgrades To Improve Car Performance!

Whether you are looking for DIY methods to give your vehicle an instant boost or would prefer to leave your modifications to the professionals, there are tons of ways that you can improve your performance. The key will always be to do plenty of research before going ahead with any upgrades to ensure there is no damage to your beloved vehicle. If you have any questions regarding how to improve car performance, please do not hesitate to contact our team to run through your ideas!

Previous Post COVID-19 November Update
Next Post When To Change A Cambelt