Modding a car is one of those things that has gained a certain reputation that’s probably unfair to the majority of people who do it. The mods that gain the most attention are generally the flashier ones which make a lot of noise or attract onlookers with their – and we choose this word carefully – absurdity. From rolling coal in a diesel engine to create plumes of acrid black smoke to adding gull-wing doors which look cool but are a potential death trap, the mental image that regular motorists have of modders is probably not the most flattering.
The average modification done after-market to a car is a lot less attention-grabbing, and in many cases they definitely boost the performance of a vehicle and make it either safer, more driveable or more joyful to drive. They might also make it more environmentally sound, which is not just a good thing to do for obvious reasons, but can also make it easier to get ecological rebates. Below, we’ll look at some worthwhile mods you can make to your car for a variety of reasons.
Not only is a well-chosen catalytic converter a green addition to a car, it is also one which will deliver improvements in performance. To be precise, you’re looking for a high-flow converter with a high capacity, which will prevent the backflow of exhaust pressure into the engine of your car. If this back pressure is allowed to build, it is likely to result in the engine losing power and stalling more often, and eventually you could be looking at a replacement engine for your vehicle. Be aware that for motorists in some states, it is illegal to retrofit a catalytic converter yourself, and some aftermarket converters are straightforwardly illegal.
A new exhaust
An improvement in exhaust flow is the primary reason that catalytic converters are a desirable addition to your car; a new exhaust in addition can make a huge difference. In fact, even if you can’t replace your converter, aftermarket performance exhaust systems can deliver improvements in performance that you wouldn’t believe. It’s important to pick the right one, however; some exhausts are designed to create a louder noise from the engine and little more. When sourcing the replacement exhaust system for your car, insist on one designed to give better fuel mileage and/or more engine power.
An updated, upgraded suspension
If you use your car a lot, you’ll get real benefit out of a high-quality suspension, but there’s an inescapable truth to deal with. The more you use your car, the more wear and tear you will put on your suspension. It’s an expensive modification, ranging in the $2000 bracket, but is worth it for the additional life, ride height and fuel mileage it will give you. The obvious caveat here is that if you’re not an experienced modder, you’re going to be well-advised to get the new suspension fitted by an expert – because if you get it wrong, the suspension can fail catastrophically.
Replacing the fuel injectors in your car may be the best choice for you if your vehicle tends to idle roughly. What this means is that when you are sat at stop lights, your car may gently (or not so gently) shake and make more noise than you’re used to. The reason this is happening tends to be down to clogged, failing fuel injectors. Replacing these won’t usually come cheap, but you’ll see an instant improvement in performance and engine power, and it will cut the rough idling to non-existent. If you pair this modification with new spark plugs, even an older model will suddenly be performing like a showroom model.
A change to fully synthetic oil
This may not stand out as a particularly ambitious mod, but it’s a worthwhile change to make and one which will have far-reaching benefits for your car. Changing the oil to a fully-synthetic formula will help in a number of ways, including reducing the necessity for more regular oil changes. It will also be kinder to your engine, improving performance immediately, and its lower level of impurities means that sludge will not form in your oil line. Your engine will also be better protected in extremes of heat – both at the cold and the hot end of the range. Whether you need the car for short shopping trips or for long commutes, moving to fully synthetic will make a big difference.
Modding your car doesn’t have to mean making it stand out from the crowd. It can deliver benefits on the performance and environmental side of things, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.