How To Make Your Car Faster – Part 1

We all want our cars to go faster, and if you’ve just started to modify your car for speed, here are my recommended mods to make your car faster.

I actually started this post with the intention of including my top 5 all in one post, but once I got going it soon became obvious it would turn in to a very long single post, so I have decided to split it up over multiple posts.

The aim here is to set a good baseline tune for you to build on. Would it be fair to tell you to bolt on a huge massive turbo and then you go and blow your engine up? Read on to see how quick and easy it is to make your car faster while also getting the most life out of it.

As mentioned above, getting your engine, transmission, and the rest of the car in tip-top condition is going to put you in the best position for doing other mods in the future. Some people think this is the most boring bit, so let’s get it out of the way first, but also bear in mind that some of the parts you’d change in a routine service will also be some the parts we are going to upgrade in the next steps, so read through this whole article first before rushing out and buying a pile of service parts!

For any basic service to build in reliability you will want to not only service the engine but also the brakes, transmission, and suspension. Reliability is not just simply that the car last for a long time, it is that you can rely on its parts when you need them. You can lean on the tires and suspension in a corner, or hammer on the brakes with confidence, knowing they will work and work well. Part of going fast is not just sheer acceleration, it is being able to hold on to that speed and keep momentum. I have outrun people in much more powerful cars, which should be faster, but by being able to carry more speed overall, I was the winner.

To get us started, let’s look at the basics: the engine. Here is how to do a service the petrol head way, and throw in a few mods along the way.

Oil And Filter Change

Possibly the most important part, the big gloopy stuff that keeps your engine going round. Get a genuine or OEM filter, not some cheap rubbish. They aren’t all the same, there’s differences in the way the pleats are joined, and some of the cheap ones don’t even have a pressure valve in them. Not worth the risk. Also, get a decent quality engine oil, that is the correct grade for your engine. I am not saying buy the most expensive, but I am definitely saying do not buy the cheapest you can find. Consider how much it would cost to replace a burst engine all because you saved $20 on oil. Do your homework here and bounce off the redline with confidence.

Spark Plugs

Spark Plugs for petrol engines. Again, get something decent. Think about it like this: the fuel being burnt in the engine is what generates the power that makes your car move, the more power the faster you go. The spark plugs are what make the spark that burns the fuel, better spark plugs mean more bang! Get the right ones for your engine, you don’t need to worry about going up or down a heat rating, or getting ones with more electrodes. Look for a manufacturer that uses the correct electrode material.

Air Filter

Okay so here is our first “option part”. By this I mean you have an option to fit the standard factory type air filter, or upgrade to an induction kit. Be aware that if you buy a $10 universal cone filter off eBay, shove it on the end of the induction pipe, and let it flop about in the engine bay, you will more than likely have made your car slower than if you just bought a standard OEM air filter. You can get a good quality filter that fits in the standard air box but allows the air to pass through it more efficiently, these are often called “panel filters”. Or you can fit a dedicated cone filter kit, with the necessary brackets and pipe work to locate it in a good position. That last part is very important. The upgraded filters are often made from a material that is washable, this should be considered when looking at their initial expense and compared to replacing a “normal” filter every 12 months.

Fuel Filter

Fuel Filter: Generally, the manufacturers will have specified a fuel filter that is more than capable of delivering enough flow to your engine even with an increase in demand, this is to protect the engine. So, there is really no need to upgrade anything here as the OEM factory spec will be more than enough for what you have. And guess what I’m going to say here? Yep, you guessed it, avoid the cheap and nasty – buy decent quality, genuine, or OEM parts. Some air filter manufacturers also make fuel filters, they know the filter game so there shouldn’t be any doubt over the quality of their fuel filters, but I do feel this is a bit of a gimmick product when you compare the price to a good quality fuel filter from a mass filter maker.

Other Repairs

Simply servicing the engine might be in vain if there are other repairs that need to be done. Things like a noisy alternator belt for example, would indicate that the belt is slipping and not supplying the required amps to the battery, which in turn may not able to supply enough current to the spark plugs, meaning that you won’t be going as fast as you could. Obviously it goes without saying that you’re going to want to change the timing belt too, if this is required. Timing belts don’t need to be changed as often as the engine oil, for example, so check up when it was last done or just change it anyway for peace of mind. Other things like the cooling system are just as important as all the other parts we have discussed here. Make sure the coolant contains the correct anti-freeze, or as with the timing belt, if in doubt just change it. Make sure the water pump, hoses, radiator and fan all look in good condition with no obvious signs of leaks or damage.

Basically what you are trying to do is build a good foundation on which to build more power and speed, without a solid foundation it can all go wrong very quickly.

Click Here For Part 2

2 thoughts on “How To Make Your Car Faster – Part 1”

  1. Hi Dan, this is a fascinating website – I enjoyed reading this article on how to make your car faster because I am familiar with the parts you mention – the oil filter, spark plugs etc reminds me of my days back when I lived in Nigeria and I had to take my car in for servicing at the mechanic. There was always a myth that because you are a lady, the mechanic could just do any old job and hand you back the keys of your car. I learnt the best way (encouraged by my brothers when they were not around to do this for me) was to drive my car in for service and sit there while the mechanic worked on my car – hence I got to learn, out of curiosity a lot about the parts the engine and other aspects. Now, living here in the UK, when are car drives past me I find myself muttering ‘hey, go check your engine and get it serviced’ or ‘your exhaust needs changing, can’t you hear it’ 🙂 I have booked marked website.

    1. Hi Ola,

      Thank you for your comment. That is really good that you took the step to get involved and learn about cars, that is one of the things I love doing – encouraging people to get stuck in and have a go. Even if it is only so far as learning about the parts and how everything works. It can be quite immersive, as you found out, by learning about the sounds the car is making it can tell you a lot about what could be wrong. I am going to be doing a “readers questions” series soon, maybe you can stop the cars that drive past you and tell them to come to my website, haha!

      Thanks again, and thank you so much for bookmarking this site too!


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