“How can I make my car faster?” is a question we regularly get from people wanting to get more power out of their enthusiast car. The short answer is, if your car has no turbo or supercharger then not much unless you are willing to spend a lot, But if your engine has forced induction, then how up to date are you on your maintenance and what is your budget?
Why it is harder to increase horsepower without a Turbo or Supercharger?
All engines require air, fuel, and spark to run. The more air and fuel you can cram into each cylinder the more power the engine can make. Naturally aspirated engines are limited by atmospheric pressure (14.7 PSI) and rely on the physical size of each cylinder (Displacement) to draw in air in order to make power. With this limitation, the options to increase power are expensive and not cost effective. On a naturally aspirated engine you can have a performance tune loaded, which can marginally increase power by increasing engine timing or allowing the engine rev out more. There are also performance cams shafts and differentials with more aggressive gear ratios that can help. All of these mods can be pricey to have installed and require computer tuning to get the full benefit. All this is not cost effective for potentially marginal horsepower gains.
Why Turbo or Supercharged cars can make more power easily
Engines equipped with turbos and superchargers are a bit different. There are large enthusiast markets around performance models from Audi, BMW, Subaru, Mercedes Benz, Mazda, and Fords that come with factory forced induction. Turbos and superchargers are mechanical air pumps that use mechanical energy to force more air into the engine. That way the engine is not dependent on size and atmospheric pressure to make power. Cars with force induction can be tuned and modded to make their systems cram even more air than the manufacturer intended with supporting modifications for cooling, intake, and exhaust. This substantially increases horsepower and torque in exchange of some reliability.
The downside of adding horsepower
Cars equipped with turbos and supercharger can make great power when modded, but also expect higher wear and tear on power train components. When a customer tells us they want to make more power from their boosted BMW, Subaru, Mini, or Audi we always consider the car’s mileage and maintenance history. If the car is higher mileage and hasn’t been well maintained then we would advise against modding the car for more power. Cars that make substantially more power can also look forward to more wear and tear from increased heat and potential engine knock the engine will experience with added boost. When lots of power is added transmissions tend to fail faster if they are already high mileage. All this will make the car more maintenance intensive. With great horsepower comes great maintenance! If you have a car that are interested in modding feel free to contact us if you have any questions.