Cheap is possible with each of these mods.
There are some people who can buy a car and be content withit in its stock form. Others are happy for a while but then get bitten by the speed bug and feel the need to start tinkering. Sometimes this bug bite leads to a thin wallet, or, in the worst case scenario, a car wrapped around a tree in the woods. While we can't help with the whole car around a tree thing we have found some simple and relatively inexpensivemods that'll let you boost your car's performance without breaking the bank.
Okay, a $200 cold air intake may not exactly meet the "inexpensive" requirement we've set. But it is simple enough to hook up, taking about as much time under the hood as a commercial break on TV. A cold air intake is not able to free up a ton of horsepower. But, itwill increase airflow to the engine and its position outside of the engine baywill allow it to suck in denser cold air. In other words the engine willbreathe easier and therefore perform better.
You want to upgrade your suspension but it’s going tocost thousands of dollars for a set of decent coilovers. A car owner lookingfor upgraded suspension is sometimes just going for a stiffer setup, and thatcan be accomplished with an investment of only a couple hundred bucks. The answer ispolyurethane bushings. Out of the factory most cars have rubber bushings, whichover time stretch and become soft, providing a handling setup that can feel alittle loose. Polyurethane bushings aren’t too expensive and will stiffen thesuspension much more so than stock rubber bushings. When buyinga used car take a look at the bushings. If they’re rubber and terrible,replace them.
Installing new spark plugs is a bit of an underwhelming suggestion, we know. But they are cheap and while they won't increase performance they will help you recapture lost power. Every engine is different, and each one will typically come with arecommendation from the factory regarding which plugs to use. With Japanese cars for instance, the recommended spark plug manufacturer is almost always NGK. Do not ignore therecommendation, and when buying a used car make sure to check out the plugs asthey could be extremely worn. Don’t expect a whole lot more power, though. It's important to remember that extra power isn't the point of this "mod." It's more about giving your engine what it needs to perform properly.
Tires can make or break the performance of a car. For example: If you have a 1995 Mustang GT with 215 wide tires you'll get 24mpg and do mad burnouts even with the highly fickle LSD, but bigger tires meanmore traction. More traction means more speed, and that means less mpg. But whocares as long as you get to where you’re going faster, right? These can beexpensive, especially a set of 245s for your ’95 Mustang, but resources areavailable for the frugal spender. A set of tires on Craigslist can be found fora couple hundred dollars or less.
Here’s a modification that will cost you exactly zerodollars and about 30 seconds of your life. It somewhat coincides with the cold air intake,but this is more for a high school student with a Nissan 240SX and no job. Which, bythe way, is a bad combination. Some cars have at the fender-end of an airintake tube what some mechanics refer to as a “snorkel.” In environmentalterms it’s a kind of funnel that sits at the end of an air intake. For theenthusiast, it’s a lump of useless rubber or plastic that takes up space andsuffocates airflow. Take it out and unload a ton of horsepower, and it’ll makeyour car sound way cooler. Side note: “a ton” in this context means not verymuch. But it will sound cool.