In recent years, electronics have evolved car modifications, disappearing certain systems for more efficient and complex ones. Since their appearance, vehicles have been constantly evolving. A process that has accelerated over the past two decades thanks to electronics and other technological developments.
Today, electronic products play a vital role in the operation of automobiles. In the past, cars ran on computers, which buried everyday items such as carburetors.The ‘square’ of the spark, or the adjustment of the valves, which today by using hydraulic boosters they adjust themselves.
You are lucky. You have a car that you can enjoy, a car that gives you joy on the weekends. Even or a car on the way to work gives you the joy you need to start your day with spirit. It doesn’t matter if it is a SEAT León FR with the indestructible 1.9 TDI engine. And if your car is a simple utility vehicle, you also have the right to have fun at the wheel. We offer you ten affordable modifications that substantially and safely improve the performance and dynamics of your cars.
This list is not exhaustive, as it is not intended to make your car a less useful machine. Nor does it include every one of the performance improvements. We want its performance and power to be superior. But there is no need to install a roller cage, empty its interior or leave us three months ‘wages. If we wanted a car for touring or for amateur rallies, the list would be very different. We understand that you still want to use your car on the road.
With these ten improvements, your car will be faster and more fun.
1. Sports cut tires
The tire is the only element that connects the car to the ground. A piece of rubber we often ignore, but it ultimately determines the power of the car. Stay away from second-hand tires, and remember that a worn tire performs poorly. There are many sports cut tires supplied by brands with excellent lateral grip and a very good driving feel. For example, Michelin, Dunlop, Bridgestone or Pirelli.
The difference between a bad tire and a good sports tire is like the difference between day and night.
2. Some new tires
You can fit winter tires with the standard rims if you live in an area with harsh weather.
A 19-inch wheel on a 100 hp Opel Corsa does not help our car. But perhaps a 16-inch rim helps where we can fit a wider sports tire without sacrificing performance. There is a huge variety of very nice tires at affordable prices. They can completely transform the dynamics of your car if you wear them with good tires.
3. Install a sports intake kit
You will not gain 10 CV in a 75 CV motor. However, you could earn them if your motor has 250 CV.
The admission that most of the series cars assemble has potential for improvement. Several aftermarket parts manufacturers offer sports intake kits that for prices below € 200. It can increase the power of your engine – depending on cylinder capacity and power. Of course, the perfect figure is between 3 hp and 10 hp. Its shape optimizes the airflow to the engine and reduces the intake temperature. You can install them yourself in a few minutes with basic tools and clear instructions.
4. Sports exhausts
An empty catalyst increases the power of the engine, but you will not pass the ITV. Because it is unethical and you could be fined.
I am not referring to the typical “tubarro” that does not go beyond a silencer. I am referring to less restrictive exhaust lines, with fewer curves and an optimized geometry for optimal exhaust gas evacuation. Although its price is higher, you can find complete lines that also replace the engine exhaust manifolds. That way you will get a few additional horses. If you find the right system, your car will sound better. Remember that sound volume and sound quality are not always the same.
5. Steel brake lines
In many cases, the improvement is not obvious, but it is different if we combine it with good braking equipment.
What this improvement achieves is that the pedal feel is more precise. Metal hoses do not deform like the rubber hoses that most cars have as standard. The pedal feel will not become spongy in strong braking. Even in normal driving we will feel a more natural response by transmitting hydraulic fluid under pressure more efficiently. Plus, they have the added advantage that they don’t break or crack over time like rubber hoses do.
6. Stabilizer bars
They increase the rigidity of the chassis around the front and/or rear axles, with an immediate effect on the behavior of the car.
It is one of the most affordable improvements that we can install in a car. Many drivers experience a complete transformation of the car. The stabilizer bar is used to increase the structural rigidity of chassis, whether mounted on the front or rear axle.This increased rigidity has a positive multiplier effect on car dynamics, more precise and agile. The cornering improves considerably and its prices can start at just over € 150, depending on the car.
7. New shock absorbers and springs for sporty setting
In addition to better cornering, you will have less sway and a lowered image for your car.
Many cars can improve their dynamics with the installation of new shock absorbers and springs. Its installation was a personal decision. But it was an improvement along with the stabilizer bar that was immediately reflected in the behavior of the car.Choose the hardness you want and find out appropriately in forums about the make or model of your car. When you make a decision, remember to consider the use of your car, not the road conditions in your area.
8. A new braking equipment
You will stop with more force and you will stop sooner. Now, you may need to approve them to pass the ITV.
It is a matter of budget. A brake pads high performance improve braking power of your car but do not replace discs or brake calipers, and the price is affordable. Replacing the four discs with their corresponding calipers is a major improvement, but can still be done for less than 1,000 euros. If you occasionally go to use your car on track days or you like going out on Sundays to do routes on mountain roads, it is an investment to take into account.
9. Reprogram your car’s electronic control unit
In atmospheric engines reprogramming is safe, but the power gain is minimal.
Attention, quicksand. We could write an article about “repros”, but we prefer to give you some simple tips. They are especially effective on turbo engines, by increasing turbo pressure from the car’s electronic brain. We recommend a very moderate reprogramming, which does not increase the power of the car by more than 20%. A further increase in power can require mechanical reinforcements or cause parts such as the turbo to shorten its useful life considerably. See an expert, always.
10. New seats, steering wheel, gear lever
A pineapple for the steering wheel or a light steering wheel without airbag are elements that put our safety at risk in the event of an accident.
Modify the way you communicate with the car, and make it more efficient. Some sports seats – sometimes units scrap the GTI version of your car – or shifter shorter will be able to focus more on driving you instead of having to fight with the forces of physics. A shorter gear lever will allow you to change gears more quickly. You can also buy pedals with a better grip or that allow you to make a toe-heel more easily.
Our non-exhaustive list ends here, but you always have the comments section to give us more ideas. Always remember to make these modifications safely and do not skimp on expenses. Affordable is not the same as cheap: cheap is expensive and sometimes it is better to deprive yourself of a whim than buying a product of dubious reliability and performance. The Internet and its forums – whether general or specific to your make or model of car – are an excellent source of information if you want to improve the performance of your cars.
These technological advances have also served to make life easier for owners with their vehicles, but as time progresses many of the elements that are present today may disappear in a few years.
Here are some of the elements that are history, those that have been replaced by electronics, and those that in the future will most likely disappear. It’s just a matter of time.
Goodbye to the carburetor
Thanks to the electronics, the carburetor was replaced by injection, which arrived in Colombia in 1996. With the disappearance of this, the distributor, the plates, and the condenser were also eliminated, whose functions are now performed with signals from passing sensors. through a computer, which processes them according to the program that is recorded in its memory or ‘chip’.
Many of the models have replaced the needles with digital TFT displays where they show the same information on temperature, fuel level, tachometer, speedometer, and offer more relevant data for driving. On some models that still have analog watches, for a retro touch, they respond to electronic impulses sent by the vehicle’s computer and are no longer physically connected to the engine or wheels.
The spark and the ‘choke’
Adjusting the spark or triggering the ‘choke’ at the first start of the morning is a thing of the past.
Today the vehicles have an entire army of sensors managed by the ECM (electronic control module, for its acronym in English) that determines the needs of the engine in terms of power is concerned, indicating the computer the amount of fuel and air required taking into account the altitude at which you are working.
On the other hand, the minimum ‘chicler’ was replaced by the IAC sensor, which regulates the engine speed at idle by managing and regulating the intake of air into the combustion chambers, while the ‘choke’ was replaced by a thermal sensor.
To lighten vehicles, gain cargo space and reduce costs, many manufacturers have forgotten about spare tires. Initially, they resorted to ‘runflat’ tires, available on high-end vehicles. In other segments, manufacturers have opted for smaller wheels and tires, and now the trend is to carry a puncture-resistant kit inside the road equipment, possibly for situations caused by a spike, but not when the tire bursts due to a hole. or anchor.
As we mentioned in the previous edition, the keys are being replaced by controls. Fewer and fewer vehicles have a lock or ‘switch’ in which we put the key to start the engine, except for the models of the input segments. For example, opening doors with a key is a thing of the past thanks to the fact that the key incorporates the closing and opening control.
Others open without having to press the remote control thanks to a transponder, which is detected by the vehicle’s computer and allows the driver’s door to be opened and the engine to be started using the power button.
Currently this maintenance process is limited to replacing the gasoline and air filter when they complete their cycle of use, the high cables if they fail, the spark plugs when they complete a useful life of more than 40 thousand kilometers, and the injection system is verified. If an injector is clogged it is cleaned using an ultrasound process in specialized banks. It is rarely necessary to replace it.
While a few decades ago the number of cylinders and their volumetric capacity was considered a status to boast who had a larger engine, today engines have lowered their cylinder capacity to be more fuel-efficient. , but without losing performance. Today’s 3-, 4-, and 6-cylinder engines that come equipped with a variable valve, direct injection, and/or turbo systems are just as efficient as their eight- and ten-cylinder predecessors.
One of the elements of the car that disappeared many years ago to benefit parking and driving maneuvers. Although they are still mechanical, they are currently hydraulically assisted and the trend is electric assistance. The latter does not require a physical connection between the rudder and the wheels, instead a potentiometer tells the wheels about steering movements.
Manual glass lift
Having to raise or lower the glass of a car with a crank is a thing of the past. This system, which was replaced by the electric system for quite some time, was initially reserved for equipment for the most luxurious cars, but today even the most affordable models incorporate them. Only some popular vehicles do not have this system on the rear doors to reduce the list price of the vehicle on the market.
The short plastic antennas replaced the large metal ones for radio reception and the shark fin type ones located at the back of the roof. Today, many vehicles have the receiver installed on the windshield in an almost invisible way, which improves aesthetics.
Bulbs Vehicles with these bulbs are still sold on the market, especially on entry-level or popular segment models, the industry has gradually migrated to the use of bi-xenon and HID headlamps. In recent years, the trend is towards LED lighting, whose headlamps are cheaper, take up less space, diodes have a very long life, and consume much less energy.
handbrake Another element that has its days numbered is the parking brake lever, which is giving way to the electric control (Electric Park Brake) in which the driver simply presses a button to lock or unlock the brakes. Some manufacturers have adopted an automatic system, which is activated when we turn off or deactivate the engine. This new technology has been useful from a design point of view as it frees up space in the center console.
The end of USB?
Although USB ports are new to infotainment devices, wireless systems using Bluetooth will bring life to wired connections. Today this connectivity is available even in low-end models and allows not only the audio playback from smart mobile devices, but the reception and making of phone calls, through voice commands.
Although it is an irreplaceable element for many purists, this type of box is in danger of extinction. The evolution of automatic gearboxes, whose goal today is to improve fuel economy and performance, even on competitive vehicles, has led to the gradual disappearance of manual gearboxes. Currently models in the entry segment offer automatic gearboxes with four gears and in recent years it has become a trend to install CVT type boxes.