If you're considering your options to increase the horsepower in your car's engine, you may be surprised to find out how many different ways there are to do this. With so many different engine components that can affect the horsepower output of your engine, there are many different upgrades and changes that can alter your engine's total horsepower production. While some of these options may prove to be expensive, there are several things that you can do to improve horsepower on a budget. Here's a look at a few different modifications that may put a little more pep in your car's step.
Flash the Computer's Control Chip
Newer engine designs rely heavily on the use of the engine's computer control chip to regulate everything from the timing to the fuel delivery, which means that you're going to be limited as to how much horsepower you can really get without altering that computerized regulation. The good news is that most high performance engines can be modified through a process called flashing. For a minimal investment in most cases, you can have the computer chip reprogrammed so that it operates a bit more like the older engine styles, producing more horsepower with fewer computer-controlled limitations. You'll want to work with an auto performance specialist to do this, though, because one wrong programming step could render the engine unresponsive.
Optimize the Air Flow
One of the simplest yet most effective methods for increasing your car's horsepower rating is to install a cold air intake system in place of the stock air intake. Your engine's air intake draws in the air necessary for combustion in the engine, and the colder the air is, the faster it will flow through the engine. This can help to improve the efficiency of your engine, and enhance the power you get from the combustion process. Cold air intake systems are fairly inexpensive, though they can require detailed knowledge of some engine designs. If you don't have the mechanical aptitude to do it on your own, you can have it installed in a performance shop. Since they're easy to install, even a professional installation won't cost you a ton in labor fees.
Enhance the Exhaust
Your car's exhaust system is also a common limiting factor for horsepower production. The exhaust pipe diameter can slow exhaust flow, which may reduce your engine's responsiveness. By replacing your exhaust system with larger diameter pipes that run straight from the engine without any bends or twists in the pipe, you'll enhance the exhaust flow, helping the engine to breathe more efficiently and maintain proper combustion.
Upgrade the Catalytic Converter
Just like the muffler, the catalytic converter can significantly limit your engine's horsepower production. It is the role of your catalytic converter to filter as much of the engine exhaust as it can to strip the toxins from it before it reaches the exhaust pipe. This is an important process for emissions regulation, but it can choke your engine's horsepower output. While you can eliminate the catalytic converter and install straight pipes on the engine to enhance your horsepower, this type of modification will fail emissions testing in most states. It can also activate your check engine light, which can be a problem during safety inspections in some places. Instead of eliminating the catalytic converter entirely, consider investing in a high flow catalytic converter instead. They are designed to eliminate much of the exhaust flow restriction while still keeping your car smog-legal in most places. When paired with a larger diameter exhaust pipe, you're sure to see some significant changes in horsepower production.
No matter which of these horsepower improvements you opt for, even if it's all of them, you should work with a performance shop to test the engine's horsepower both before and after the modifications. Through the use of a dynomometer, you can evaluate the horsepower of your engine to get a clear picture of what kind of results you can expect. For more information, contact a business such as Power Test Inc.