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Why You Should Tune Your Car Before Other Upgrades

by | May 5, 2021 | advice, modding, upgrades

As the specialists in improving the performance of vehicles in Cache Valley, we get a lot of people asking us to upgrade their cars. People like the idea of modding their car into some kind of monster machine to wow their friends and neighbors (or just keep them awake at night committing murder in their hearts). They like to ask us what the best mods are to getting the effects they want. They’re often surprised to learn that the answer is often no mod at all. You can get a lot of great performance based on tuning your car. That’s why we always suggest you tune your car before you try anything too elaborate.

What is Tuning?

Tuning your car is the process of making adjustments to the basic functions of your engine to tweak it’s performance. By making simple changes to the combustion cycle of the engine and other parts of the car, you change how properties like acceleration, overall horsepower, turning, breaking, and more work. Without any expensive or elaborate modifications, you can get massive boosts in performance.  That’s usually enough to suit most drivers.

Tuning Your Car: A Game of Give And Take

The first thing to understand about tuning is that you cannot enhance the performance of everything all at once. Most aspects of a car’s performance are tied together. For example, its easy to tune a car for more speed and power, but this naturally weakens the car’s breaking and turning. When you go fast, you lose some control. It’s possible to tune other aspects to reduce the loss, but this will also decrease the overall power boost a little bit. You have to tune with that kind of balance in mind.

Safety First

Under all circumstances, you have to consider safety. A common mistake people make when trying to tune a car is to ignore the balance in favor of what they think they want – usually speed and power. This kind of attitude means it’s very possible to tune your car to a point that it’s unsafe to drive. It’s no good to tune your car for power and speed only to make it impossible to adequately turn and break. That puts you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road in danger.  Even so, it’s a mistake many amateur mechanics make when they tune their own vehicles.

Know What You Want

When it comes to tuning your car, it’s all about knowing what you want to use a car for. If you’re just driving around town, you probably want to tune for better control rather than power. Driving around town means making a lot of turns and you’ll need to stop for traffic a lot, especially on main street. You’ll never have the need or opportunity to flex increased power in town. If you drive on freeways a lot, where roads tend to mostly be straight, or have only gentle curves, tuning for power can help you reach freeway driving speeds faster and maintain them more consistently.

And if you’re driving a race car on a race track, well that’s a whole host of other considerations.  In that case, you’re looking for a highly specialized vehicle for a highly specialized situation.

Drift racing

Photo by Rowan Harrison

Are There Other Types of Mods for Cars?

Oh, yes, there are. In fact, we’ve already talked about mods for people who want their cars to be good at drifting. This is the sort of thing just mentioned for specialized vehicles in specialized situations. Basic tuning can give you improved drifting, but to get really good drifting performance requires some specific modifications and additions. This is also one of those cases where modding a car makes it unfit for the road. Cars highly modded for drifting have very little control by design and as such become dangerous to drive in any situation where control is good.  This includes any situation other than a race track.

There are also other possible mods you can add to a car for a variety of other purposes.

Tuning Your Car Should Be The First Step

While we’d like to talk more about modding cars sometime in the future, tuning is really the first thing to try. Unless you’re looking to build a vehicle for highly specialized purposes, there’s little need to mod a car beyond that. Simple tweaks can improve all of the things that matter to your car’s performance for general situations. So, if you’re looking to see some improvements on your car’s performance, why not come to us? This is one of our specialties at SE Performance and we love to do it.

If you’re looking to tune your car’s performance, then get in touch with us today so we can work out a plan to get your car the best performance for what you need!

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