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Without a doubt, car tuning can significantly improve the looks, performance and capabilities of a vehicle. You have probably seen how much it has transformed the cars of your friends or neighbours, and you may be saying, “I want that!”
There are many opinions out there on how you ought to tune your car (take car forums, for example), but you need to take such advice with a grain of salt. Most of the time, this well-meaning advice is biased, based on what the people who are sharing it have been exposed to. Not to mention, they aren’t necessarily experts in the field.
Before you dive into tuning your car, know the answers to these questions, to ensure that you do it right the first time (and avoid wasting time and money).
Before you start, it’s important to have an understanding of where you want to go with the car tune. You may just want a street car that looks more aggressive, handles better and sprints faster, or you may want a fully-primed road racing, drag racing, or autocross racing car that can compete against the best contenders in national competitions. All these tuning options are done differently right from the start.
As such, don’t just start modding your car because the mods look good on your friend’s car, or because you have been told that certain mods are must-haves. You may realise later that you really want to take a different direction with the tune, and that may mean taking apart all the mods that you had installed initially. Worse still, you may find it almost impossible to do a more aggressive tune, because of the adjustments you made in the beginning.
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You also need to consider whether or not you want to do permanent car modifications. If you are not going for a really extreme tune, if you do not want to void the warranty over your car, or if you intend to resell your car some years down the road, you should think about getting bolt-on mods that can be removed at will. There are many options out there for bolt-on aftermarket parts – like equal/unequal-length headers and exhaust systems – so you are likely to fare quite well with such mods.
However, if you are going all-out with the car tune (especially if you want the car for serious track or racing duty), then you may have to make permanent modifications, in order to achieve the level of performance that you need the car to deliver.
You should only tune a vehicle that is in good condition. There is no point in modifying a car that has a degenerating engine or a ramshackle suspension system, because such a car may not be able to harness and utilize the gains in horsepower that will come with the mods. You have to fully repair or service the vehicle before you start to tune it; that may mean replacing certain parts and components.
Additionally, your vehicle should be ideal for your intended tune. For example, if you want to build a fire-breathing, road racing car, a Hyundai Accent would not be the best choice of car for you. A platform that is already tuned and designed for performance would be best in such a case because you would not have to spend as much to get it to a competitive level of performance as you would with the Accent.
If your intention is to ferry your tuned car to your preferred track circuit or racing competition venue in a trailer, then you don’t have to worry about this. However, if you intend to drive this car on regular streets and roads, then you need to think about how your tuned car will cope in real-world driving situations. A super-slammed coupe with a front chin spoiler looks great, but it is more than likely going to scrape a speed bump or pothole, so you may want to give it a substantial amount of ground clearance if you intend to drive it around.
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To this point, it's important to know the intended use for your car, so that you can tune it appropriately, either as a street car/daily driver vehicle or as a track/race car.
Most car enthusiasts fall into this category. They want to enhance the looks, the handling, and the horsepower/torque output of their cars, but within certain limits, because they still want their cars to serve as daily drivers.
If this also describes your intentions, here are a few pointers on what you can do:
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The tune for a track car/race car is definitely going to be more aggressive and more expensive. At this level, you’re committed to going all-out with the mods, because the car needs to be able to achieve the level of performance required for serious racing competition.
These are solid starters, but there are many other things you can do to tune your car so that it suits your performance objectives. It all depends on how passionate you are about tuning your car and how deep your pockets are.
If you want to better understand all the complexities of car tuning, you need to visit a reputable car tuning spot in your area and ask questions. We at AusBody Works can also help. With our vast experience in this field, we’re happy to share our knowledge, to help you along in your tuning quest.