Tips For Tweaking Your Ride

You may not own an old-time muscle car, but that doesn't mean you don't want the best performance you can get out of the vehicle you already have. Even older car owners can benefit from making the occasional tweak here and there. Improving your car's power, cutting down on emissions -- these are all good things easily achieved with a little fine-tuning. To get the optimal performance from the car you currently own, consider making the following changes:

Upgrade the Fuel Injectors

Upgrading your fuel injectors satisfies several needs:

  • It gives your car more power.
  • It makes for a smoother idle.
  • It helps generate fewer emissions.
  • It gives you a better response from your throttle.

Nissan is a prime example. If you replace your existing factory-supplied fuel injectors on several makes of vehicle with the more powerful sr20det injectors, you'll achieve all of the above perks for a cost of around $200. Just because they came installed from the factory, doesn't mean you're limited to ho-hum parts on your ride. 

Replace Your Cold-Air Intake System

A simple adjustment like this can boost your car's power a bit as well. Aftermarket intake systems are relatively cheap to install -- typically no more than around $200 -- but they'll make a difference you can easily feel. Your car will stop wheezing like an old man in the morning, and who doesn't want that? 

Replace Old, Worn Headlights

If your poor, old ride still runs great but looks a little sub-par, try sprucing up the exterior. New headlights are a great, affordable tweak. And not only will they look better, but they'll help improve your car's illumination also.

Touch Up the Paint

Can't afford a whole new paint job? No worries. Just focus on the trouble spots by removing any rust you notice, puttying and painting over holes, replacing cracked or broken light covers and pounding out dents. You might try your hand at adding a little pin striping to doors and over wheel hubs. 

Replace Worn Rubber Parts

You probably already remember to replace your wiper blades intermittently, but that's not the only rubber that could be failing on your car. Especially for those who drive older vehicles -- replacing worn rubber door and window seals helps to stop leaks. Even if you don't have water dripping down on your head when you drive, you could still be losing valuable heat and air conditioning through worn and leaking seals. Pay special attention to the rubber the surrounds your sun or moon roof. 

Upgrade Your Suspension System

Tired of driving all over town like the Rough Rider? You might need a new suspension system. Consider pulling the shock absorbers and stabilizer bars, at least, and replacing them with shiny new counterparts. A few easy tweaks like these and she'll be riding smooth as glass in no time. 

Add a Front-End Alignment, New Brakes, and High-Performance Tires

Get rid of that irritating shimmy that occurs when you exceed 60 mph by taking Old Faithful in for a front-end alignment. While you're at it, have them check the brakes as well. If budget permits, upgrade your existing tires to ones that are bigger and better. Talk with a tire professional about just how big is big enough for your particular make and model, and then be sure to keep them inflated to the recommended levels to get the best performance. 

Tweaking your ride is never cheap, but it's much more affordable than investing in a high-performance vehicle that comes with an equally impressive monthly payment. It's all about the little changes that add up to make your car feel like that chariot of the gods that you've always meant it to be.