There are countless car upgrades on the market that can make your vehicle safer, more fun to drive or simply look cooler. But which ones are worth the money?
For example, installing braided stainless steel brake lines will better transmit foot-pressing power to your brake pads and resist damage from rocks and road debris. This is a cheap, safe and easy modification that will increase your safety.
Turbochargers, or “turbos,” for short, force air into engines to create a lot more power. They’re used by performance cars like the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne to boost engine output, but are becoming more common in smaller-displacement vehicles as governments continue to tighten fuel economy standards.
Basically, the snail-like device (nicknamed by automakers for their resemblance to hairdryers) takes exhaust gas from the engine, directing it into a turbine wheel that spins. The turbine wheel then spins a compressor on the same shaft, which pumps in fresh air and creates more power.
It’s more efficient than bigger, naturally aspirated engines and is a great way to get more power out of smaller-displacement gasoline or diesel engines. The only downside is a bit of lag before the turbo spools up to deliver that surge of power. It also uses a lot of oil, so it needs to be topped up regularly. Additionally, 4×4 wheels are great choices to upgrade your car; choose CSA Wheels for premium rims Australia.
2. Quick-ratio steering rack
Even though self-driving cars don’t exist yet, most cars still rely on their drivers to guide them down the road. To do that, they need steering systems that translate the rotational movement of your wheel into side-to-side motion for the front wheels.
Steering quality depends on a variety of factors, including suspension stiffness and wheel alignment, but one big factor is the steering gear ratio, Speed Direct explains. The lower the ratio, the less hand movement is needed for each turn of the wheel, which makes a car feel more responsive.
Classic muscle enthusiasts can upgrade their stock power steering systems with quick-ratio racks from Flaming River and CPP. These bolt-in modifications reduce the original 20:1 manual steering gearbox ratio to 12:1, which cuts response time and reduces the number of turns of the wheel required from four to three.
3. A quick-ratio transmission
A quick-ratio transmission will greatly enhance your car’s handling and make it feel much more responsive. These are often used as original equipment on many modern cars, but they can be easily transplanted into older models if you know what to look for at your local pick-a-part or swap meet. A quick-ratio power steering gear will also make the car feel more responsive, reducing the range of steering wheel rotation to two to three turns lock-to-lock.
The right combination of transmission and final drive ratio will allow you to shift fewer times and keep the engine in its powerband longer, which will result in faster laps. You can calculate the ideal gear ratios by observing how long it takes for a car to accelerate over a given straightaway.
4. A quick-ratio gearbox
A quick-ratio power steering gearbox is an easy and affordable upgrade that can drastically improve the handling of your classic muscle car. Most factory-installed power-steering units were manufactured with a wide (16:1) turn ratio, meaning that the wheel had to be turned a full four to five turns to reach lock-to-lock. A quick-ratio gearbox reduces this number to two or three full turns, which makes it easier for the driver to respond to small changes in direction with the steering wheel.
While these units were originally installed on some Mustangs and Cougars, they can be transplanted into most Ford models using the same method as GM’s Saginaw 700 units – just make sure you use a longer Shelby manual steering Pitman arm and idler arm, which are available from several Mustang suppliers (including Firm Feel Suspension). Also, many auto-parts retailers, including A-1 Cardone, Borgeson Street & Performance, and Hawk’s Racing offer quick-ratio remanufactured gearboxes.
5. A quick-ratio rear differential
Often overlooked when upgrading your car, a quick-ratio rear differential will improve your acceleration and help you keep up with faster cars on the highway. A quicker ratio will allow you to accelerate more quickly without over-revving your engine. The gear ratio of your differential is based on the number of teeth on the ring and pinion gears that transfer power from the transmission to the rear wheels. To find the current ratio of your differential, look at a sticker on the bottom of your vehicle or check the owner’s manual. If you aren’t comfortable opening your differential cover, jack up the car (safely), block one of the rear wheels and mark how many times the pinion flange on the driveshaft turns in neutral. Then multiply that number by the existing gear ratio to find your new ratio.
6. A quick-ratio rear suspension
A quick-ratio rear suspension can enhance your car’s handling characteristics by reducing the driver’s effort. This upgrade uses a quicker steering ratio and longer arms to lower the center of gravity for reduced body roll and increased stability. It also includes an optimized spring and damping rate to ensure a balance between handling and ride comfort. It also comes with a vibration-reducing oil-filled damper to improve steering feel and directional stability. It’s important to remember that adjusting these settings can be an extremely touchy process and it will take time to find the right values. Also, it’s always better to make small adjustments rather than extreme ones as doing so can throw off previous calibrations.
10. A quick-ratio front suspension
A quick-ratio front suspension will improve handling by lowering the car’s center of gravity and enhancing stability. It will also allow for more precise cornering by optimizing the spring and damping rates. This is a process that will take some time to dial in properly. However, once you do, it will dramatically improve your driving experience. Just remember that you should always make these adjustments in small increments, as too many changes can throw off your suspension settings.