From the outside, the car modification scene can look like a complex world, fit for only the most mechanically minded amongst us. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Even the most novice mechanics out there can easily improve their ride with these simple upgrades…
1. New, decent tyres
Your tyres are the only part of the car that are actually in physical contact with the road, so it makes sense that having good tyres fitted will make a huge difference to the way your car performs. Good rubber might not be cheap, but it’s well worth the outlay.
Unlike most of the things in this list, fitting new tyres isn’t something you can do in your driveway, but order a set to your nearest garage and they’ll have them fitted before you can down a steaming hot mug of coffee.
2. Alloy wheels
If you can, order your shiny new alloys freshly wrapped in high quality rubber, as you can simply whip off your old steelies and pop your new set on in their place. If not, your local garage can wrap your new wheels in no time at all.
New alloys don’t just have to be for aesthetics; if you’re willing to spend a bit of extra cash for lightweight wheels, you’ll increase performance thanks to reduced rotational inertia (the amount of torque required to rotate the wheel).
3. Brake pads
When upgrading your car, you should always make sure you upgrade your braking system before adding too much power.
In an ideal world you’d replace everything, including brake lines, discs and callipers. However, if changing all of that is a bit daunting for you, a great place to start is fitting uprated brake pads.
Spend a bit of time on YouTube and you’ll see a pad change doesn’t take a huge amount of time, talent or specialised tools. Just be careful which pads you pick up – if you’re never going to track your ride, avoid expensive race-spec items that won’t work until they’re at insanely high temperatures.
4. Steering wheel
Let’s be honest, most OEM steering wheels are pretty ugly, especially in older cars with cracked, sweaty leather.
You can pick up some aftermarket steering wheels for not a lot of cash, and installation should only require a wrench, screwdriver, and a little bit of strength. (Cars with airbags are a no-no for DIY, and should be left to the experts)
5. High quality oils
Engine oils are a hugely important part of your general car maintenance regime, and using high quality oils will not only make your engine run more smoothly, it’ll also last longer.
There’s also an argument that because your engine is running more smoothly and efficiently, you’ll receive an increase in performance. While this might be technically true, it won’t be a noticeable boost. This is purely a gift from you to your car.
6. Uprated air filter
The idea of an air filter is to filter out dust and dirt in the air, to prevent it entering your engine. The problem with most OEM parts is that they restrict the air flow into the engine to achieve this.
Aftermarket air filters can provide an increase in kilowatts by allowing more air into the engine, while still filtering out any rubbish. Most air filters have simple plug-and-play designs that don’t take a genius to fit.
7. Weight reduction, bro
In the car world, weight is the enemy. Whether you’re going for economy or performance, removing weight will make a big difference.
This can be as simple as making sure you clear your car out regularly so it’s not weighed down with pointless items you could easily store in the garage, to ripping out your rear seats and sound deadening.
8. Full detail
This one doesn’t involve any new parts or greasy hands – quite the opposite, actually – but it is probably the most effective way to make your car feel like new.
We’re not talking about an old sponge and some washing up liquid, we’re talking proper car shampoo, polish and wax. That’s for the exterior; on the inside you need to give it a good vacuum, clean the dash and if your seats are leather, treat them to lashings of leather restorer.
A shiny, clean exterior will make your ride look newer, but we really can’t put enough emphasis on keeping your car clean on the inside. It’s where you spend most of your time, after all, and having freshly cleaned seats and mats, as well as windows you can see clearly out of, will make driving much more pleasurable.
Your turn. How do you pamper your ride? Feel free to share your tips below.
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