Cheap Ways to Make Cars Go Faster

by Dennis Hartman

Modern cars are faster and more efficient than ever, utilizing computers and other advanced technology to get the most out of an engine. However, for some drivers, stock performance will never be enough. There are many ways to add to a car's performance, including increasing its top speed. Some of these modifications can cost very little yet still yield significant results.

Tune Up

A general tune up is one of the best ways to get the most out of a car without adding costly components or making major changes. Check to ensure that all of a car's tires are fully inflated. Also check the gap spacing on all of the spark plugs. Clean or replace the engine oil and oil filter along with the transmission fluid and fuel filter. Finally, clean the fuel injectors or carburetor. Following all of these routine steps will ensure that an engine is capable of achieving its intended top speed.

Performance Chip

One popular and relatively cheap upgrade to increase speed involves installing a performance chip in the engine control unit. These chips alter the engine's timing, allowing the same engine to develop more horsepower and torque, usually at the expense of fuel efficiency. Performance chips are generally easy to install.

Air Filter

Performance air filters can also increase a car's top speed by ensuring that only clean air enters the engine's combustion chamber. Another way to improve the engine air is to add a cold air intake, which cools the air before it enters the engine, resulting in more powerful combustion and increased engine output from the same amount of fuel.

Weight Reduction

One way to increase a car's speed that costs nothing is to reduce the weight of the vehicle as much as possible. While lightweight components like carbon fiber hoods and alloy wheels can shed many pounds, less expensive steps will also pay dividends. Remove items like the spare tire and jack, along with any items you may carry for convenience. You might also consider removing the rear seat and optional accessories like an air conditioning system or stereo and speakers. Some drivers even choose to remove the insulation panels from inside a car's doors or trunk. In addition to increasing road noise this can make the car harder to heat and cool, but plays into the philosophy of gaining speed by reducing weight.


Adding a turbocharger is a surefire way to increase engine output. Turbochargers and superchargers force additional air into an engine, increasing the power of its combustion. While a turbocharger may cost several hundred dollars, it still weighs and costs far less than installing a complete high-output engine while providing a similar performance advantage.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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