How to Make My Honda Civic Fasterby William Zane
It’s probably safe to say that the Civic is one of the most popular cars that Honda has ever manufactured. Civics are prized for their reliability, compact size and frugal fuel economy, making them great commuters for the daily grind. Of course, Civics are also popular as a starting point for a tuner car, where the performance (and usually the appearance as well) is upgraded to a higher lever. There are many ways to make a Civic faster, from adding horsepower to removing weight.
Add horsepower. One of the first steps you can take to make your Civic faster is to add more horsepower to the engine. Start with a larger diameter exhaust. The stock exhaust restricts the flow of exhaust gasses as they leave the engine, but a performance exhaust gets those exhaust gasses out of the engine more quickly, allowing the motor to make more power. On the intake side, install a cold air intake in lieu of the stock restrictive air box. After that, there are performance chips and ECUs that change how much fuel, air and spark the engine receives. Forced induction from turbocharging or supercharging is another popular method for getting more power from a Civic’s engine. You can also rebuild the engine with different cams, bigger pistons and so on, though, like turbocharging or supercharging, this can be quite expensive.
Increase the handling. A Civic that is faster is not only faster in a straight line but faster around corners as well. Start with a set of adjustable performance shocks paired with lower, heavier rate coil springs. You can also install full coilovers, which allow for far more adjustability than conventional shocks and springs. After that, larger sway bars are a great way to reduce body roll and make your Civic take corners far better. The sway bar connects each side of the suspension with a rigid piece of metal, forcing the inside tire to the ground during cornering. Strut braces are another popular Civic modification. These bolt between the strut towers and reduce chassis flex. Stiffening up the bushings with urethane-style bushings will also make the car more responsive. Round out the changes with stickier tires mounted on larger wheels.
Upgrade the brakes. On the stopping end, a faster Civic will also have better brakes. Here, you can install cross-drilled rotors for better cooling, performance pads for more bite from the brakes and braided steel brake lines for a better feeling pedal. Or you can go all out and install a big brake kit, which will have bigger calipers and rotors for a more dramatic increase in braking ability.
Remove weight. Shedding pounds is another technique to making a Civic faster. Remove the stock seats and install lighter, one-piece racing buckets. After that, remove the carpeting and sound deadening and install a thin layer of carpet. You can also remove the stock door panels and back seats for even more weight loss. In addition, there are lightweight fiberglass and carbon fiber exterior panels (hood, trunk, etc.) that can be fitted.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set and ratchet
- Specialty automotive tools
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.