If you are an auto enthusiast whose looking for more performance from your ride, there are plenty of options in the market. They range from the basic bolt-on modifications to more expensive performance upgrades. Ideally, a major performance upgrade would involve upgrading most parts of the car, as you have to keep a balance between power and drivability of your vehicle.
Pic Courtesy : Autopsyche
Here we would talk about what basic mods can be done to achieve an overall 20% more increase in performance figures. Performance modification for your car is better done only after the warranty has expired, as no manufacturer honors warrant claims after aftermarket parts are installed. Another thing to remember is to make sure that any work on your car is carried out by a known tuner or garage, as maintenance of these parts require special attention.
1. High-flow air Filter (Rs. 5,000+ approx.) This is most basic mod for any car (Petrol or Diesel). It is an aftermarket stock replacement high-flow filter, from companies like Green Cotton & K&N. These filters are oil coated for better performance. Enhanced air-flow in the engine causes an increase in top-end acceleration and a slight increase in fuel efficiency as well.
The only downside reported about this part is the slight increase in carbon build up in the engine. Fuel injectors are also prone to cleaning, as these filter allow some dust particles to pass through. Overall, if you can do preventive maintenance for your car, this part is worth installing for the 5% increase in power & torque figures. 2. Free-flow exhaust / Straight pipe exhaust (Rs. 12,000 onward) An exhaust system of a car is designed to allow the gases from the different cylinders to cumulatively exit from the tailpipe. Typically, it has 3 parts to it ; the manifold, catalytic converter and muffler. Another function that this system resumes is that of back-pressure or allowing for some resistance when the burnt fumes escape the engine. A free-flow exhaust reduces this pressure and allows for a smoother exit route for such gases, as the faster these gases leave the engine after combustion, the better the performance.
Pic Courtesy : Borla
Free-flow exhausts amplify the exhaust note and may not be street legal. The sound is better on petrol vehicles, but not that great with diesels. A straight pipe exhaust is one that gets rid of the catalytic converter in the exhaust, which gives an extra boost in performance, however results in higher emissions. Each specific model requires a custom free-flow exhaust and the exhaust plumbing differs on each car, and there a very few tuners/garages who have mastered this art. Performance gained, in addition to the high-flow filter, is about 10% 3. Upgraded Spark Plugs ( Petrol Cars) (Rs. 2,500 + approx.) The main function of a spark plug is to ignite the internal combustion of an engine, using electric sparks. Aftermarket plugs differ from stock ones as they are more resistant to carbon-deposits and provide a more consistent spark pattern, aiding fuel consumption. Plugs may have multi-directional spark or may be single point sparks. There are many companies who manufacture such plugs, including NGK & Bosch. The Iridium and Platinum tipped plugs are supposedly better than standard ones.
Something to keep in mind is that while upgrading the plugs, the plug cables and connectors also need to be changed to achieve optimum performance gains. There are no major performance gains, but these are useful for a smoother running of the engine, faster pick-up and marginally improved mileage. 4. ECU Remap (Rs. 20,000 onward) An 'ECU' or Engine Control Unit is considered to be the 'brain' of the car. It is essentially a microprocessor which works with a series of software and hardware components. Going in for a ECU re-map refers to the change in the software containing a set of engine parameter codes, which are put onto the existing ECU. This alters the way in which the car reacts, as the timing and amount of fuel being fed to the engine changes. There are various types of maps available include maps for better torque ( increase acceleration) or to better top-end power (increase bhp). Pete's and Kiirus are a couple of companies offering this service in India, however there are multiple global competitors who are slightly better, but lose out due to the lack of service support. The performance gains are on both Petrol & Diesel cars, but can be felt more on the diesels. Performance gains can be as high as 20% in some cases. 5. Diesel Tuning Box or Chip (Rs. 24,000 onward) These plug and play devices are offered by companies like Pete's and Racetronics in India. Its essentially a electronic box, pre-loaded with software that connects between the cars fuel injection and the ECU. It 'piggy-backs' on the existing ECU and 'fools' this unit into thinking that the car is too cold or running a lean mixture, which makes the ECU force more fuel into the injectors, allowing for higher acceleration and overall performance. The newer versions of these boxes also come with a remote, which lets you toggle between pre-determined 'mode' for higher performance or mileage, depending on your requirement.
You can gain up to 10-15% more power from this, but not at all close to the 30%, as claimed by some manufacturers. The down-side to such a addition is the increase in emissions, mainly due to the richer fuel mixture, leading to black smoke from the muffler on hard acceleration.