Your car gets you from point A to point B just fine, but is it performing up to its capabilities? Maybe your car is a base model, essentially offering little more than four wheels and some seats. Or, perhaps you purchased your car with the need to tote family around and performance wasn’t the number one consideration on your list. Either way, there are a few simple things you can do to help enhance its everyday performance.
From engines and batteries to air filters, small do-it-yourself upgrades may make a big difference in how the vehicle runs. Some may make the ride smoother, others might improve fuel efficiency and a few may reduce emissions. Whichever updates you make, it may not only improve car performance, but also help your ride last longer.
The following simple upgrades are a great place to start when attempting to get greater performance from your car.
Making sure your battery lasts and provides consistent power for your vehicle may be crucial to long-term vehicle performance. If your vehicle has extra space surrounding the battery, Discovery suggests wrapping an insulation “blanket” around it. This reflective, insulating wrap (typically found in auto parts stores) specifically designed for this type of application, may help the battery stay cool during the summer and warm when the weather gets cold, which may ultimately result in a longer life, according to Popular Mechanics.
If your battery does not have enough room around it, you may be able to purchase a comparable battery that has a smaller physical footprint. Because automotive batteries come in a variety of types, group sizes and with varying terminal post locations, consult with your local auto parts store professional before purchasing the new battery to ensure you buy the right one.
Consult your owner’s manual on the proper way to replace your car’s battery, or ask your auto parts store for help. Many garages and auto parts stores offer free installation with a battery purchase.
While this update probably won’t give you a performance boost you can feel, it may help keep your battery protected and vehicle running longer, reducing the possibility of being stuck with a dead battery in extreme weather conditions.
Even though they are small components, spark plugs have a big impact on engine function, and replacing them regularly can be a simple way to help make the car run more smoothly. Depending on the type of performance you are looking for, Gear Patrol says there are different spark plug options available. For example, if you are willing to change your plugs every 20,000 miles, copper versions have the best conductivity, which may result in better operation, says Gear Patrol.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a longer life out of your spark plugs, Gear Patrol notes iridium spark plugs with wire centers still generally conduct well, but don’t have to be changed as often, lasting up to four times longer than the copper versions, according to Firestone Complete Auto Care.
Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to safely replace the spark plugs. If you need help, take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to have the spark plugs replaced properly.
Replacing your air filter regularly not only keeps the air cleaner, but it may also be an easy way to upgrade car performance. According to Edmunds, you should change your air filter once a year or every 12,000 miles, or as recommended in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Replacing your filter is a simple and quick DIY project that may contribute to better gas mileage and longer engine life and performance, adds Edmunds. To help ensure you replace your filter properly, consult your owner’s manual. If you’re not confident in your ability to do so safely, take your vehicle to a professional.
While these three tips may help with improving car performance, performing regular maintenance is a great way to get more out of your car for longer.