How to Get More Horsepower Cheap


Enthusiasts measure a vehicle's ability to run at top speeds with horsepower. The power and torque applied to a vehicle's wheels during operation determines the horsepower. Increasing stock horsepower on a vehicle requires expensive, aftermarket upgrades. Inexpensive options offer increases to your horsepower, mileage and performance but not at the levels reached by adding a turbocharger. The inexpensive options only serve to give a slight increase in horsepower, but you definitely notice the increase in power and performance. Adding horsepower cheaply means getting more air into your intake, increasing spark performance and decreasing drag on your vehicle.

  • Tune up your vehicle. A good tune-up helps to keep the engine performing at optimum levels. With a tune-up, make sure you clean your injectors, or have them cleaned professionally, and that you replace any old or worn spark plug wires.

  • Replace your existing plugs. With a six-cylinder engine, upgrading your plugs to a split-platinum plug decreases misfire and improves performance by up to 10 percent. Several parts manufacturers produce platinum or iridium plugs designed for this purpose. Split- or dual-head plugs are ideal for six-cylinders and quad-head plugs are ideal for eight-cylinders.

  • Upgrade your intake by replacing your existing air filter to a dry or oiled lifetime air filter. The most popular version is the K&N Air Filter line. K&N makes filters for most every type of vehicle, and these are available at most auto parts store. K&N use an oiled air filter to reduce the amount of material between your engine and the air it needs. Less material means more air gets through. Dry versions of the oiled air filter operate similarily but without the need for annual oiling. Do not confuse dry air filters with conventional ones. Dry and oiled air filters typically cost about $30 to $40 higher than conventional filters.

  • Straighten your intake lines. Most intake boxes (air filter housing) have a small tube routed to the front of the engine to pull air into the engine. If your intake lines take odd turns, try to reroute the lines to be straight. The fewer the obstructions or turns in your intake line before reaching the air filter, the more air will flow through. If possible, route the inlet tube going to your air filter straight out from the filter to a location in the grille so that air flows straight into the filter without turns. You might have to build something out of soft plastic to accomplish this upgrade.

  • Upgrade your tires to performance tires. Most tire shops offer lower-priced performance rated tires. Shop around and locate inexpensive versions rated for street performance. Street-rated tires decrease the amount of drag your tires place on the road.

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