For many people, tuning their vehicle to their liking is more than a hobby. There are many different ways you can tune your car, and while most gearheads will tell you that the only way to tune it is by installing performance upgrades, that can’t be further than the truth. While installing performance upgrades to get more out of your engine is the most popular type of tuning performed on all vehicles, a lot of people opt for suspension tuning, interior and bodyshell tuning.
Basically, tuning involves improving the performance, handling and appearance of cars. Most tuning is done by professionals who specialise in one or more tuning areas, but some types of tuning can be done by handy DIY-ers.
While the best way to upgrade your engine is getting a brand new one, that technically isn’t tuning. Tuning involves enhancing the parts that are already there so that they can deliver more power. Tuning the engine is performed by professionals or extremely-savvy enthusiasts. The most common method to adjust the engine is to expand its displacement by boring out the cylinders to open up space for bigger pistons. Other ways to tune an engine is to install a turbocharger (on diesels), retrofit superchargers (on petrols) and configure the ECU.
Regular care and maintenance can also go a long way in ensuring performance is optimum for as long as possible. Throttle control modules are the least intrusive tuning method that’s been gaining traction lately, and for all the right reasons. It’s a simple and straightforward way to improve acceleration and performance when towing heavy loads.
When someone talks about tuning the interior, most people will immediately think of tuning its appearance. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Tuning the interior can be done for various other reasons, such as improving the car’s comfort and functionality. Sports seats are a popular interior tuning part, as they not only look better, but they provide the other benefits I just talked about as well. Having stronger lateral support and feeling like you’re in unison with your car can go a long way.
Other popular upgrades include car floor mats that come in a wide range of shapes and can be made from varying materials. Rubber car floor mats are a popular addition, as they’re easy to maintain, longer-lasting, more durable, and simply look better. For those venturing off the road, these accessories can come in handy in trying to keep your carpet clean and prevent rust if you’re traversing narrow creeks. There are many other similar 4×4 accessories off road enthusiasts should consider if they want to ensure a smooth journey through the harsh Australian outback.
Tuning your lights is another popular option. With the introduction of LEDs, the possibilities for tuning your lights have become endless. You can get amazing results by combining a variety of light tones, LED shapes and brightness levels. The turn signals can be replaced, although you should look up and see what you’re allowed to do in your state. Besides improving appearance, LED lights make your vehicle more visible on the road, improving safety.
Tuning the suspension is arguably the most complicated type of tuning next to engine tuning. You can change so much in your stock suspension that you can make your car feel completely different than it did before. You can lower it to make it appear more sporty, or you can heighten it to make it off-road ready. Lifting your vehicle is especially popular, and you can find a wide range of 4×4 accessories off road stores sell to make that happen. Typically, a lifted vehicle will have higher ground clearance, provide you with a better view of what’s ahead, and improve your departure angle. On the flip side, lowering your suspension will improve handling and make your vehicle look more aggressive.
There are different types of suspension systems. Most stock suspension systems feature mechanical springs and shocks, whereas aftermarket suspension systems can be hydraulic or air suspension systems.
Tuning your vehicle’s body can include anything from painting your wheels to fitting a spoiler. If you’ve decided to completely reshape the look of your vehicle, then this is what you want to do. Moreover, the possibilities are endless. Most professional tuners suggest replacing the radiator grille, exhaust tip or skirts, as they make the biggest change in your vehicle’s appearance. One of the most classic types of body tuning is adding a spoiler. You can add one at the front, or at the rear for the most visual impact. However, keep in mind that spoilers, contrary to what many people think, can hinder rather than improve performance. This is especially true if the spoiler provides too much air resistance when you’re driving at high speeds.
Important Things to Keep in Mind
No matter whether your goal is to improve performance, appearance, comfort, or all three, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you need to make sure that the new parts you’re installing are going to keep your vehicle road-legal. The easiest way to ensure this is by buying parts from reputable aftermarket parts stores and having them installed by professional tuners. These people have decades of experience in the industry and know the ins and outs, including the regulations surrounding them. In Australia, all parts should be ADR certified. This is important to make sure you don’t get fined. Even minor offences in illegal tuning can cost you a lot of money.
And while you can do a lot of tuning work yourself, such as tint windscreens, a bit of paintwork or wrapping with wraps and foils, tuning the engine, suspension and bodyshell require specialist equipment and knowledge. Even if you have the know-how, without the equipment, your efforts will fall short, making your vehicle unsafe to drive and yourself susceptible to fines. Most tuning workshops get their expertise straight from the carmakers or aftermarket parts manufacturers, making them best-suited for the job.
Aftab Hussain is a versatile journalist who covers a wide range of news topics with depth and precision. His commitment to delivering unbiased reporting ensures that readers stay well-informed about the most significant events and stories shaping India and the world.