We've been there, you're young, you're certainly dumb as you look to pursue a hobby of swearing and pain, all to drive your favourite car around for a bit before it breaks again. But at that first hurdle, what do you do first? Such a big canvas with so many options? Well here I'll break down my personal top 5.
1.Tailored cold air intake
Yup you could have guessed I would be that cliche. But a good air intake system means two things:
- maintaining your car got easier without having to switch out a paper panel filter as well
- Yeah it means you can actually hear your car
I must stress how much better getting a proper cold air intake kit from for example K&N (Unfortunately not sponsored) which actually is tailored to your car, these are the ones which are worth it, not a random universal fit from ebay. A crap intake will simply leave you with hotter air flooding in to the engine and just not really do anything as it acts as a huge heat soak to your engine.
I would go down a route of explaining how the benefits of colder air can generate more power, but the brutal truth is, that it won't really add any power despite what manufacturers say. Even though it would in theory gain power you need a remap to really gain that extra, what 5bhp at best? But those extra bits of noise, the handy cleaning compared to changing as well as, to be fair, that first little bit of engine bay bling all make a good cold air intake worth it!
2. Clean your engine bay!
Seriously this makes such a difference, admittedly mainly to you . It is super satisfying to see how an old not looked after engine bay can honestly be transformed by just a slight little bit of elbow grease! Metal becomes a mirror finish, grime and grease no longer reign, when you open the bonnet (or hood) you can gleam with pride, even if you are broken down at the side of the road.
Ok its a small argument coming up. There is also performance benefits too to this as grime builds up around areas of the car it can begin to cause rubbing on moving parts or act as insulation for parts like your intake, cleaning regularly can reduce this build up meaning your engine can run at a good 0.00000000000000001 degree cooler than it would other wise! Oh and also weight reduction every 0.0000000000000000004g helps!
Yup of course you expected this and the cold air intake on this list! A nice fat exhaust to make your car louder, because louder means faster and better right? Sure again you can genuinely can power through a proper remap which I would recommend. The options available are endless for exhausts, I'm not one to cheap out so i would always recommend a titanium upgrade, seriously when you hold a titanium exhaust then a steel one, it is unbelievable. Just try and be careful of the police's sudden interest in your car when you're out at night, don't be an ass! Also try and make sure you have a car with a proper engine before making it louder, just a tip.
4. Fresh tyres and rims
I'm guessing you're buying second hand, so make sure that you get new tyres if its not properly been looked after! A nice set of tyres on all 4 corners will make a real difference to how the car handles and feels. Plus if you do it when you get the car, I mean you don't have to get them done for a while so think of it that way!
Whilst you're on the corners of the car most cars benefit from a little bit of a wheel refurb. Whether this is literally refurbing your existing alloys (Or changing their colour with a refurb). If you have those horrible iron heavy rims, of course, alloys will make the car lighter and waaaay more stylish! Just be careful that you get the right quality of rim, I've seen rims basically buckling because they can't take heavy stress'.
5. Weight loss
Ok this one you can go as hard as you want! It's a sure fire way to increase performance as well as fuel economy. Plus when you strip out that interior, you don't realise you're suddenly running a racecar! Simple ways to do this I find is in the interior, removing unnecessary bits from the interior, the carpets etc the dash, ok they're the more hardcore ones, but simple little things like removing the spare tyre or changing your seats can make a real difference! After I stripped out my alfa, I can tell you it went from a 0-60 time in what felt like 7s to what felt like 5s. Ok it probably wasn't you know that quick, but it goddam felt it!
So there you have it a few suggestions from Olly's school of trashing your car's value as quick as possible!