Since the early days of the automobile, owners have looked to increase the power output of their stock engines. Whether you have an off-road vehicle, street racer, muscle car, truck or SUV, there are most likely aftermarket speed accessories that can raise the power of your engine with little effort or cost.
Intake Manifold Spacer
Intake manifold spacers are an inexpensive way to add a slight gain in horsepower. Depending on the make and model of vehicle, some intake manifold spacers can be purchased for under $100. When these spacers are installed between the intake manifold and the mounting surface on the engine, extra volume is created, which dissipates heat. Since the spacers do not convey heat quickly, the air entering the engine’s intake system is cooler, allowing the engine to breathe better.
Cold Air Intake
Cold air intake systems are a little more expensive at just under $400 for some models as of 2010. The stock air cleaner housing is eliminated, and in its place is a less restrictive intake hose and a washable and reusable air filter element. Some manufacturers of these systems guarantee a horsepower gain for your engine.
Most engines have belt-driven accessories, such as alternators, power steering pumps, air conditioning compressors and water pumps, that use horsepower to spin. By replacing the stock factory pulleys with a set of underdrive pulleys, the force needed to spin the accessory is reduced, which releases more horsepower for use at the wheels. Depending on the vehicle, underdrive pulleys can cost as little as $100 and dress up the engine compartment to boot.
A vehicle’s stock muffler may make the engine quiet, but a less-restrictive performance muffler can add horsepower and a sporty sound that is only slightly louder than the stock units. Some companies offer performance mufflers with different sound levels if an even louder note is desired. A good quality pair of performance mufflers may set you back just under $500, but this is still a rather inexpensive way to add a noticeable gain in power.
Perhaps the easiest way to increase power is by adding a performance computer chip. Computer chips can cost as little as $100 for some vehicles and add power by changing the tuning of your engine to maximize efficiency. Some power chip companies will program a power chip with your vehicle’s specific needs in mind although these chips may cost a little more than the already-programmed units.