From Suspension to Exhaust: A Guide to Performance Parts and Upgrades by Category

Performance modifications to vehicles are increasingly commonplace, especially when it comes to specialty machines like sports cars and devoted track cars. But knowing where to start in terms of which parts or upgrades to buy can be overwhelming, even for experienced performance enthusiasts. This guide is meant to provide a comprehensive overview of all the parts and upgrades that are worth considering for performance vehicles, organized by category for easy reference.

Engine Upgrades

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Engine upgrades consist of modifications and performance parts that increase your power output and torque. There are a variety of hardware Honda performance parts available for the purpose of making your engine more efficient, such as increasing compression ratio, changing camshafts, and installing valves. These alterations to the internals of the engine help it produce more power and torque.

Assortment of upgrades in this category include:

  • Compression Ratios
  • Camshafts
  • Valves
  • Turbo/Superchargers
  • Intake Manifolds
  • Cylinder Heads
  • Engine Blocks
  • Crankshafts

Suspension Upgrades

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Suspension upgrades are essential for modifying your vehicle for improved performance and handling. Upgrades include components such as dampers, struts, springs, anti-roll bars, bushing kits, and air suspension systems.

Bushing kits are very popular for most makes and models of cars, trucks, and SUVs as they help to improve the overall performance of the suspension under varying conditions. Bushings also provide better stability and vibration damping when driving over rough surfaces by limiting movement between the suspension components.

Dampers (shock absorbers) can be upgraded to increase their stiffness or rebound rate which helps to keep the wheels in contact with the ground while driving over uneven surfaces. In addition to absorbing shock due to the movement of a sprung mass, dampers also act as a spring rate modifier by controlling the motion force applied when a spring is compressed beyond its natural pitch. Different types of damper arrangements such as mono-tube gas-pressure vs twin-tube hydraulic dampers can affect how your car performs on bumpy roads or during quick cornering on circuits and track days.

When searching for suspension upgrades, it’s important you pay attention to product details such as spring height (ride height), material type (steel vs aluminum), spring rate (measured in kg/mm) and guidance from manufacturers specific to your vehicle make/model/year so that you get parts that match your intended use whether that is an increase in daily comfort or improved lap times at race tracks.

Exhaust System

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Modern cars come equipped with factory-installed mufflers and tailpipes designed to reduce sound levels and meet emissions requirements. While they provide adequate performance, aftermarket exhaust systems can provide significant power gains and a distinctively sporty sound. With a wide variety of exhaust components available, you can tailor your system to provide an optimal balance of power, torque, noise reduction, and reliability.

Performance exhausts include many different components that vary greatly in design by vehicle year, make, and model. Generally speaking, there are products for these categories: headers, catalytic converters, mufflers/resonators, mid-pipes/Y-pipes, and tailpipes.

Headers replace the factory exhaust manifold for improved flow by allowing cylinders to expel their gases independently rather than through a single pipe connected with gaskets or even “tubes” in the case of 4-cylinder engines.

Catalytic converters help to reduce the number of harmful pollutants released into the atmosphere and also retain backpressure, which is essential for torque production. However, cat converters can be restrictive when aiming for maximum horsepower gains. In some cases, vehicles are able to pass smog inspections without them. To counteract this restriction and ensure improved air quality, many people opt for aftermarket cat converters that burn cleaner with less limitation on performance. Additionally, turbocharger upgrades often come with high-flow catalytic converters as well.

Mufflers/resonators can be used along with other components to reduce noise while improving engine output due to the decrease in overall backpressure on the system; this improved airflow should yield more horsepower at the wheels per pound of boost (if applicable). Mid-pipes are typically mandrel-bent pipes that connect headers or resonators directly back before entering one or two mufflers (most modern designs employ dual muffler systems). Tailpipes then attach from the muffler straight out past the rear bumper or near the center area (depending on pipe length).

Brake System

Absolute control over a vehicle is essential to ensure maximum performance and safety. Upgrading a vehicle’s brake system is an important step towards that goal. There are several different options available for the discerning automotive enthusiast to choose from, including the following brake system upgrades:

Brakes: Brake pads, rotors, and calipers can all be upgraded for improved braking performance. Upgrading to larger brakes or multi-piston calipers can provide added stopping power with improved heat dissipation, allowing for better fade resistance under heavy braking. Additionally, purchasing high-performance brake pads or rotors designed for racing can provide additional grip when it matters most.

Brake Lines: Stainless steel lines provide more rigid construction than factory rubber lines, allowing for increased pedal feel and modulation of brake pressure. Steel lines can also handle higher line pressures, allowing for quicker and more consistent braking in demanding situations like track days and off-roading adventures where brakes might need to be held at elevated pressures for long durations.

Brake Fluid: High-performance brake fluid allows for lower operating temperatures while providing optimal stability as pressure builds in the lines during hard stops. Typically, this means better grip when pedal feel starts fading due to overheating pad compounds or boiling the application’s stock fluid choice – important when aggressive driving conditions demand an assured response from the footwell to wheels equipped with upgraded performance brakes and steel lines.

Transmission

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Popular upgrades for transmissions include performance clutches, shift knobs, and shifters. These parts allow for a faster and smoother transition from one gear to another when driving or shifting. Improved clutch systems result in increased torque loading capabilities, allowing for faster acceleration times and improved overall engine performance.

For manual transmissions, there are alloy flywheel replacements available that reduce the rotational mass of the drum system in order to increase speed range. This is particularly beneficial for drag racing applications where speeds shift quickly from one gear to another more frequently than during normal driving conditions. Additionally, gear sets with reduced rotational mass enable faster shifting times at higher engine speeds while still maintaining consistency in every gear ratio transition.

For automatic transmissions, there is an array of performance parts available as well; many offer features such as improved cooling technology over stock components and heavy-duty friction bands which provide increased durability compared to standard models. Additionally, performance torque converters help increase overall power output being trying from the engine by multiplying its force by around 1:2 ratios before transferring it through the transmission lines.

Wheels and Tires

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One of the best ways to upgrade a vehicle’s performance is by installing high-grade wheels and tires. Reducing a vehicle’s overall wheel weight not only helps to reduce unsprung mass and improve acceleration but ultimately also increases handling performance. Additionally, when higher quality, more performance-oriented tires are mounted on the wheels, grippier tire compounds are possible, which help to maximize grip for higher levels of cornering performance.

In most instances, standard street vehicles are usually fitted with either economy design or all-season radial tires giving them a good balance between everyday usability and some level of cornering grip. Due to the increased cost of high-performance tires, many vehicle owners opt for lower-profile economy designs that are still roadworthy and offer basic levels of traction.

When looking at tire upgrades there is the choice between all-season and summer-rated tires with the latter being much stickier and typically spotted during motorsport applications or modified vehicles destined for track use.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, we hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the different types of performance parts and upgrades available for your vehicle. From suspension to exhaust, there are many ways to improve your car’s performance and make it look great. With so many options available, you should be able to find something that fits your budget as well as meets your needs. So when you’re ready to take things up a notch with some performance parts and upgrades, remember these categories!

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