What Are Some Easy Ways to Increase My Car’s Horsepower?
You’ve heard the word horsepower before and you know it’s good to have a lot of it in an engine. There are many ways to increase your car’s horsepower that range from the simple to more in-depth. Before we jump into that though let’s first define what horsepower is.
What Is Horsepower?
Roughly, it means the amount of power an engine produces. Mathematically, a single horsepower can move 550 pounds one foot in a single second. If something weighs 33,000 pounds, it can move one foot in a single minute with one horsepower. To get a little more in depth, the term horsepower comes from a mill owner named James Watt. He calculated that a team of horses pulling the mill shafts equated to approximately 33,000 pounds of movement in one minute.
Keep in mind that horsepower is different from torque. Torque is measured by revolutions per minute (RPM) and shows engine speeds. When torque is multiplied by RPM and divided by 5,252 you get the amount of horsepower an engine has. Torque is typically easier to measure than horsepower.
How Does a Car's Engine Work?
Simply put, your car's engine works through a series of combustion chambers, or small explosions, with a large air pump shooting air throughout. Essentially, if you want to increase your power, you have to move more air through your engine.
Cold air is more dense, and more density means more air per volume. Cold air intakes work by cooling air that comes into your engine. Special filters are up to three times the size of factory parts. These filters reduce resistance and turbulence as well, making the airflow smooth and steady. That’s why installing a free flowing exhaust can expel carbon monoxide faster. These larger diameter pipings quickly remove the monoxide and allow your engine to suck up more precious oxygen to push through the engine.
Air filters for your engine should be swapped out every 10,000 miles anyways to keep your engine running smoothly. High performance filters let your engine intake more clean air for longer and is often one of the cheapest and easiest ways to increase horsepower.
What About Tuning Up My Car?
A tune up should be done every once in a while anyway. If those air filters aren’t sucking, those spark plugs not sparking, and the oil is all sludgy your engine just isn’t performing at optimum efficiency.
Instead of tuning up your car, lightening its load would also do the job. If your care is inundated with extra weight, whether in your backseat or trunk, removing those can improve your car’s overall power. Think of it like having to walk around with a weight on your bag and then taking it off; you’ll no doubt move faster!
What Can I Buy to Improve My Car's Horsepower?
Want to really push your car’s power to the next level? There are specific parts and pieces you can get that really hit hard. These include things like turbochargers, nitrous, water injection kits, and reprogramming of your vehicle’s computer.
Turbochargers recycle power that is going out of your exhaust to power themselves. What they do is create a lag to increase the amount of energy your engine is getting. This creates a power increase that is nothing to sneeze at either, with a 25% increase in horsepower common.
An NOS kit is like a can that creates air, creating a large boost of power when activated. When coupled with other things, this can greatly increase your horsepower. Keep in mind that these kits have a steep price and are illegal in many parts of the country.
Water injection kits don't just just increase your engine’s horsepower; they also increase your vehicle’s gas mileage and reduce the amount of carbon it exhausts. Simply put, this kit reduces the amount of carbon deposits inside the combustion chamber, making it more efficient.
You won't need a hacker to reprogram your car's computer. The computer controls a myriad of features in your engine like fuel-to-air ratio, ignition, and emissions. Performance chips that are installed can reprogram this computer to more efficiently allocate these parameters to increase horsepower.
If you’re looking to increase your engine’s horsepower, the easiest way to do it is to get tune-ups periodically while reducing the amount of weight in your car. If you have a little extra cash, you can replace or add-on many different parts that are superior to the manufacturer’s models.