By Bassem Girgis

If you’re a gearhead, a day at the track with your machine can be an adrenaline-fueled thrill.

But before you take your consumer-tier car to the track, you should know about modifications you can make to give your car a racing edge, not to mention provide more safety. (Your consumer-grade car probably wasn’t designed to go that fast around corners.) If you see a track day in your future, or if you simply want your car to go faster, the modifications below can greatly enhance its performance.

1. Cold Air Intake

Replacing your stock air intake with a cold air intake kit is the simplest, most affordable way to increase your car’s performance. These kits are designed to pull the cold air from outside of your engine compartment and push it into your warm engine, thus increasing the engine’s efficiency and power.

Cold air intake

Photo courtesy of mazdarotaryclub.com

Cold air intake kits can easily be installed by an amateur DIYer. As long as you make sure you purchase the right kit for your car before you begin, you just need to follow the kit’s instructions to install it. Once the cold air intake is installed, you can expect a performance increase of about 8-20 additional horsepower, not to mention a stronger roar from your engine.

A cold air intake also allows your engine to run much more efficiently, which results in a better fuel consumption.

2. Cat-Back Exhaust System

A car exhaust system’s job is to remove harmful gases from your engine. But sometimes stock exhausts are restrictive, especially as you push your engine to its limits, which can cause backpressure. Backpressure is when the gases can’t escape fast enough, forcing them back toward the engine, decreasing the engine’s efficiency and performance.

Cat-back exhaust systems come in different shapes and sizes, and they’re designed to eliminate restrictions and make for better exhaust flow, thus increasing horsepower, as well as improving fuel consumption.

Catback exhaust

Photo by shutterstock

3. Suspension System

Putting the pedal to the metal without first ensuring your car can handle more speed is a recipe for disaster. You can’t just floor it and try go as fast as possible if your car doesn’t have extreme handling capabilities.

Your vehicle’s manufacturer designed your car to be comfortable. But to create this comfort, some sacrifices were made in its handling abilities.

The first step in achieving better handling is to lower your car. The lower your center of gravity, the better your car will handle at higher speeds.

Also, replacing your comfortable stock shocks with performance shocks can tremendously improve your vehicle’s handling. Performance shocks will sacrifice some of your car’s comfortability, but if you’re serious about track day, this modification is a must.

Suspension system

Photo by dreamstime

4. Performance Tires

All-season tires are just a marketing strategy to sell regular on-road tires to the average daily driver, but they don’t provide half the traction you need when racing on a track. Performance tires can make a huge difference in how your car handles at high speed.

Tires

Photo by dreamstime

Some people like to buy performance tires along with a new set of wheels to allow them to remove their racetrack wheels when they go back into daily driving mode. Extra wheels you only use on track day will extend the life of your performance tires, and can save money in the long run.

5. Turbocharger

If you’ve added all these performance enhancers but still feel the need for more power, then you should consider installing a turbocharger.

Turbocharger

Photo by dreamstime

A turbocharger (often shortened to just “turbo”) increases an engine’s efficiency and power output by forcing extra air and fuel into an engine’s combustion chamber. When your engine can accept more fuel and air, the resulting boost it receives can really take your car to the next level.

Turbocharged motor

Photo by shutterstock

Armed with these five tips at the track, your car will now be “up to speed,” and beyond.