3 easy ways to increase engine performance
1. Synthetic lubricants
Because synthetic lubricants, such as Mobil 1™ synthetic motor oils, reduce friction, they help engines live longer. Synthetic lubricants create better lubrication between moving parts than conventional oils do. They don’t break down in high-heat, high-stress situations, which is why you see them used a lot in performance applications. They also offer excellent cold weather performance and extreme temperature protection. For example, Mobil 1 synthetic oil is engineered to be more robust in terms of low-temperature pumpability, high-temperature stability and protection against deposits.
Because ignition systems have become low maintenance in the past 20 years, we don’t check them until we get a misfire and a “Check Engine” light. The fact remains, car maintenance still should include ignition systems. And spark plugs still need to be changed periodically. When it’s time to replace ignition components, opt for the best high-performance ignition parts you can find, meaning coils, ignition wires and platinum tip spark plugs.
Original equipment grade is your best approach or high-end aftermarket parts like MSD. The reason: precision ignition operation means power. A misfire or lackluster light off means lost power, wasted fuel and increased tailpipe emissions. A potent spark from a high-energy ignition system does make a difference in power no matter how small. The lesson here is it all adds up to significant total gains in horsepower.
Ignition timing is also a power dynamic you should play with carefully because too much of it can damage your engine. With conventional distributor ignition systems, set total timing at 2500 rpm beginning your efforts at 32 degrees BTDC (Before Top-Dead Center) with a road test or dyno pull. Then, move timing one degree at a time – 33, 34, 35 and so on along with road/dyno testing. Never take total timing beyond 36 degrees BTDC.
Some tuners go to 38, 40, and even 42 degrees BTDC, which is foolish. Anything beyond 36 degrees BTDC total represents risks due to detonation. If you have a sudden lean condition coupled with early timing, you can have engine failure in a nanosecond at wide-open throttle. Ignition timing with electronic engine control calls for a professional who knows how to dial in both ignition and fuel maps to where you get power without doing engine damage.
3. Larger throttle body and injectors
A larger high-performance throttle body will deliver more horsepower. Depending on what type of engine you have, you can gain as much as 10-20 more horsepower and comparable torque. There is a catch, however. Go too large and you can lose power. Not every engine is well suited to a larger throttle body, which means you have to do your homework ahead of time. Cruise the internet and learn what others with the same engine are doing and take your lead from them. Also remember that a larger throttle requires higher-flow fuel injectors. Throttle body and injector size are proportional. You should also take your car to a reputable dyno tuner to make adjustments to fuel and spark curves, which fine-tunes your throttle body/injector upgrade.