6 Truck Mods to Increase Performance

May 17th, 2018 by

Driver's Auto Mart truck modifications - exhaust


If you own a truck, you’re already accustomed to power. But a little more horsepower never hurt anyone, right? And if you’re like us … the sound of an amazing engine and the feel of a powerful ride can make or break any situation. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of some effective ways to boost your pickup truck’s horsepower and improve your efficiency. From simple, routine maintenance, to major upgrades, there are multiple ways you can pack some power on your pickup.

Aftermarket Exhaust

Aftermarket exhaust systems can be a great, quick, and easy way to add additional horsepower to your truck. Stock mufflers are typically designed to be quiet more than they are built to be efficient. So, like an air intake, if you replace your factory muffler with a quality aftermarket system, such as a tuned cat-back exhaust, you will not only hear the difference, but you will certainly feel as much as a 20 horsepower increase, depending on the size of your truck’s engine. And if you were to replace the stock exhaust manifold with a set of aftermarket headers, you’ll increase your horsepower even more!

Install a Cold-Air Intake

While replacing the cold-air intake might not give you a lot more power, it will absolutely increase your trucks efficiency. A cold-air intake takes the warm air from outside of the engine compartment, cools it, and sucks it back into the engine for combustion. Cooler air is more dense, which means there is a higher amount of oxygen per given volume of air. More oxygen means more fuel can be burned, which in turn means a little more power and a lot more efficiency.  

Something else that a cold-air intake helps with is to remove the sound baffling inside the factory intake. The sound baffling is meant to reduce the noise of your engine at wide open throttle and can be quite restrictive. Removing this and replacing your factory air box can be a nice modification, especially if you don’t mind engine noise.

So if you’re looking to add a little more torque, about five to ten more horsepower, improved throttle responsiveness, and a slight improvement in fuel economy, a quality cold-air intake might be the route you want to take.

Engine Tuners

Engine tuners such as chips, modules, or programmers can certainly help to improve the performance of your truck. Performance products are specifically designed to increase engine output, and while some manufacturers claim that their tuners can add up to five miles per gallon, the efficiency relies greatly on how you drive and where you drive. In many cases, drivers who add horsepower to their vehicles tend to put the pedal to the metal, which can lead to engine wear and unnecessary stress on transmission and drivetrain.

Tuners may be ideal for giving you that extra boost off the line, although they may shorten the lifespan of your truck if not driven correctly. However, if towing is your forte, or traveling long distances or climbing hilly terrain, an engine tuner may be exactly what you need. The amazing thing about tuners is their ability to allow you customization of your truck, whether it be racing, off-roading, or towing. Often by simply toggling a switch or tapping a screen, tuners can allow you to adjust horsepower, ft-lbs of torque, and miles per gallon. Each tuner will do different things. But they will all allow for slightly better performance, slightly better efficiency, and a little better fuel economy.

Superchargers and Turbochargers

Both superchargers and turbochargers will certainly help increase power, however understanding the differences between the two may help to make a better decision when thinking about adding one. Regardless of which one you choose, they will both deal with power.

Superchargers and turbochargers are known as forced induction systems, meaning that they compress the air that is flowing into the engine, providing a considerable amount of boost. The main differences between the two, however, lies in where they draw their power from. A turbocharger will use the exhaust steam for its energy, and the exhaust runs through a turbine that will spin the compressor. The turbocharger will allow the turbine to spin with a much faster rotation, allowing the boost to be produced.

Unlike a turbocharger, superchargers use the crankshaft for their power, connected to a belt attached directly to the engine. By compressing air and forcing more air into the engine, a supercharger will allow more fuel to be added to the combustion charge, allowing for a drastic increase in power.

While they both are sure to add power to your truck, there are some advantages that each has over the other. Superchargers have no “lag”, meaning that there is no delay between throttle application and the boosted intake pressure. Also, superchargers tend to be a little more reliable than turbos, possibly due to the fact they are directly connected to the engine through a belt. It should be noted though, that turbochargers typically come with smog altering equipment that will lower the carbon emission on your truck, whereas a supercharger does not have a wastegate and will emit smog. On the other hand, turbos are fuel efficient, as they utilize waste heat from the exhaust in order to boost the air intake pressure. They are also more durable, relatively affordable, and they tend to make bigger engines more responsive

Give Your Truck a Tune-Up

Regular maintenance is one of the most important things when it comes to taking care of your car. And while maintenance won’t necessarily increase your horsepower, it may act as a way to return horsepower to your truck. It’s actually quite simple: if your truck’s systems aren’t working properly, your truck will suffer. If your air filters and fuel filters are dirty, they can starve your vehicle from what it needs to run properly. Transmission drain and fills and regular oil changes can be crucial in maintaining your truck’s efficiency. The more frequent your oil changes, and the more regular your maintenance, the better your engine will run and the longer it will last.

Owning a car can be just as much fun as it is a responsibility. While basic maintenance and care go hand in hand with ownership, so does freedom and fun. The ability to add performance upgrades and tinker with mods allows a certain intimacy between cars and their owners that may otherwise not be there. After all, you often get out whatever you put in. And if you’ve been thinking of a project for yourself come visit us and check out our amazing pre-owned inventory. We’re sure to have just the truck to get you started on the road to horsepower heaven!


Posted in Tips