This article has multiple issues. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Most vehicles leave the factory set up for an average driver’s expectations and conditions. Tuning, on the other hand, has become a way to personalize the characteristics of a vehicle to the import tuner magazine pdf’s preference.
Cars may be altered to provide better fuel economy, produce more power, or to provide better handling and driving. Tuned cars are built for the pleasure of owning and driving. Cars have always been subject to after market modification. The golden age of car tuning was the decades between World War II and the beginning of air pollution restrictions.
Western Europe and North America. Because of their light weight and the increasing availability of low-prise tuning equipment, economy and compact cars exhibit high performance at a low cost in comparison to dedicated sports cars. As professional sporting and racing with such vehicles increased, so did recreational use of these vehicles. Drivers with little or no automotive, mechanical, or racing experience would modify their vehicles to emulate the more impressive versions of racing vehicles, with mixed results.
The essence of modification of a tuner car is an attempt to extract the greatest possible performance—or the appearance of high performance—from the base motor vehicle through the addition, alteration or outright replacement of parts. Although this largely involves modifying the engine and management systems of the vehicle to increase the power output, additional changes are often required to allow the vehicle to handle this power, including stiffened suspension, widened tires, better brakes, improved steering and transmission modifications such as the installation of a short shifter. Although largely invisible from outside the vehicle, certain modifications such as low profile tires, altered suspension, and the addition of spoilers can change the overall appearance of the car, as well as adding downforce to increase traction. A stock audio system is one specified by the manufacturer when the vehicle was built in the factory. A custom audio installation can involve anything from the upgrade of the radio to a full-blown customization based around the audio equipment. Events are held where entrants compete for the loudest, highest quality reception or most innovative sound systems. Some common modifications include higher quality speakers and sub woofers, amps, a better wiring system, etc.
All cars competing in each class must adhere to a strict set of regulations. As in some well-known racing events, like NASCAR and NHRA, sanctioned events often require a minimum vehicle weight. Along with weight requirements, safety requirements are present . Requirements differ for different classes. Roll cages, fire extinguishers, reinforced bucket seats, seat harnesses, and the like are some of the required safety modifications. Roll cages may be difficult to install when the original equipment interior is present.
Some tuners will have “gutted” interiors, or omit features that many ordinary drivers would find desirable or necessary, such as audio systems, air conditioning and soundproofing in order to reduce vehicle weight. Engine tuning is the process of modifying the operating characteristics of an engine. Mechanical components can also be replaced, such as turbochargers or superchargers. Other standalone engine management systems are available.
These systems replace the factory computer with one that is user programmable. Improper, incorrect and poorly executed engine modifications can have a detrimental effect on performance. Mechanical and electrical components will suffer or simply fail as a result. This can all lead to very expensive repairs, as well as being very dangerous. Shorter springs offer greater stiffness and a lower center of gravity at the possible cost of unwanted changes of suspension geometry. The danger with overly stiff swaybars is the lifing of the inner wheel, which changes traction of that end at a discontinuous rate. On some cars certain braces, anti-roll bars, etc.
Larger tires, with or without larger wheels, increase ground clearance, ride over short obstacles and holes more smoothly, provide more cushioning and decrease ground loading which is important on soft surfaces. Lowriders use another type of suspension tuning in which the height of each individual wheel can be rapidly adjusted by a system of rams which, in some cases, makes it possible to “bounce” the wheels completely clear of the ground. Through the generation of downforce, cornering speeds and tire adhesion can be improved, often at the expense of increased drag. To lighten the vehicle, bodywork components such as hoods and rear view mirrors may be replaced with lighter weight components. Often, body modifications are done mainly to improve a vehicle’s appearance, as in the case of non-functioning scoops, wide arches or other aesthetic modification. Aftermarket spoilers or body kits rarely improve a car’s performance.
Increasing the wheel track width through spacers and wide body kits enhance the cars cornering ability. Lowering the center of gravity via suspension modifications is another aim of body tuning. It is also common to lower the car too far, beyond the optimal height for performance, purely for appearance. Competition cars may have light weight windows, or the windows may be completely removed, as auto glass adds significant weight high up. Plastic windows are much more vulnerable to scratches which reduces service life. Choices include tires for various weather and road conditions, different sizes and various compromises between cost, grip, service life, rolling resistance, handling and ride comfort. Detuning is returning a modified car to its original factory status or reducing its performance in a particular area of tuning.