How can you increase your car's horsepower and torque? (8 Steps)

If there’s something you simply can’t have too much of, it’s horsepower and torque in your car. While you are focusing on the performance of a car when you're shopping for it, what about if you need more? We have some simple ways to increase your car engine’s horsepower and torque. 

Doing a performance chip tuning on your ECM to improve horsepower and torque is the easiest way to boost your car's power. For even more power you could also add a cold-air intake to your car or an exhaust system that is larger.

These suggestions may be affordable, but others will cost more. Implement one and see how it works or opt for several to fine-tune your vehicle’s performance. Here’s the full list of how to increase your car’s horsepower and torque:

Índice de Contenido
  1. How to add Horsepower and Torque To a Car
    1. 1. Installation of Cold Air Intake
    2. 2. Flash the Computer
    3. 3. High Performance Exhaust Systems
    4. 4. Supercharger
    5. 5. Turbocharger installation
    6. 6. You can also add a Nitrous Kit
    7. 7. Get a Performance Camshaft
    8. 8. Perform a Tune-Up

How to add Horsepower and Torque To a Car

1. Installation of Cold Air Intake

Cold Air Intake

The air that's cold is usually dense. The air that's colder has more volume. It’s the same condition you see when you take a balloon into the colder air. This concept can be used to your advantage when it comes to engine performance. 

Air that is dense will be more likely to enter your motor. More fuel and air molecules will mix together to produce more power. The more air the engine can breathe, the greater the power potential.

You can ensure huge amounts of cold-air are drawn into your engine by using a high performance cold air intake. Some cold air intakes are capable of pulling in more air than the factory intakes. 

Find out more: Top 10 Cold Air Intake Systems

2. Flash the Computer

With a simple device, it’s easy to reprogram your vehicle’s computer. Many models include preset configurations that allow for increased horsepower or torque. You can get a lot of horsepower depending on the tuner that you choose.

Some of these systems can be banned due to their impact on fuel efficiency or emissions. However, new laws prohibit them. To determine the right ECU tuner for you, it is important to research. 

This method can save you money, particularly if the car is turbo. You can expect to get 10-50 HP from one tune for a cost of between $100 and $800.

3. High Performance Exhaust Systems

Install Exhaust System

To achieve maximum efficiency, your exhaust system should be fully functional. The exhaust system includes everything starting with the engine back. It also contains the exhaust manifold and downpipe.

Depending on your budget, you can either upgrade the entire system or one of them. A free-flowing exhaust system allows you to have piping that is larger in diameter. The free-flowing exhaust system allows your vehicle to expel more gas faster and allow it to take in oxygen quicker. You will see a decrease in power the longer it takes. 

Related: Straight Pipe Exhaust – Advantages vs Disadvantages

4. Supercharger


Like the cold air intake, superchargers can increase power and torque by your car’s engine. The supercharger compresses fuel and air in order to increase power up to 50%, depending on the case. 

There are many benefits to superchargers over turbochargers. It is belt driven and works well with six-cylinder engines. Plus, you don’t need to install an intercooler, so there are fewer components to break. 

The supercharger can be installed in most cases much faster than the turbocharger. However, they aren’t cheap. You will need to pay for this kind of instant power that’s received when you push on the accelerator. 

5. Turbocharger installation


While the supercharger gets its power through the belt connected to the engine's motor, the turbo draws power from the gases in the exhaust. Because the turbocharger recycles energy, it’s considered to be an extremely efficient upgrade. 

However, turbochargers are also subject to what’s known as a lag or delay. You might also only get 25% of the power you need. Turbos increase horsepower.This figure is lower than that of a supercharger. 

RELATED: What is Turbo Lag & Turbo Spool?

6. You can also add a Nitrous Kit

Nitrous became popular with the Fast & Furious franchise, but it’s been around for far longer. The nitrous kit acts as a supercharger or turbo portable, and can be transferred between vehicles easily.

A can with more nitrogen is one that has more air. The more you pump air into your engine the better. 

Some states, however, have made it illegal for NOS kit users to use them. The cost of installing one can run from $900 up to $3,000 and they are expensive. You can also combine your turbocharger/supercharger with a nitrous kit to get maximum power. 

7. Get a Performance Camshaft

Timing and length of the valve openings are controlled by the camshaft. You can increase the acceleration and horsepower of your car's engine by changing the timing and this function.

You can make any changes that you desire with a high-performance cam. However, this isn’t a cheap upgrade and it is going to make your engine louder, which isn’t always a negative factor. 

8. Perform a Tune-Up

Regular tune-ups are the best way to increase horsepower and performance. If the car has old, defective parts, the engine isn’t going to be optimized. 

You should start with oil changes every other day. It allows friction to increase as the oil becomes more greasy and contaminated. This not only affects the engine's performance but also causes increased wear. While conventional oil needs to be changed at 3,000 miles, synthetic oils can last for up to 10,000 miles. Don’t forget to change the oil filter at the same time.

RELATED : How much does a tune-up cost?

We are now on the subject filter. You need to replace the air filter. If the engine can’t breathe, you can’t expect it to output the maximum horsepower.

You should also check your spark plugs if there are performance issues. You will get more power from new spark plugs. This is why it's worth upgrading to iridium instead of the copper factory plugs. 

While these maintenance tasks aren’t going to create more horsepower beyond factory specifications, they will ensure that your engine is producing everything it is capable of.

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