Does Tuning A Car Make It Faster? Time to Take Action

Yes, tuning can make a car faster. However, you have to get a specific tune-up to make your car faster. ECU tuning, and getting a performance chipset or turbocharger will make your car faster. However, A body shell tuning won’t give you a speed boost as much as an ECU tuning. 

Watching people tuning up their stock engines, you may wonder if it makes a difference in terms of speed. 

So, you might be asking, does tuning a car make it faster?

Keep reading to know what type of tuning will do wonders for your car’s speed. We will discuss every tuning capable of making your car faster in detail. 

How Does Tuning A Car Make It Faster?

There are different types of tuning you can do to a car to make it faster. Software remapping or flash tuning will enhance performance by removing the limit set by the manufacturer. 

Car manufacturers set the parameters or limits of ECU that can be changed to improve the performance and driving limits of a vehicle. ECU reflash or remapping is basically upgrading your car’s existing software to get the best performance.

Hardware upgrades like cold air intake, turbo, and exhaust system upgrades will boost the engine. 

This is due to the fact that all these upgrades will force more airflow into the engine cylinder, and colder intake air makes the engine produce more power. This power will translate into a faster car on the road. 

However, performing a particular type of tuning only will make a car faster. To get a speed boost you must do specific tune-ups such as engine tuning, exhaust system upgrades, suspension upgrades, transmission tuning, and ECU tuning. 

A tuning will clear the manufacturer’s limit on performance characteristics such as engine power and torque. Installing new components will also result in enhanced performance for speed and acceleration. 

How Much Boost Can You Get from Tuning?

The amount of boost you can get from tuning depends on many factors such as; the type of the stock engine, what you are tuning, and the level of expertise, etc. Here we discussed how much boost a stock car can handle. 

What Are The Tunes That  Make A Car Faster? 

Now we will look into certain tune-ups proven to make a car faster. There are levels to this like beginner, intermediate, and expert. So, these are the modifications to make your car faster at different levels. 

Beginner-Level Tuning to Make a Car Faster

Mostly when talking about car tuning, people are talking about ECU tuning that does not require hardware changes. However, there are some other beginner-level tunings like weight reduction, performance chipset, etc. that you can do to make your car faster. 

Engine or ECU (Engine Control Unit) Tuning 

This type of tuning gives you high HP and top speed without any hardware changes. ECU tuning, also known as ECU remap, is done by hooking your computer to the ECU system of your car and tweaking some settings. 

To make your car faster, during ECU tuning, a tuner will remove the rev limit and speed limit and simultaneously update the engine torque map. This could give an extra 20 HP gain. 

Engine tuning clears limitations set by the manufacturer and sets the engine to perform according to your need. You can custom-make your engine according to your driving preference and requirements. 

Weight Reduction

You can get lighter and narrower wheels to make your car faster. While you are at it, adjust the tire pressure as well.  We recommend you get nitrogen tires because they are less affected than regular tires when exposed to air and water vapor. 

Performance Chipset 

Use a performance chipset to make your car faster. This chipset adjusts the engine’s software settings, such as fuel injection and ignition timing that results in better horsepower and torque. However, these devices are not always legal to use on public roads and may void the vehicle’s warranty. 

Intermediate Level Tuning to Make a Car Faster

These are the tune-ups you can do if you are ready for some hardware upgrades. It’s nothing too expensive or fancy like adding a supercharger but will add speed to your vehicle. 

Source: UTI 

High-Flow Air Filter And Cold Air Intake 

Getting a high-flow air filter will let your engine breathe more and consequently make your car faster. Similarly, getting a cold air intake will boost your car’s speed. 

NOS System 

Installing a nitrogen oxide system NOS system will bring more oxygen into your engine cylinder for combustion, hence increasing power. However, don’t forget to adjust the air-fuel ratio after you get a NOS.  

Electric Fan 

Replace your old fan with a new electric fan to bring air through the radiator and keep the engine cool. An overheated engine won’t give you the best performance in terms of speed. So, it is important you get a new electric fan. 

Throttle Body 

Get a wider throttle body to let more airflow into your engine. A larger throttle body with big flaps will let you accelerate more smoothly at high speed. More air into the engine means more power and consequently higher speed. 

Expert-Level Tuning to Make a Car Faster

These are the upgrades you can perform for a faster car if you are an expert-level tuner. Or you could hire a professional tuner if you are prepared to spend some money on it. 

Exhaust System Upgrades

Upgrading your exhaust system will give you a significant boost in terms of top speed and engine HP. If you already have a forced induction system, upgrading it will do wonders.

Installing a new exhaust header, getting a dual exhaust, and getting a free-flow exhaust system will boost your engine. 

Increase Engine Displacement 

This process is expensive but worth it if you want high speed. To do this, you can swap the engine head with a bigger engine model or get a new longer stroke crankshaft. Moreover, you can replace inlet valves, and head gaskets as well. 

Forced Induction

You can increase the airflow into your engine by introducing a forced induction system instead of relying on natural aspiration. To do this upgrade, you can install a turbocharger or supercharger. 

At the same time, replace your intercooler with a performance intercooler to increase the density of the air, which can lead to more efficient combustion and more power output from the engine. 

Fuel System Upgrade 

Get a performance fuel injector and fuel pump to upgrade your fuel system. This will significantly improve your car’s performance in terms of speed. Moreover, use high-flow injectors, pumps, and bigger gas lines to get the best performance. 

Things to Remember 

While making your car faster remember to get brake and suspension upgrades as well. Getting a brake upgrade is essential due to safety reasons since at high speed you require more stopping power and reduced braking distance. 

With only $30, you can upgrade your brake pads to improve the stopping power. This is especially beneficial when you are cruising at high speed.

You can get a suspension upgrade by installing a stiffer and lower suspension, a stiff anti-roll bar, and a sway bar. 

Also, you can change your suspension geometry by a mechanic and it doesn’t cost a lot. Getting your suspension geometry fixed will give you better handling and grip performance while on road. 

Moreover, you can go for a suspension top mount swap to get increased camber and castor. High camber and castor will give you better handling at top speed.  

Will A Tune-Up Damage Your Engine?

No, a tune-up won’t damage your engine if done properly. Get an experienced tuner to tune your car and check your stock engine parameters and how much boost it can handle. Usually, tuners will power up your engine in a way that doesn’t strain the hardware. 

Over time, a high-performing tuned engine will be more prone to damage than a stock engine. A bad tune-up also can hamper your engine’s performance and longevity. 

Is It Legal To Tune Up Your Car?

Usually, it is legal to do a tune-up on your car. However, few states like California have regulations regarding vehicle modification and emissions. So check your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) laws to ensure that your tune-up is in compliance with them.

Choose a reputable and qualified professional mechanic to perform a tune-up. Tell him what performance enhancement you want from your car and make sure he has experience tuning the exact model you own. 

Will Tuning Car Void Warranty And Insurance? 

It depends on the type of tuning you are doing. For example, if you had an ECU tuning, it would void your powertrain warranty. So, changing any factory-made non-consumable part will void the warranty. However, replacing the spark plugs, air filters, etc. would not void the warranty as they’re considered regular maintenance.

Some insurance companies allow specific modifications, so check your insurance and consult with the dealership. Most insurances will allow basic ECU tuning like reflash or remapping.  


Is A Car Tune Up Expensive?

A car tune-up can be expensive depending on the type of tuning you are performing. The cost can vary from $50 to $900 to get the proper tuning done. 

Is Tuning Car Safe?

Yes, tuning a car is safe if you get it done by an expert mechanic. Do not tune any safety-related component to avoid legal troubles. Always check the legality of car tuning in your state before getting any tuning done. 

How Long Does A Car Tune Last?

A car tune can last a long or short time depending on the type of tune-up. For example, a flash ECU tune is temporary whereas any tuning like installing a turbocharger is more permanent. Older cars need to tune up every 10,000-12,000 miles whereas new ones can go up to 100,00 miles.  

Bottom Line

We hope this piece was able to meticulously answer your question “Does tuning a car make it faster?”.  We recommend you do the ECU tuning to make your car fast since it does not require any hardware change and is very cost-effective.

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.