Sometimes you just hit that point when you want to make modifications but don’t want to get too involved. You’re searching for a project that requires minimal time but makes a big difference in style or performance. So, if you find yourself passing time by pacing back and forth in your garage with a restless mind, this is the piece for you. Because we’re going to explore some ideas for simple upgrades with big payoff.
Wheels and Tires
Wheels and tires are kind of a double whammy. First off, they impact performance and driving capabilities. Second, they can change the overall appearance of any vehicle. While this can be a costly upgrade, it certainly is quick to do and provides some instant-gratification sense of accomplishment.
Shock absorbers, like all other mechanical parts, will eventually need servicing or replacement. And this is a job that can be done at an enjoyable pace. As opposed to simply replacing shocks, why not upgrade? Shock absorbers have a huge impact on the vehicle’s driving capabilities, and taking a step up will provide noticeable differences. Even if the shocks on board are still in good shape, it’s always good to try something new.
Seldom do we find that the geometry of factory suspension components is perfect. Upgrading the factory suspension with tubular components improves geometry, rigidity, and even provides weight savings. The price tag can get up there, but the level of difficulty is not. Most tubular components bolt right in place of factory equipment. So, if you’re after some quick performance improvements, consider going tubular.
Every car and driver can benefit from a good tune. The old school way of doing this was dialing in the carb and distributor. Nowadays, it’s as easy as plugging into the OBDII port and uploading a program. If you have a modern vehicle, this is something you can do in well under an hour.
Increasing exhaust flow is a good way to boost performance and economy. Big headers usually require modifications to the factory exhaust system. Shorty headers, however, can be bolted right in place of the factory manifolds. If the vehicle is fresh, this job can be performed relatively quickly and will give the installer a sense of accomplishment when all is said and done.
Vision is everything. If you can’t see the road you can’t drive. (Well, shouldn’t.) Older and newer vehicles alike can benefit from improved nighttime vision. There are almost infinite options for upgrading, and most modifications can be done in a short amount of time.
Making an upgrade to the intake is always a good thing, but replacing an entire manifold can become very involved, very quickly. (That does, of course, depend on the application.) Older platforms make the task fairly straightforward, but newer ones can require a little more attention. However, that isn’t to say that some fast and simple upgrades still can’t be accomplished.
Making the swap to disc brakes or bigger brakes can be pretty costly. Luckily, modern brake conversions make the job extremely easy. Keep in mind that going too big can affect the wheel size requirements, turning some simple upgrades into a deeply involved project if you aren’t careful. But more stopping power is always better, so why not take the leap?
Every engine can benefit from an improved source of fuel and air. Moving up to a bigger carb or throttle body takes little under an hour in most cases. With some of the latest kits on the market, even making the swap from a carb to fuel injection takes a minimal amount of time. Industry leaders have done a fine job of giving buyers all the power in the world to get what they want out of this area. So, why not explore the idea?
The exhaust note of a car or truck makes a big impact. More importantly, a high-flow exhaust can improve power output and fuel economy. Therefore, making simple upgrades here is rewarding on multiple levels. It can take some time to perform, but overall, it isn’t that difficult to do if the kit bolts right in place of factory equipment.
A massive upgrade or total overhaul isn’t the only way to transform a vehicle. More often than not, it’s the little changes that go a long way. If you have a restless mind and are eager to get going, we suggest you look into some of the areas above. And if there are other ideas swimming around your head right now—that’s good. The goal is to get those wheels turning.