Performance Engine Upgrades for Your Car, SUV and Pickup

Friday, August 16, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Not only do we offer the best performance wheels, tires and suspension selection for your vehicle, but we also offer performance engine upgrades. I receive many calls from enthusiasts who are overall quite happy with their vehicle, however are looking for a little more power. Hypertech Power Programmers and AIRAID air intake systems are a great addition for the individual looking for safe and reliable horsepower gains.

Founded in 1985, Hypertech has been an industry leader in increasing engine efficiency, horsepower and torque for cars and trucks. Their Max Energy Sport Power Programmer is developed specifically for late model imports, while the Max Energy Power Programmer tunes late model cars and trucks. Some of the expected improvements you'll see from using these products, include:

  • RPM “rev” Limiter
  • Top-Speed Limiter
  • 0-60 mph Electronic Throttle Restriction
  • Read and Clear Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)
  • Return to Stock or Change Option Settings
  • Internet Updateable

Founded in 1997, AIRAID started developing and manufacturing air intake systems for light trucks and SUVs utilizing the cotton-gauze filter technology. Since then, AIRAID evolved to the next level with the introduction of SynthaMax filters. These 100% synthetic, non-oiled and washable filters are easy to maintain and can be reused by simply washing the filter with a mild household detergent and rinsing. AIRAID offers a wide selection of cold air intakes and air box/air intake tube combinations for your gas or diesel pickup and Jeep. Their QuickFit line has shown to increase airflow between 20% to 200% with horsepower gains from 6hp to 18hp, depending on vehicle.

Industry proven safe power gains from two industry pioneers for your vehicle. Which one is right for you?

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Thursday, October 4, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin Pilot Super SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 10

2005 Mazda RX-8 6-speed
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Miles driven on tires: 100
Location: Riverview, FL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 100 Miles on Tires
September 25, 2012

So far 100 miles on these Michelin Pilot ss barley broken in and they feel like champain quality in every performance area.They are almost too good for my RX-8 like a class up on it. Might be because I have 100,000 miles on it. I put 4 of these tires on with new Mazdaspeed shocks, Mazdaspeed lowering springs and a cold air induction K&N intake system all at once. The car runs and handles like new.I highly recommend doing this even a little at a time. These are better than the PS2 tire 235/40/18 do fit all around. Still havent put these through some real hard driving yet, will report back with some feedback in time. Did shift across two lanes hard with just two fingers on the steering wheel and it was amazing! steering response that is. It felt like my internal abdominal organs suddenly shifted!I was there in a second! Total control is outstanding! 6-speed 2005 RX-8

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Thursday, September 13, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin Pilot Super SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.25

2009 Honda Accord Coupe
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Miles driven on tires: 6,000
Location: Seminole, AL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 6,000 Miles on Tires
September 06, 2012

I am resubmitting this review with a more detailed explanation.

With my cars as well as my motorcycles, I have always stressed the best quality in high performance tires be used, as your life depends upon them.

I bought the 2009 Accord Coupe EX-L V-6 (with Nav and 6 speed manual tranny) with the optional 19" Honda Factory Performance (HFP) wheels shod with Dunlop Sport Maxx tires. They worked quite well for OEM tires. I have since added a K & N Typhoon Cold Air intake, a beautiful Greddy SE cat-back exhaust system, EBC Sport Rotor and Red Stuff pad upgrade, sport suspension upgrade and Jet Power Module / MAF sensor / ECU reflash. This is not a normal stock car any longer and certainly does not perform like one - quite a sleeper.

In keeping with my performance enhancements, these 245/40-19 Michelin Pilot Super Sports are replacing another very good tire, the Continental Extreme Contact DW's which in turn had replaced the Dunlops. As these Michelin tires were designed for the Ferrari 348 as a follow on to their PS2's, that is one of the best handling platforms with which to launch this tire design.

I am a very spirited (professionally trained SCCA & NHRA) driver, probing the extents of the performance envelope when and where safely possible.

The wet and dry handling of the Michelins is excellent and steering / transient response are RIGHT NOW, handling as if on rails. Breakaway is consistent and easily manageable and the ride quality and comfort is quite good for this type of low profile, high performance tire. Braking is greatly improved with the EBC brake upgrade and these sticky gumballs, brakes being a weakness with the original car's set-up. So far the noise in minimal, but as with most ultra and max performance tires, I expect the noise to increase a bit with wear. I drove the Conti's hard for almost 40 K miles and hope to get similar mileage from these Michelins.

They are a bit pricey, but I think they are worth every cent.

AIRAID Cold Air Intake System Coming Soon for FR-S and BRZ

Thursday, August 9, 2012 by Ben Rooney

The sporty new Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ have arrived. Equipped with an agile, lightweight chassis, rear-wheel drive and a 200HP boxer engine, these cars are a lot of fun. However, for car enthusiasts, there's always the urge to add a little something extra. 

In the case of the FR-S and BRZ, an obvious upgrade is more power. Given their light weight, 200HP is enough to give spirited performance, but for some drivers the quest for more power is inevitable.

To support that goal, AIRAID has developed a new cold air intake system for the FR-S and BRZ. The new intake will be part of their MXP Series featuring a roto-molded airbox, free-flowing intake tube and a durable SynthaMax filter. SynthaMax filters require no oil -- simple washing with mild soap and water will restore them to their full performance potential. 

A cold air intake is a great first upgrade for a new car. It's easy enough to install that the average enthusiast can put one in on a weekend afternoon with common tools. The reduced intake restriction will provide a slightly more aggressive engine note and a moderate power upgrade. Free-flowing intakes will also help maximize the gains realized from any future engine tuning. 

We currently expect to have these intakes available to ship in late August or early September. 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Yokohama AVID ENVigor (W)

Thursday, January 12, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Yokohama AVID ENVigor (W)Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.5

2004 Acura TL
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Miles driven on tires: 250
Location: 40 miles North of Baltimore , PA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 250 Miles on Tires
June 16, 2010

Just got these in June 2010 to replace the Factory Bridgestone Potenza-which road like rocks- and were terrible in the rain---These Yokohama Tires smooth out the bumps and handle like you are on rails- very responsive on dry and wet conditions. I added a cold air intake and had my ECU calibrated on my TL to crank out over 300HP and these dont turn over that easily--and believe me I try daily- I have not seen them in action in winter conditions but can surely testify their handling capability on dry and wet conditions ! I am so stoked ! Low road noise so far, even at higher triple digit speeds--will keep updating as I acrue more miles. looking forward to driving on these every day--Yokohama Avid Envigors are living up to the hype so far -

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.63

2007 Ford Mustang GT
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Miles driven on tires: 10000
Location: Wichita, Ks
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 10000 Miles on Tires
March 10, 2011

Replaced the factory equipped Pirelli's which I had been really pleased with with these Firestone Wide Oval Indy 500's. Couldn't be happier!!! My Mustang is moderately modified, with a retune to 91 octane, cold air intake, underdrive pulleys, larger throttle body, Steeda Tri Ax shifter, etc. It smoked the Pirelli's NO PROB, but these Indy 500's take a lot more effort. They stick like glue while cornering on dry pavement, loose very little when it's wet, and the tread wear after 10,000 miles has been better than I expected, having only lost 2/32nds of their original tread, and this with FREQUENT applications of throttle!!!! :)If this tire is still available the next time I need tires, they will most certainly be my choice again...only problem is, they might not be available, as they are an Indy 500 Centennial Era commerorative tire, and 2011 is the last year of the Indy 500 Centennial Era, and Firestone will no longer be a tire provider to the Indy Car series after 2011, so availability may be iffy. However, if they are available, I will buy them again. A really excellant tire for a Mustang type car, for SURE, and the price is ---- good. Firestone knocked this one out of the park, in my opinion. And they look really sharp, with the Centennial Era logo on them. I go to the Indy 500 every year, and they were brand new on my pony when we attended last years' race. They naturally caught a lot of attention, and I couldn't be happier or prouder. One warning, tho...I kept these on my car all winter, and we had a very snowy winter...and they ain't so good on snow!!! That said, however, I didn't expect them to be, since they ARE a summer only tire. I was just too lazy to switch them out over the winter, so I had to drive with caution in the snow, and did get stuck a bit a couple of times. But for spring, summer, or fall driving, you would have to pay MUCH MORE to beat these tires for grip, ride quality, and wear characteristics, even as soft and grippy as they are. BUY 'EM!!

Add Horsepower with AIRAID

Thursday, December 1, 2011 by Steve Huffman
AIRAID QuickFit with SynthaMaxAbout three weeks ago, I installed the AIRAID QuickFit with SynthaMax air intake kit onto my 2007 Dodge Charger 3.5L V6. My goal was to get better horsepower, but honestly, I got much more than that.

Many people are skeptical about these cold air intakes and whether or not they really help. I can attest that the QuickFit's bolt-on system allowed me to install the kit easily and in approximately 30 minutes. I immediately noticed a deeper sound and more desirable rumble coming from under the hood. I don't have access to a dyno so I can't give an actual gain of horsepower, but I can definitely feel an improved throttle response. Finally, as an added bonus, I've noticed an increase of 1-2 in mpg.

Key Features & Benefits of the AIRAID QuickFit with SynthaMax:
  • Utilizes O.E. mounting clips
  • Easy bolt-on installation
  • Cold air dam design
  • Non-oiled, SynthaMax filter
So if you're looking for a little more power, take a look at the products available from AIRAID.

AEM Air Intake Systems

Monday, June 13, 2011 by Tire Rack Team


They say their reputation was built with horsepower, and AEM proves it by taking credit for some of the fastest vehicles found on racetracks across the country. Extensive research and development ventures ultimately lead to high-quality products that enhance performance levels on sport compact cars. But they don't stop there. AEM creates a variety of products well-suited to sedans, trucks and SUVs, too. For example, AEM air intakes.

An AEM air intake system comes tuned and tested to provide a complete air intake system that consistently outperforms the competition. All AEM intakes will soft mount, which means installation is flexible to prevent added stress on the component.

AEM Brute Force Cold Air Intake Systems were designed for trucks, SUVs and muscle cars to gain maximum airflow without sacrificing low-end torque.

Cold Air Intake Systems were designed for sport compact cars and feature an individually tuned inlet pipe and exterior filter for a cooler inlet charge.

Short Ram Intake Systems are economical alternatives to Cold Air Intake Systems, and tend to please drivers who are concerned about hydrolock.


 

A look at the AEM cold air intake system.

Monday, June 13, 2011 by Tire Rack Team

With their knack for custom work and proven ability to develop some of the fastest cars on racetracks across the country, it's safe to say that AEM pioneered the cold air intake system in sport compact cars. (In fact, all AEM air intakes exhibit excellent performance.)

Specifically, the cold air AEM intakes are dyno-tuned to length and diameter. This forces maximum horsepower and torque more so than any other system like it. Take a look at what this previous customer had to say:

"Freaking wonderful noise! There was an installation issue as the factory airbox is a little different on '06 xb, but nothing that couldn't be fixed easily. I did need to do a little cleanup with the wiring, but that was expected. What I didn't expect was the glorious sound this would make at full throttle. I'd guess about a 4-5 HP gain. Noticeable mainly when the VVT comes on. Great product." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Scion xB, FL

See all AEM air intakes, then shop by vehicle for a specific list of engine tuning products.

 

AEM Cold Air Intake Installation

Monday, June 13, 2011 by Tire Rack Motorsports

To help our little MX-5 breathe a little easier, we’ve installed an AEM Cold Air Intake.

There is some debate about how to legally install an intake, which according to the rules cannot modify the structure of the car to route the intake pipe. Most off-the shelf CAI’s require modifying or removing a splash shield behind the bumper cover to get the “coldest” air to the intake. This isn’t an issue for a street-driven car, but within the SCCA rules for the autocross class we compete in, making the minor modification isn’t allowed. So with a little investigation we took what turned out to be a very simple route to get our intake installed—and keep us legal.

We used an AEM Cold Air Intake for the 2006-07 Mazda MX-5, and simply deleted one small part and removed one mounting bracket from one of the aluminum pipes supplied with the kit. The CAI’s air filter now sits just behind and above the front bumper structure, and still gets a steady stream of cold air from an opening in the front fascia of the MX-5. The supplied polished aluminum tubing provides a smooth and straight path back to the engine, eliminating the bulky airbox and serpentine path of the OE intake. 

The engine is a pump after all, and now we can get more air in to help pump more power out.
Modifying the AEM intake pipe to follow the same path as the OEM pipe and airbox.Trim the AEM pipe to position the filter above the splash shield.
 

Project STR Revs up for the SCCA Solo Spring Nationals

Friday, May 27, 2011 by Tire Rack Motorsports
Memorial Day weekend 2011 will go down as the first time the SCCA has held a ProSolo and National Tour event over the same holiday weekend. We can’t think of a better place to host the event than the awesome Lincoln Airpark, home of the Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo Finale and National Championships. It appears many of our fellow Solo competitors agree, as the ProSolo entries capped out at 250 and the National Tour count has topped 300 competitors. It is an incredible turnout and testament to the enthusiasm within the Solo community despite high fuel prices and the still recovering economic conditions. 

With the big event just around the corner, the Tire Rack/Grassroots Motorsports Project DEI Gold FoilSTR team of John Rogers and Chris Harvey have continued the development of the 2010 Mazda MX5. First up, was the addition of Design Engineering, Inc. (DEI) Reflect-A-GOLD heat reflective material. We wrapped out a cold air intake tube, O2 sensor wires and plastic exhaust outlet hole with this state of the art polymer to help ward off heat from the engine compartment. Its self adhesive backing makes it easy to install just about anywhere.

Next up was some fine tuning to our exhaust system. In 2010 we installed a STR class legal, PPE header, mid-pipe and resonator and capped it off with a Goodwin Race muffler. 12,000 miles and lots of hard use had taken a toll on the resonator, so we decide to explore other options. We tried the simple solution first, just replacing the resonator with a straight pipe, but the resulting resonance in the cabin was too much for our eardrums to handle on the long drives to and from events. A call to Burns Stainless was made and an Ultra-Light muffler was quickly on its way. We replaced our old piece with this unit and noticed an immediate drop in the exhaust tone and weight. It's quiet enough we can bolt on a lightweight turndown in place of the Goodwin muffler and leave a few more pounds behind in the paddock.

To take care of our suspension needs in 2010, we installed an off the shelf, KW Variant 3 coil-over system with Hotchkis anti-roll bars. This set-up carried us to ProSolo and National event wins as well as bringing home hardware from the ProSolo Finale and National Championships. The street oriented spring rates coupled with KW’s wide range of valving adjustments performed better than expected on the Solo course and gave us a comfortable ride home.  prototype KW Clubsport Coiover Suspensions For 2011, we decided to turn up the volume a bit and assist KW with the development of a more aggressive system for Solo and track use. Stay tuned for driver impressions and track results as we get some seat time on this newly installed, prototype set-up.

ProSolo event competition will take place on May 27-28th with the National Tour running on May 29th-30th. You can find live results and a link to streaming audio at www.sololive.scca.com .




AIRAID Now Available at Tire Rack

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
AIRAID SynthaMax Premium FilterA cold air intake system can increase your vehicle’s horsepower while improving the engine’s efficiency by relocating the filter to the outside of the engine compartment and delivering cooler air inlet temperatures. Reducing restrictions in the air intake will help create more horsepower and torque.

Purchasing an air intake system along with other upgrades such as a coil over kit can increase your vehicle’s performance. And to ensure optimum engine performance, consider the intake systems available from AIRAID. With the introduction of SynthaMax filters, AIRDAID’s complete line of intake systems provide long lasting quality with high-tech filtration technology.

Shop by vehicle or contact one of our sales specialists with questions you may have about tuning your engine.


Breathe Deep

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow
Ask any professional engine tuner about performance enhancements and they will probably tell you the most effective thing you can do to improve engine performance, for the price, is to improve the breathing capability of the engine.

Regardless of whether you have a gas, diesel or rotary engine, your engine is essentially an air pump. Anything you do to reduce restrictions in the air intake or exhaust system will improve horsepower and engine efficiency.
 
Original Equipment (O.E.) air inlets restrict incoming airflow to reduce intake noise. Some O.E. systems actually add heat to the inlet air thereby reducing efficiency. A cold air intake system relocates the filter outside of the engine compartment to deliver cooler inlet air temperatures.

Cooler air has a higher oxygen density, which translates into a more intense burning of the fuel air charge in the combustion chamber, creating more horsepower and torque. But that's only part of the power equation. Tuning the inlet pipe in length and diameter to match the engine's resonance helps move more air to the cylinders (remember your engine is a big air pump), and this tuning allows for larger power gains.

Every AIRAID intake system is dyno tested and tuned to provide maximum performance and efficiency. During R&D fuel trim correction factors and all OBDII sensors are monitored to eliminate leaning the engine out and/or setting a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) and illuminating the malfunction indicator light (MIL).
AIRAID Classic with SynthaMax

Every AIRAID intake system includes a lifetime SynthaMax synthetic air filter. 100% synthetic, non-oiled and washable, SynthaMax filters are easy to maintain. Just wash with a mild household detergent and rinse. Oil-soaked gauze filters used by other intake systems can actually contribute to contamination around the throttle plate and can lead to mass airflow sensor (MAF) degradation or failure resulting in malfunction indicator lights (MIL) and reduced performance.
  
AIRAID Intake Systems offer unmatched fit, finish and lifetime warranty.

What's the "Best" mod for my car?

Friday, July 10, 2009 by Luke Pavlick

    A question I hear quite often is exactly that "What is the 'best' mod for my car?".

    It is asked with full expectation to hear something like "get some new tires and wheels they'll look great and really handle the corners" or "an AEM cold air intake will up the performance of your car and that would be really cool". While both of those statements are accurate they may not be the best answer.

    I find that many times the people who are asking that question are younger drivers who are excited to get their life behind the wheel jump started. They over look the fact that their driving skills are still under-development and they still need improvement as well as experience before they can truly appreciate what any upgrade or a mod to the car can offer.

    Every year more than 5,000 American youths ages 16 - 20 die behind the wheel. Nationwide, a teen dies in a traffic crash an average of once an hour on weekends and nearly once every two hours during the week. That means every week more than 100 families will lose a child.


    The Tire Rack has joined with the non-profit BMW CCA Foundation and the SCCA to bring Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving program to the nation. Through the efforts of members of the BMW Car Club of America, the Sports Car Club of America, the Mercedes Benz Club of America and the Porsche Club of America as well as other automotive enthusiasts who volunteer their time to serve as coaches with each teen, over 80 schools will be held in locations across the U.S. and benefit over 1,600 student drivers this year.

    The point I am making is quite simple, the best 'mod' for a young inexperienced driver is more often than not  "fix the loose nut behind the wheel"

    Even older, more experienced drivers can improve their skill set behind the wheel by enrolling in a high performance drivers education course or a full on race school with professional racers as instructors. These are typically held at major race tracks around the country. 

    Many local car clubs with national affiliates run these schools and are very friendly, helpful and fun to hang around with. To find a club near you search your favorite marque like Audi, BMW, Porsche or Mustang. The SCCA as well as NASA are also involved in schools and welcome new members at all events. For you Mid-West guys and gals you might want to look into the Audi Car Club Chicagoland Chapter, The North Shore Corvette Club and the Salt Creek Sports car Club as all of them organize great events.

   
And befor you go there, Yes, I remember the old adage "practice what you preach"

    I recently attended the Ford Racing school at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah and came away with better understanding of vehicular dynamics and car control skills. The lead instructor at the school was Professional racer Cyndi Lux. She and her team of instructors were fantastic as their instruction was helpful and easy to understand. 


   

In addition to the great driving instruction I was also able to learn about a couple of BF Goodrich tire models and how they perform and react under extreme conditions.

    Let me tell you I had an absolute blast pushing them to the absolute limit. Actually, a little beyond their limit, at times, according to one of the the instructors 

My name is Luke Pavlick ... I'm a car guy


 

Drop it like it's hot. Infiniti G35.

Thursday, July 9, 2009 by Neal O'Neal
    A while back I picked up a 2003 Infiniti G35 6MT with 8k miles on it. Like many car enthusiasts I couldn't' t wait to bolt on any performance modifications I could. Wheels, tires, cold air intake, etc. While that was all good, it lacked some handling. So I turned to our friends at Eibach for some suspension help.
   
As you can see, she needed a bit of help in the wheel gap and handling department. I added the Eibach Pro Kit lowering springs and sway bars to the car. Before lowered pic. 
 














What was really great is another sales rep here had the identical car just not lowered. In this pic you can see the difference after the springs were installed. Both cars were same year and model.













Not only did the new Eibach items work great, they made the car look wonderful. The springs combined with the sways made the car handle completely different. I ran the sway bars at medium stiffness front and rear which worked well for street and mild track use. Ride did stiffen a little but not significantly.

Spring into action with the Pro Kit! You won't be disappointed.