The Pitfalls of Modifying Your Car
Written by AMS Performance
There are a number of pitfalls to modifying your car. Pushing your car past the factory limitations can have costly consequences. There is always a compromise when you start pushing for more power. Things like driveability and reliability can suffer the more you modify your car depending on how it is modified and maintained.
The auto manufacturers have teams of thousands of people who design and engineer the engine and driveline. There is a reason that manufacturers don’t sell cars with 800 horsepower… because the car would not be reliable! Even factory stock cars can break, that is why they have warranties. Modifying your car only adds more stress on components and the possibility for problems only increases.
If you choose to modify your car you should be prepared for a number of things:
Added Maintenance Costs
Modifying your car for more power adds complexity to your engine and its supporting systems which can mean future costs and headaches. When you modify your car you will have to do more preventive maintenance and closely monitor all systems of your car consistently. When you add stress to your vehicle and its systems they will require more attention. For example racing engines consume more oil than the factory unit and added power output creates more heat.
Additional Costs For Supporting Modifications
Adding power will create more stress on driveline components like the clutch and axles. Also things like added fuel delivery, ignition output may need to be upgraded. Once you start modifying your car further and further it becomes a domino effect as more and more components can break and need to be upgraded.
Voided Factory Warranty
Generally any modification to the engine will void your factory warranty.
More Power = More Stress On The Engine & Drivetrain
When modifying an engine for more power output we are still relying on many factory components even on the most extensive builds. Things like engine blocks, cylinder heads, crankshafts, head gaskets etc… remain the same as in a stock vehicle. These parts were NOT engineered to handle the stress of double and triple horsepower figures. On turbocharged cars the stress is even greater due to the higher cylinder pressure and temperature caused by increased boost levels. Factory and aftermarket parts can fail. It becomes a game of finding the next weak link, upgrading it and finding the next weak link.
Bad Tank Of Gas
As you push your car past the factory limits the things like the quality of gas can cause failures. If you got the wrong type of gas or get water in your tank it can cause detonation. Because we are narrowing the safety margin as we increase power output the probability of failures increases.