An Amateur Mechanics Guide to Buying Car Engine Tuning Parts

Tuning a car's engine can help maintain and improve the vehicle's power and overall performance. There are several ways to tune a car engine, and owners can purchase parts to replace dirty or damaged units, make quick adjustments, or significantly alter the engine's operation.

An Amateur Mechanics Guide to Buying Car Engine Tuning Parts

Replacing spark plugs and air filters is one of the easiest ways to tune an engine. These parts are inexpensive, and require little technical knowledge to install. Users looking for upgrades can also consider replacing mechanical components with electric ones. Fans and fuel pumps are two items that can be switched out on older vehicles to free up horsepower. Buyers can also find parts to help an engine receive more air, and move exhaust out more quickly. Regardless of the types of products chosen for a car, it is important to ensure compatibility and research installation methods. 

Car tuning parts can be purchased from auto parts stores, custom shops, and online retailers. Several sites on the web are devoted to tuning parts and accessories for vehicles, and can even provide information about specific products, including reviews and installation help. Marketplaces like eBay can also be an excellent source for tuning parts. The high number of sellers on these sites makes it easy to compare prices and find the best items. Consider all options for purchasing car engine tuning parts to find the best products for improving speed, handling, and other aspects of a vehicle's performance.

Choosing Car Engine Tuning Parts

Engine tuning can refer to several processes on a vehicle, including replacement of standard parts, cleaning, adjustments, and modifications to the engine. A wide range of parts are available to help owners perform these processes. Begin by shopping for basic tuning items like spark plugs and air filters, and choose more advanced modifications like exhaust systems and performance chips.

Spark Plugs

One of the easiest tune-ups a mechanic can make to a vehicle is replacing the spark plugs. New spark plugs can significantly improve a car's performance, and should be replaced at least every 50, 000 kilometres. Remove the spark plug wires by grabbing the boot and wiggling it back and forth while pulling. Remove one plug at a time, and label each one with a piece of masking tape to keep them in order. A spark plug ratchet is needed, and depending on the setup, extensions may also be necessary. Insert the new spark plugs by hand, and tighten with the socket at the end.

Air Filters

Like spark plugs, air filters are one of the easiest tune-ups a mechanic can make. New filters should be added regularly, at the same time as an oil change.

Electric Fans

Cars have a fan that pulls air through the radiator to keep the engine cool. Older cars were built with a mechanical fan, and these draw power from the engine. Mechanics can replace these fans with electric ones to free horsepower.

Electric Fuel Pumps

As with fans, older vehicles use a mechanical fuel pump that draws its power directly from the engine. To increase horsepower, install an electric pump. Mechanics should keep in mind that additional electronic components place strain on a vehicle's battery and alternator. Consider replacing these items as additional electronics are added.

Air Intake

Fuel and air are needed to propel a vehicle, and an engine that receives more air and fuel has more power. One of the easiest ways to increase the amount of air an engine receives is to install an air intake. These units are designed to replace a car's standard airbox, and are built as a pipe with a filter on one end. These units can be installed with standard tools in a few hours, are an easy way to increase engine power and improve gas mileage.

Exhaust Systems

Just as improved air intake improves power, so does increased exhaust flow. The easiest way to improve an engine's exhaust system is by replacing exhaust manifolds with headers. Mechanics can also choose to replace the catalytic converter on a vehicle with a dual exhaust system. This further improves the exhaust flow, though it can also significantly increase the noise a car makes. In some cases, it may cause a car to exceed legal limits, so check local regulations before performing this adjustment.

Fuel Injection

Older vehicles with a carburetor can be improved by adding a multi-port injection system, which is standard on most modern vehicles. The precision of the electronics used in these systems not only increases a car’s speed, but its gas mileage, as well.

Performance Chips

Engine performance is regulated by an electronic computer chip. The ones installed on a standard vehicle actually serve as a limiting factor for the engine's power, and are meant to make the vehicle suitable for average road drivers. These units can be replaced with several different types of performance ships for improved performance, and the process is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get more power from an engine. Look for chips that are pre-programmed for a simple, hands-off power boost, or customisable chips with in-cab consoles that allow drivers to set engine performance to their own specifications. Performance chips are designed to be compatible with specific makes models, and years.


Before committing to any purchase of a car engine component, be sure it is compatible with a vehicle. It is also worth investigating the specific process required to add or replace a part, and obtain all the necessary tools beforehand.


Purchasing replacement parts and upgrades is just one way to tune a vehicle. It is also possible to modify and alter engine components to alter its performance in various ways. The process of replacing standard parts can help improve vehicle knowledge and give mechanics the confidence to try increasingly complex modifications and tuning processes.


Be aware that work performed on a vehicle beyond standard cleaning and replacement of parts is liable to void any warranties it may have. If a car has a warranty, be sure to check with its manufacturer or dealer to determine if tuning can compromise the warranty.


Tuning an engine can involve cleaning and replacing standard parts, or adding new components to improve performance. One of the first parts mechanics should consider while tuning a vehicle is spark plugs. These are easy to replace, and can provide a noticeable boost to power. Similarly, new air filters are an inexpensive and easy way to ensure the best performance from a car. Buyers can also find several components to customise and further tune a car, such as electric fans and fuel pumps. Using these to replace mechanical components can increase an engine's available horsepower.

Air intakes and exhaust systems are also excellent parts for tuning an engine. These help bring in more air and increase the exhaust flow, which can greatly increase engine power. Performance chips can also be used to tune an engine to the driver's specifications. Pre-programmed and customisable chips can both be purchased; they are inexpensive and easily installed.

Engine tuning parts can be obtained from auto parts stores and online retailers. Several websites specialise in vehicle parts and accessories. Marketplaces like eBay also have a high number of listings for engine tuning parts. These are available from private and commercial sellers, and can be found in new and used condition. Be sure to check the compatibility of a part with a vehicle before making a purchase, and research item listings and sellers when shopping online. Amateur mechanics can find many parts to tune an engine, so begin shopping to maintain or improve a car's performance.