The Quest for More Power

You are frustrated because, when you put your foot down flat on the accelerator pedal, your car does not respond with the vigour that you desire. You have had it serviced and it is in perfect running order, but there is too little power, and you are sure it can do better. How can you improve your car’s performance?

One of the most expensive but effective ways to increase your engine’s power output is to increase its size. All other things being the same, a larger engine will always have more power than a smaller one. The only way to do this is to increase the bore diameter of the cylinders or to increase the piston stroke, or both. The former requires that the engine be stripped down to the last bolt and the block be taken to an engineering shop where they have to bore the cylinders to a larger size, if there is sufficient space in the block for it. You would have to buy several parts to fit the new configuration, like pistons, and probably connecting rods as well. Increasing the stroke might allow you to reuse the existing pistons, but you will need a new crankshaft and possibly shorter connecting rods. All things considered, enlarging the engine is expensive and the power gain not necessarily enough, unless the work is accompanied by additional expensive modifications.

Adding forced induction, like a supercharger or turbocharger, is also possible, but this is an expensive endeavour as well, and there can be many pitfalls if the work is not done professionally. You would have to lower the compression ratio, probably replace the pistons, and hope that all the associated plumbing fits under the bonnet. You will probably have to upgrade the cooling system to deal with the additional heat. More than likely, the life expectancy of your engine will be reduced due to the additional loads on it for which it was not designed. You might also experience trouble with the reliability of the driveline components like the gearbox, clutch, and CV joints, due to the greatly increased torque loads imposed on them.

Milder hardware changes confined to the intake and exhaust system, together with optimising work on the cylinder head, may yield reasonable gains and not be too expensive, but modern engines do not always lend themselves to such quick, backyard optimisation, and you may forfeit your guarantee.

The most risk-free way to optimise your car and be sure that it delivers its optimal performance and fuel economy – usually better than when it left the factory – is to fit a Unichip piggyback computer. If you are not entirely happy within three months, we remove it and you get your money back, so there is no risk at all.


Corner of Solomon Mahlangu
and Veldpou streets
Monument Park


P.O. Box 15756
South Africa