Beginners' Guide to Car Tuning

  • by: Patrick Peterson
  • April 14, 2020
  • Other

car tunning

Car tuning is the practice of making changes to a vehicle that makes it different from its original specifications. This is done to improve the performance of a vehicle, for example, to make it more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient, or faster and more powerful. Car tuning is done on a professional level, at car repair garages, or by individual car enthusiasts. For those that are new to car tuning, this article discusses a number of considerations and factors that are helpful to consider when you deal with car tuning.

How To Tune Up a Car: Choosing a Car to Tune

When selecting which make, model and year of the vehicle you want to tune, bear in mind that newer vehicles are already optimized for:

In other words, the newer a car is, the fewer improvements it needs. If you are working with a newer vehicle, be clear about the purpose of tuning it – and conduct enough research to assure you that the improvements you have in mind are feasible and worthwhile in terms of the time and money you are investing in them.

It is common for people to tune older vehicles for this reason. Many older cars were designed and manufactured before the automotive features that are widely available today became mainstream. At the same time, many older cars work well for years, offer reliable quality overall, and have depreciated in value so much that they are not advantageous to resell as they are. For these reasons, car repair businesses and car enthusiasts often tune older cars.


When choosing the car you want to tune, it is important to consider what improvements you hope to achieve, and to fully understand the current specifications of the vehicle. Here is what to consider:

Car Modification: Permanent vs. Temporary

There are ways to modify cars that ensure the modification can be reversed. This is called temporary or bolt-on modifications. The reasons to go temporary mainly have to do with the resale of the vehicle. Permanent modifications can void a car’s warranty, and make used car buyers nervous. With bolt-on modifications, you can customize the car the way you want, then remove the modifications and restore the car to its original condition prior to selling it. Additionally, bolt-on parts can be resold.

Those opting for permanent modifications usually can’t get the car to the level they want with temporary modifications. If you know you won’t need to resell the car and you plan to keep it forever or gift it after you no longer need it, and you are determined to get the car to a certain level of performance that temporary modifications cannot deliver, you might consider permanent modifications.

Car Platform

It is important to consider your car’s platform, its overall capabilities, and its condition. Tuning is not advantageous if the platform is not in good condition. Ideally, your platform should be able to accommodate the directions you are seeking through the modifications, so it is important to be realistic. Most importantly, all repairs and services should be complete prior to starting any tune-up activities.

How The Modified Car Will Be Used

Not all modified cars are used for regular, day to day driving. Some are only brought out occasionally and are used as hobby cars. It is important to understand how the car will be used when considering how to modify it. This will lead you to make the best decisions about how much to spend on parts, and which features to prioritize.

Buying Modified Cars vs. Modifying Car Yourself

You might be after certain car functionality, but not have the skill or interest to perform the modifications yourself. In that case, it would be great to educate yourself about how the modifications you seek work, and how much it costs to implement them. Having this knowledge will help you negotiate a fair price and feel informed during the purchasing process.

If your interests align with modifying the car yourself, then you probably would enjoy the experience of tinkering with the car. Even if your main motivation is the activity itself and not the finished product, it is still good to consider the time and money you invest in the project and to think thoroughly about whether you may want or need to resell the car at any point.

how to tune a car

Buying Modified Car & Selling Tuned Car

Buying and selling modified cars is not unlike real estate transactions of properties with a lot of renovations. If a car has had some modifications, it is important to consider the value of those add-ons. Buyers should be made aware of the cost of improvements, and if you are modifying a car before selling it, you should save receipts of all parts you purchase to help calculate the additional value you are adding to the vehicle. At the same time, buying and selling modified cars is not as straightforward as regular cars and there is more gray area about what constitutes added value. Car buyers that are not knowledgeable about the world of modified cars might have more trouble understanding the value of modified cars. It is easiest to sell to tuned-up car enthusiasts or to be able to educate them about the unique added features you are trying to sell.


Tuning cars can offer a fun pastime and the opportunity to improve cars. It can be exciting to see how you can transform a vehicle, and it can raise the value of the car. With some education and trial and error, you can develop a lifelong hobby or help others get the most out of their cars.

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