To develop the power to quickly accelerate, an internal combustion engine needs to breathe. It takes in a precise amount of air and fuel that is compressed and ignited in the combustion chamber. Then exhaust gases are quickly exhaled out the tailpipe. Anything that disrupts this delicately balanced process results in power loss.
Engine performance has been controlled by an engine control module (ECM) that uses data from several sensors to manage the combustion process. Let’s look at the steps how to improve car acceleration?
How To Improve Car Acceleration?
There is the 15 way to know how to improve car acceleration?.
1. More power
Well first up, be it turbo or naturally aspirated, you can’t go wrong with a performance exhaust system. On turbo cars, the downpipe is the section that tends to give the biggest increase in performance. And on N/A cars a good exhaust manifold is usually a great benefit too.
A remapped ECU is generally another one that’s always a benefit regardless of engine, and while the results on turbocharged engines are bigger.
Beyond these basics, the limits are really only how much you can afford to spend, but acceleration is more than just power, which is what the rest of this feature will show you.
2. Gear Ratios
Gearing is giving and take, so the more top speed you have in any given gear, the slower it will accelerate. This is why specialist race cars are geared to be able to pretty much hit the limiter in top gear on the tracks they use.
The difference gearing changes make often has to be felt to be believed. It can accelerate like a totally different car. While custom gear ratios are expensive, there are far cheaper options with a similar result.
For most FWD and 4WD cars, a gearbox swap from a different model is your only option without going to an aftermarket gearbox. While this is possible on some cars, it certainly isn’t on all.
3. Performance Tires
When it comes to acceleration, spinning isn’t winning. Wheel spinning in the first three gears might make your car feel fast, but if you had sticky tires that put the power to the ground you’ll accelerate far faster.
A set of road legal semi-slick tires is the best way to achieve this. And the difference in grip versus big brand road tires of the same size is incredible. But if you’ve got the room to do so, go for a wider tire too.
4. Upgrading Clutch
We all know clutch slip is bad, but many clutches only slip if you launch them like an animal. Unfortunately, the only way you can hit the amazing quarter-mile times everyone dreams of is with a hardcore launch. And that needs an equally hardcore clutch.
Generally, they’re not so friendly to use in stop-start traffic and can pass the strain of the power onto other transmission parts. But there are no two ways about it, if you want to launch your car hard, you need to invest in a serious clutch.
For very high horsepower applications, it is often necessary to upgrade to a multi-plate clutch which will provide a significant increase in torque capacity. But can make the clutch more difficult to drive on the street.
5. A Limited-Slip Differential
A car with an open differential is almost always pretty crap off the line. As all the power is span away through one wheel, and if you’ve got big power this same thing will happen on the roll too.
An LSD forces the power to both wheels, which means massively improved acceleration, and even if the wheels are spinning, both have power to them which gives far more forward acceleration than with an open differential. Standard LSDs tend to be ok, but for the ultimate in acceleration grip, an aftermarket LSD is a must.
6. Weight distribution
Weight over the driven wheels helps push the tires into the ground, increasing traction. This is why front-wheel drive drag cars often have as much weight as possible at the very front of the car. And the opposite is also often true of rear-wheel drive.
Moving huge amounts of weight around your car isn’t easy on a road car. But be mindful of this point when adding parts or removing parts. You can really make a difference.
7. Upgrade Suspension
When it comes to getting your car away from the line in a hurry, the suspension plays a huge part in your ability to launch aggressively and accurately.
8. Weight Transfer
Under hard acceleration, weight shifts to the rear of the car. This is due to the torque of the drivetrain pushing against the grip of the tires and squatting the rear of the car down. On a rear-wheel-drive car, this is great news, as it’s effectively adding weight over the driven wheels. On a front-wheel-drive car, it’s bad news as it’s lightening the front and reducing grip.
9. Wheel Hop
We’ve all had that moment under hard acceleration when one or both of the wheels ‘hop’. As the tires lose grip, jump up against the spring and damper. And then get fired down again, repeating the cycle. At best, it’s annoying. At worst, it can cause driveline damage, up to and including the drive shaft being dislocated or broken. Improving your damper performance will help you to reduce wheel-hop, maintaining control. And therefore grip.
So, there you have it. Even if you only want to go straight and fast high-quality suspension should still be high on your tuning wish list.
10. Reduce Weight
Power to weight ratio is key to the acceleration of any car. The less weight your engine’s power has to move, the faster it will accelerate.
So the simple thing here is to make your car as light as you can but do it wisely. Many parts of cars weigh very little but are often removed, such as carpet and rear seats. But many parts often ignored, like heavy wheels, standard front seats, and the sticky under-carpet sound deadening, weigh a hell of a lot in comparison.
If your turbo isn’t at full boost you’re not getting a full performance. There are a few variations on this, from the common stuff that works from a standing start only. To rolling anti-lag which people use for roll racing, to proper rally anti-lag which can give you full boost literally all the time. The basic result is the same to get your car on boost when normally at that rpm/speed it would not be. Allowing you to accelerate like a rocket the instant you mash the throttle open.
All forms of anti-lag can potentially shorten the life of certain engine parts and makes a lot of noise too. But it’s so effective that it’s considered vital to be competitive in most motorsports involving turbo cars these days.
11. Power Delivery
Big power numbers are one thing, but if your power delivery is rubbish your acceleration will still be poor. While most people think bad power delivery is purely an engine where it’s only got a small high rpm powerband. It goes both ways, if your car has more torque than the tires can handle without spinning that’s will also kill your acceleration.
12. Boost By Gear
This is a clever trick used more and more on tuned turbo engines. This is limiting the car’s boost pressure. And therefore power level, to lower numbers in lower gears. That helps to reduce wheelspin, as grip but less power tends to be faster than big power but big wheelspin.
You need an ECU that supports this function, but it means you can increase your boost every time you shift up. Making the most of the available traction in each gear.
13. Faster Shifting
A typical manual gear change takes something like 0.5-0.8seconds, which is a serious amount of time. Many cars will change gear three times even in a quarter-mile drag run. So upwards of 1.5seconds is wasted while you change gear.
Aside from practicing your fast gear changes, quick shift kits can transform the speed. You can change gear in many cars. And if you’ve got the money for it, a gearbox swap to a dog box, sequential box, or twin-clutch box, will truly transform gear speeds. Some trick gearboxes can change so fast you barely notice. Literally 0.01 of a second, meaning your quarter-mile time.
This could be in the power or the anti-lag section. So rather than mentioning it twice, nitrous oxide and its ability to create huge differences in acceleration gets its own section.
A good nitrous kit can easily double the power of even the most un-tunable engine. And with some drag cars running literally many hundreds of bhp worth of nitrous, it’s well proven to be hugely effective.
The second way it can transform acceleration is as an anti-lag system for turbo cars. Even a small hit of nitrous will bring even a big turbo to full boost very quickly. So even nitrous that’s set to switch off above a certain boost level. So won’t increase peak power, will hugely improve the acceleration of a lot of turbo cars.
Finding out the main reasons as to why your car might be lacking acceleration and power can help you find the answer to your question of how to improve car acceleration? If this is constantly happening in your vehicle, it can cause your engine, transmission, and internal systems to suffer.