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Pedal to the Metal: The 10 Best Corvette Performance Upgrades

The 10 Best Corvette Performance Upgrades and Installations

Get the most of your machine with these Corvette performance upgrades, installations, and modifications for more speed, elegance, and power.
Depending on the model you buy, the 2019 Corvette comes with anywhere from 455 to 755 horsepower. If you happen to have a Corvette that is on the low end of that scale, you may be looking for ways to give your car a boost. Corvette performance upgrades can give you that extra boost of power so you can have the competitive edge at the track and on the street.

Curious about what you can do to your Corvette? Keep reading and we’ll tell you the top 10 mods that will give you the most improvement in horsepower and performance.


1. Cold Air Intake
The stock air intake under your Corvette hood will bring air into your engine. The thing is, that air is warm because it is heated by the engine. If you change your air intake to a cold air intake, the cooler air is denser. The denser air means you can pack more air into the combustion chamber. The more air you pack in, the more gas needs to also go in to maintain the proper mix of air and fuel. The larger amount of air and fuel means you can have bigger combustion happen in the chamber. The bigger combustion results in more power created to push the pistons. This increase in power means that you have created more horsepower for your Corvette.


Get a True Cold Air Intake
Some aftermarket products will claim to be cold air intake when in reality they are not. A true cold air intake is going to make the air filter and intake further away from the engine. It should take in the fresh air coming in from outside of the engine bay.


2. Chip Reprogrammer
Every car today comes with computers to monitor and control the operation of the vehicle. You may hear them referred to as an ECU, ECM, or TCM. When the Corvette comes off the line, your car is programmed to operate with a certain amount of horsepower, performance, and emissions output.

These settings are not in line with getting the most amount of performance and horsepower out of your Corvette engine. So to unlock the full potential of your car, you need to reprogram your car’s ECU.


Tuner vs Re-programmer
When you start shopping for tuners and re-programmers you will find that there are two different products available. You need to take note that a programming device will let you adjust the factory programmed settings to optimize the functioning performance of your car.

A tuner will completely wipe your ECU and place a new program in that comes with the tuner. The difference is subtle, but you should know what you are buying.


Reputable Companies
Only buy your tuner or programmer from a reputable company. Remember that you are changing how your Corvette runs, so you can quickly cause damage by programming your car’s operating system in a harmful way.


3. Supercharger
A supercharger will also help increase the amount of air flowing into your engine and thus help create more power. The crankshaft is used for the production of energy. There is a belt that will directly connect the supercharger to the engine.


4. Spark Plugs
When you are boosting horsepower, every little bit counts. So replace your spark plugs and spark plug wires with upgraded ones. Over time the wires become brittle and will cause your engine to misfire. This is especially true if you don’t drive your Corvette very often.

So replacing the wires with ones better than the OEM ones you can reduce the level of resistance. The less resistance means you have an increase in power transfer.

When you upgrade your spark plugs, you improve the reliability of their performance. You also improve how they create the spark that triggers the combustion.


5. Turbocharger
A turbocharger has essentially the same effect and results as a supercharger, but it goes about it in a different way. Many people consider the turbocharger the future of engine enhancement.

Instead of using the crankshaft, it uses the exhaust stream as its source of energy. The exhaust pushes through the turbocharger which causes the turbine in the compressor to spin. There is no direct connection between the turbocharger and the engine. One advantage it has over the supercharger is that it can improve the emissions of your Corvette. It can lower the carbon emissions by altering the smog.


6. Long Tube Headers
Emissions and budget both tend to limit how vehicles are manufactured. That means that both the headers and exhaust are limited to how they move air through the vehicle’s system. When you replace the headers with long tube headers you can boost performance by moving air more efficiently through the system. Long tube headers are extremely effective at this and the result is a build in torque. You will experience the most horsepower benefit with this mod in the mid-range and top end RPMs. If you are looking for noticeable improvement in your high-rev super ride, then you want to install some long tube headers.

7. Exhaust
There are two parts to your exhaust that you should look at to improve, the catalytic converter and the muffler. The catalytic converter is what reduces the pollution in the emissions coming from your car.

Catalytic Converter
The problem is that the catalytic converter can only allow air to flow through so fast. This tends to put a limit on the output of your engine, and thus a limit on the output of performance.

You can replace the stock converter with a high flow one. It will function the same as the stock one, but move air much faster through the system. This will allow your engine to make more power and thus increase horsepower.

Behind the catalytic converter is the muffler. The problem you will run into is that when you make the catalytic converter high flow, you also need to increase the flow of the air out of the muffler. Otherwise, you defeat the purpose of replacing the catalytic converter. You’ll want to look for a muffler that has a wider diameter to allow for greater airflow.

Use Caution
You may be tempted to go as large as possible, after all, more airflow means more production from the engine, right? Wrong. There is a fine balance between increased airflow to improve performance and too much airflow. Your engine needs a certain amount of back pressure from the exhaust system to function at optimal levels. If you go too large with your exhaust, the backpressure isn’t there. Now you are losing performance.

8. Carbon Fiber
This one doesn’t directly increase the amount of horsepower your Corvette has like other upgrades on this list. But, what it does do is make the horsepower you have more effective.

When you replace the major body panels of your car with carbon fiber replacements you are drastically reducing the weight of your car. To get the most benefit, start by replacing your hood. Then consider replacing your coupe glass or door panels. While you are at it, clean out your trunk. We all know that space in your trunk is deceptively big, so clean out all of the stuff you’ve been carting around. It’s just unnecessary weight.

9. Front End Splitter
This is one mod you don’t hear a lot about, but you should. When you put a front end splitter on your Corvette it will reduce your front end lift. It will also increase your car’s stability and optimize wind drag. This is another one of those mods that will increase the effectiveness of the horsepower you already have.

10. Nitrous
For the ultimate boost to your Corvette engine install a nitrous hookup. When you inject nitrous oxide you significantly boost the amount of oxygen going into your engine.

The more oxygen means the more fuel can also be injected. Just like the other mods that increase air intake, the nitrous helps increase the combustion size in your engine.

The advantage of the nitrous though is that it also helps to cool your engine. Combustion creates a lot of heat, so when you make the combustion bigger, you are creating even more heat within the engine. You need to be careful that you do not overheat your engine. This is where nitrous becomes useful. As the nitrous vaporizes it has a stronger cooling effect on the engine. This cooling effect also helps keep the air cooler that is coming in for the next combustion. So you have a more prolonged effect of increased horsepower.

Which Corvette Performance Upgrades Will You Do?
The Corvette performance upgrades we have listed here are the most common and most effective at increasing the horsepower for your car. The ones you choose will be based on your budget and the amount of increase you are looking to achieve. Need quality parts for your Corvette? We can help with our wide selection of parts available for C5, C6, and C7 Corvettes.


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