What is car tuning and why we need it

What is tuning and why do we need it?

Today I will tell some thoughts about such mass phenomenon as tuning. I will consider styling as any changes that car owner consciously make in his car, starting from mud flaps installation and finishing with methanol injection.

You can treat tuning differently. For someone it is a disease, swamp, addiction, for which all available (and not so much) money goes down. For others, it is work, means of earning and existence, maybe even a boring routine. Others do not see the point in it at all and strive to stay in the runoff, looking at the first two with a Mona Lisa smile. But, in my opinion, these are all extremes. The truth can hide in that tuning, as well as in life, needs balance. Balance between power and drivability, balance between low clearance and comfortable practical driving, between “to drink 2 liters of beer and a liter of vodka, or to limit yourself only to beer? :)

Here are simple and widespread examples of popular, but, it would seem, not rational tuning:

– 2+ times more power as compared to stock, to stand in traffic jams daily and a couple times a month to rush down a night loop with friends + video on your phone, how we overtook a laden lorry on a block

– Modification of stock suspension, Stance – to stand nicely on the parking and attract attention, smacking the bottom of the lying policemen

– Aerodynamic dodgers – beautiful and practical, in conditions of snowy winter. The main thing is not to turn back in a snowdrift – otherwise it is possible to leave a bumper.

– a juicy exhaust – let everybody know that your 1.4 liter engine with welded double exhaust sounds not a bit worse than 6-liter muscle cars, especially your neighbors at night.

– disks – cardinally change appearance of a car, especially if they hardly fit into an arch.

– car interior styling, noise isolation, light installation, etc. – do it all, drive a month, sell your niner and buy a second-hand Audi, where all this is stock (not advertising :D)

– car audio – make it so that you don’t want to get out of the car in winter and go home, listen to music on a normal audio system, lying on the couch with a beer

The list can go on forever, but probably enough. A joke with a grain of truth, or truth with a grain of jokes, you decide :)

But the question is different. How do we come to the point that a newly bought car needs tuning? I omit the cases when a car is knowingly bought for a race and tuning project. Now we are talking about “ordinary tuning”. At what point do we decide – this car is not perfect, it needs to be upgraded, do I need it? Do we buy knowingly “not perfect” cars, which in our heads are in dire need of improvements and refinements? Or it comes later, when the first euphoria of driving a new iron friend disappears, trips become routine? Leaving no longer want to turn around and admire your beautiful, to huddle against the grille covered with flies and whisper “how great you are!

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Let’s imagine: Let’s take the average owner of a budget used car named Vasya. And put him in a vacuum without any external stimuli :D Vasya drives his car, takes care of it, makes timely maintenance. In general he lives without any problems. And now let’s put Petya, who has a more expensive car, a spoiler on trunk, xenon headlights, big and beautiful wheel disks, and leather and alcantara interior, in addition to Vasya. And it goes much faster. From this moment, if Vasya is not a blessed saint or Buddha, he can start feeling some envy or desire to be the same, or maybe even better. And this desire will be exacerbated if people are added to this closed “ecosystem” who can and will evaluate. And now, let’s give Vasya an access to the site Drive2, where he will see the whole variety, including more powerful and tuned cars of his brand. Can you imagine how Vasya’s calm world is ruined? :)

What am I driving at? Relationships in modern society are arranged in such a way that the majority “is met by the clothes”. And against this background the car has become the primary measure of success. We often unconsciously compare ourselves with others, we evaluate them, and they evaluate us. It is the same on the road. Agree, it is much more pleasant to look at your car with thoughts – “beautiful, unique, special, the fastest”, than “what a barrow, I wish we could sell it to someone”. On this background, tuning is just a fertile ground for showing off your ego. It is also worth to notice, that owners of really powerful and expensive cars rarely make tuning. It can be explained by the fact that the presence of money and ability to earn them makes a person more self-sufficient and independent from the opinion of surrounding people. Let’s say, the owner of new Ferreri will not prove to his neighbor, that it can beat his BMW. But the neighbor can have a desire to modify his BMW and “punish” Ferrari, self-asserting himself and comforts his ego. So, tuning, for all its expenses, is an entertainment for poor people? :D

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How it started with me – I bought my CC (not my first car), registered on Drive on the advice of a friend, went to Top Volkswagen Passat CC, wiped my drool and away we go :D

It may seem that I think that tuning is something shameful or bad. Not at all. I myself am infected and this disease is progressing – just look at my car. And the main thing – I like it! I just realize, that the reasons of my love to tuning are not in shortcomings of my car, but in me. In the desire to show others a different self, maybe more real and open. It is a way of self-expression, which is sometimes so lacking in the modern world. And the means by which this self-expression is achieved depends very much on the budget, the presence of taste and sense of style.

Will I continue – definitely yes! :) But, as they say, to each his own.

And how do you feel about tuning? Where did you get it and what conclusions did you come to? PS: thank you for this wall of text :)

And for those who are too lazy to read, I’ll summarize: – Tuning is a way of self-expression or compensation, as luck would have it – the author, for example, self-expression through tuning – tuning is cool, but it’s the ponces :)

Types of car tuning (pros and cons)

The translation of the English word Tuning does not fully describe the car business (or rather the car world) called car tuning. Tuning of construction, change of operating modes on a program level, change of external design and interior – this is not a complete list of what is included in the concept of tuning.

Why do we need tuning, and what is it? Is it possible to “tune” your car yourself? What kind of qualification is needed for that and what could be the consequences of mistakes? How does tuning affect the value of the car at its subsequent resale? Answers to these and other questions are of interest for a wide range of car owners, both owners of premium cars, and owners of budget cars.

What is car tuning and why we need it

What is car tuning and why it is necessary

Contrary to the popular belief that car tuning as a phenomenon appeared comparatively recently, the first works in this area began in the beginning of the last century – almost immediately with the serial production of the first cars. It is understandable, cars are not cheap and the first car owners sought to emphasize the individuality of its car.

In this respect, little has changed over the past century – it is the desire for individuality pushes motorists to change the exterior and interior appearance of the car and its technical (in a greater degree of functional characteristics).

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And if even more recently car tuning was the destiny of youthful audience, now it more and more displaced in the side of a sensible middle age. In fact, optimizing the cost of maintaining a car may be a consequence of additional changes in the factory design or changes in engine management programs aimed at optimizing the characteristics of the machine. For example, measures aimed at reducing fuel consumption in certain driving modes.

Tuning may also imply essential expansion of possibilities of factory cars, not connected with sharp increase of engine power and acceleration dynamics, but with improvement of cross-country ability, doubling of vital systems, increase of survivability in hard-to-reach and sparsely populated area.

Certain groups of car owners are interested in unique look and unique decoration of the car interior, even if it’s very expensive in standard configuration. Others are interested to turn the car into an infotainment center, stuffed with audio and video equipment.

So in a general view, tuning is any actions connected with structural, design and / or standard settings, regulations or software of production cars.

Types of car tuning

Types of car tuning

Usually tuning is classified according to what it is aimed at. Changes in car exterior design in Russia are usually called external tuning, interior – internal, and any technical activities – technical.

It is clear that such a division is relative, for example the installation of a winch on an SUV changes the design of the car and at the same time implies technical measures.

The history of tuning is inextricably linked to the birthplace of mass automobile production – the U.S., and many of the terms and definitions, as well as classification, originate in America. It is believed that the golden age of tuning came between the Second World War and the beginning of the fight for ecology. During this period, and has been defined the classification of automobile tuning into types and subtypes.

Audio tuning

Audio tuning

Audio tuning is making fundamental changes to the car’s regular audio system with the use of subwoofers, amplifiers, color sound equipment, a set of speakers. This also includes video and computer equipment, allowing to transform the car into a kind of infotainment center.

Interior tuning

Interior Tuning

Interior tuning – developed in America not only in the direction of individual design, using higher quality and more attractive materials, and providing increased comfort inside the cabin, but also exactly in the opposite direction.

The fact that “tuning” production cars to take part in races (such as the ultra-popular in the U.S. NASCAR) required just a reduction in comfort inside the cabin by equipping it with a safety cage;

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Engine tuning

Engine tuning

Engine tuning is the most difficult, but perhaps the most common type of car tuning. Before the automotive industry came processor technology, engine tuning was performed by making changes in the design: boring of the cylinders, increasing the diameter of the throttle, the installation of “sports” camshafts and others.

When processes necessary for the engine operation, control electronics, it became possible to optimize the motor under the wishes of the car owner using software methods (so-called chip tuning).

Suspension tuning

Suspension tuning

Suspension tuning for cars is aimed at improving controllability at high speeds. The results are achieved by installing sport elements (springs, shock absorbers, spacers). As a consequence, the ground clearance of the car decreases.

For SUVs, the opposite problem is solved: increasing the cross-country ability by increasing ground clearance.

Bodywork Tuning

Body tuning

Body tuning is a modification of the car exterior. Initially, it was assumed not only a qualitatively different aesthetic perception of the car (drawing, painting with liquid rubber, wrapping film), but also to improve aerodynamic characteristics by installing additional elements (bumpers, winglets, spoilers).

Subsequently, additional elements often became decorative in nature, not only not improving, but sometimes worsening the actual aerodynamics of the car.

Tuning Wheels

Wheel tuning

Tuning wheels – the replacement of serial disks on non-standard, bright stands out with a shiny nickel-plated surface, paint or size became in America a very popular type of tuning. Combined with the appropriate rubber, such wheels give the car a distinctly individual trait.

When you replace the original car wheels with tires and rims of other sizes, we recommend to use our visual tire calculator.

Tuning traditions are closely intertwined with restoration and restoration work and have become the basis for a multitude of styling trends. The most important among them are hotrod, lowrider, VIP-style and drag racing.



Hot-rod – cars of 40-60s with upgraded engines which allow you to reach the highest speed. As a rule, to remove superfluous weight, some parts of bodywork are taken off machines.



Lowrider is a car with a very low ground clearance, equipped with special hydraulic system, built-in in the running gear and allowing the car to make effective movements: to rise on piles, roll from side to side, jump.



VIP-style originated in the early 1990s in Japan. Legend has it that the local mafia was forced to change popular Mercedes AMG cars for Japanese ones. The VIP-style features were low low lowriders, all round bodykit, wide non-standard wheels (as a consequence, negative camber) and luxury sound system.

Drag Racing

Drag Racing

Drag racing is a branch of motorsport in which competitions are held on a straight stretch of track ¼ mile long (402 meters), and the ratio of engine power to car weight allows you to pass this distance in less than 10 seconds (the record for Russia is 6.325 seconds).

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In world professional drag racing the engine power can reach several thousand horsepower.

Advantages and disadvantages of autotuning

Advantages and disadvantages of tuning cars

There is no doubt tuning is very interesting and exciting. Owners of tuned cars emphasize the following advantages:

  1. Whether the car owner tuning himself or uses the services of professionals, he gets a car with pronounced individual features and improved characteristics.
  2. Almost always tuning becomes a hobby (and sometimes a lifestyle) for a car enthusiast, it widens his horizons, there are new interesting facets in life.
  3. There is a new circle of acquaintances among other people who are keen on tuning.

However, those who decided to make tuning of their own car for the first time should remember that it is necessary to weigh carefully your possibilities with understanding that for small money without due preparation and qualification, you can receive rather modest, and sometimes even deplorable result.

The most common illustration of this is engine chip tuning. Of course, you want everything at once from such an operation: to increase engine power, to reduce fuel consumption and also to increase torque. But even the car owners not familiar with technics understand (probably not at once) that it is not so, and improvement of one parameters is received, as a rule, at the expense of deterioration of others.

By the way, reprogramming of the electronic engine control unit gives tangible results (up to 20% increase in power) only on turbocharged engines.

At that, the work should be done by a qualified specialist, using the software, developed by the same car maker. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that the changes made will not lead to unacceptable loads, both in the engine itself and in the associated systems (clutch, gearbox, running gear). And guaranteed quality work can’t be cheap.

The main disadvantage of any tuning is its often negative impact on the car value at subsequent resale. Of course, there are cases when well thought out and expertly executed tuning even a little increases the value of the car, but the vast majority of customers in the secondary market prefer a serial version, which was used in conditions of nonaggressive driving.

And in this situation there is only option to “tuning” the car up to a serial condition. By the way, in the West, tuning the car up to the initial state is also considered as one of tuning trends.

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