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Understanding Your Options with Performance Parts

Updated on June 22, 2019
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, an industrial engineer, a mother of two, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


Performance parts are any product that improves the performance of the car in some way. Performance parts can increase the speed or power from the engine or improve the safety of the driver if in an accident. They can give you more entertainment options for the kids in the backseat, allow you to immerse yourself in the music while you drive, or make it easier to navigate through unfamiliar terrain. Performance parts may be purely cosmetic or offer a mix of practical and aesthetic benefits. But what are your options when you decide you want to buy performance car parts? Who are the main suppliers of performance parts?

Personalizing a car makes it yours.
Personalizing a car makes it yours. | Source

The Vehicle Manufacturer

If you’ve paid for a sporty package for a new car, you’ve paid for the manufacture to install a variety of performance parts in the car instead of the standard ones. This may include spoilers, better brakes, improved engine parts and a host of other changes so that you have better acceleration, a faster top speed and improved handling. This is the simplest way to get performance parts, but it is only an option if you custom-order the car or find one on the lot with the performance parts already installed. If you already own the car, this obviously isn’t an option.

The Dealer

The dealer is the middleman between the average car owner and the manufacturer. The average car dealer runs a shop where they maintain cars, service them under the warranty, and can perform other services upon request. If you decide you want performance parts installed on the car, whether it is a spoiler installed on the back of the car or a near total rebuild of the engine, you can ask them to do this. The upside is that they’ll use OEM parts for the job that won’t void your vehicle’s warranty. The parts they use are guaranteed to fit your vehicle, too. In the case of software changes to the car’s computer or technical challenges like installing satellite radio or a more advanced car infotainment center, they have the expertise to resolve the technical glitches.

The downside is that your selection of performance parts is limited to the few items the vehicle manufacturer supplies and the fewer aftermarket parts by authorized suppliers they can offer you. Another problem you’ll face is the cost. The repair shop at the dealer is more expensive than the average mechanic’s shop, and they typically won’t allow you to save money by installing the parts yourself.

Aftermarket Suppliers

One of the biggest benefits of shopping for aftermarket parts is the nearly unlimited selection. You can choose from a wide array of subwoofers, spoilers, and engine upgrades. When you compare aftermarket parts available at an online marketplace, you can sort by color, price, manufacturer, ratings and other options. You can find the cheapest or simplest to install product. You can buy pieces individually or in kits. You can choose kits that could be installed DIY, or you could pick out a kit that a mechanic can install for you. Note that a car dealer isn’t going to install a third party engine performance kit, but the mechanic down the street might.

A side benefit of the aftermarket is that you can mix and match products from different suppliers, though you’re taking a risk that the dimensions aren’t accurate and quality isn’t quite what you expected. Yet you have the ability to research each part in detail and come up with a unique configuration that suits your needs. Choose carefully.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2019 Tamara Wilhite


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