How to get 15 Extra Horsepower from Your Pickup

pickup engineRaising the horsepower in your pickup is not a difficult task. There are some economic add-ons that easily accomplish the task, while other options might cost a bit more but the gains are substantially higher than 15 added horsepower. A little knowledge in physics will help to understand how an engine can perform to its optimum level and even beyond.

Cold Air Intake

Cold air intake systems come in add-on kits sold by various auto parts stores. Cold air intake systems consist of a scoop, usually mounted on or behind the front grill, and have a flexible tube that transports colder outside air into the air intake of the engine. The reasoning is that cold air is more dense and has more oxygen. More oxygen translates to faster and more efficient fuel burning in the cylinders. As the speed of the truck increases, so does the ram effect of the air entering the intake.

Super/Turbo Chargers

Super chargers or turbo chargers can be a more expensive option for increasing horsepower. Both systems use the same principle; they force more air into the combustion chamber, speeding up fuel/air mixture ignition. They work by driven belts or chain drives from the engine’s crank. A turbocharger functions by the power of flowing exhaust gases which drives a turbine. A supercharger has an impeller that forcibly drives more air into the intake. Either system will add additional horsepower.

Spark Plugs

High-performance spark plugs are an easy option for increasing horsepower in your pickup. The newer iridium and platinum spark plugs are designed to spark faster and more efficiently than standard or stock plugs. A complete saturation burn of the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber will harness all available power, leaving behind the least amount of unburned fuel. These plugs are also an exceptional choice for increasing gas mileage.

Exhaust Modifications

Cat-back exhaust is a catalytic converter that has wider apertures and free flowing tubes and pipes. Free-flow mufflers have the same type of design and function. These components reduce excessive exhaust back-pressure, allowing complete and fast evacuation of the exhaust gases, which increases throttle response and heightens performance at all levels of engine RPM. Bolt-on headers, which have slick interior surfaces and gentle pipe bends, also achieve faster exhaust flow and decrease the interference of back-pressure.


High performance electronic computer chips are available on the market. These chips have various performance parameters and can be used to boost horsepower. They achieve horsepower increases by sending a signal to the fuel injection system which fine-tunes or perfects the air/fuel ratio. This increases overall performance and throttle response. Gas mileage may suffer slightly due to the increased fuel demands where applicable, but the horsepower gains may be significant.

Photo credit: wbaiv / / CC BY-SA


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