Lower, faster, wider – tips for car tuning

Had you known? The VW beetle was one of the first tuned cars. While the main aim in the 1950s was to get more engine power out of the cars, from the 1970s onwards they were also given a facelift. And even today, many people don’t want an off-the-shelf car, but something individual and eye-catching. cornering predator thanks to sport suspension or the famous "evil eye" with new headlights? Almost anything is possible in car tuning. But is everything allowed? The dos and don’ts of car tuning. We clarify.

Sebastian’s BMW is his pride and joy. Two years ago he bought the 3-series coupe, year of construction 2011, used and was happy as can be. Until he discovers tuned versions of his model online for the first time.
Next to it, his seems almost a bit boring. Maybe he could also freshen up his car a bit? Sebastian orders a tuning catalog and is amazed at what is possible, from improved driving characteristics to a refined look.

What is possible in car tuning?

Engine tuning

Anything that subsequently increases power or efficiency is called engine tuning. If the focus is on fuel-saving properties, this is referred to as eco-tuning.
Sports exhaust systems, for example, ensure that exhaust gases escape evenly and quickly. Sports rear mufflers, on the other hand, provide a more powerful sound pattern.

Chip tuning

Where screws were used in the past, today the engine electronics are simply reprogrammed using a laptop. Important: no matter which brand – this only works with modern engines.

Three variants are possible: either the chip for the engine control is replaced or a new software overwrites the old chip software. In addition, there is the possibility of a "black or power box" to install. In this case, another chip is then installed.

Since chip boxes simulate certain situations for the control unit, engine damage can occur if they are incorrectly adapted. Generally a professional should take over the chip-tuning.

Chassis tuning

A standard suspension system is a compromise between ride comfort and sportiness. Tuning the suspension gives the car a sportier feel.
The popular lowering of the car is also part of the chassis tuning and is done for aerodynamic reasons.

Wheel and brake replacements are also included in this category. Car tuners can, for example, install more visually appealing rims or wider tires. This tuning measure is so popular that many car manufacturers even offer it ex works.

Body tuning

Here it’s all about visual aspects. Popular measures are effect paints, front and rear spoilers or sport radiator grilles. These are also usually no problem for the vehicle registration. The situation is different for comprehensive body kits. This involves several components that are optically adapted to each other. Typical scope of such a kit are front and rear bumper and matching side skirts. Other parts such as spoilers or air intakes can also be included.

While some deliberately retain a visual similarity to the standard model, "extreme body kits" change the vehicle’s appearance very significantly. Often the original brand is then hardly recognizable. Currently in vogue are the so-called "bolt-on overfenders. Loosely translated, this means "riveted fender flares". These are extreme wide bodies.
Please note: most modifications to the vehicle must be approved by the TuV.

Exterior tuning

Lighting tuning is also very popular. The possibilities are numerous, but not all of them are legal. In case of doubt, tuners should consult a test expert. Furthermore, exterior tuning also includes add-on parts such as sports windshield wipers or sports exterior mirrors.

A simple tuning measure is the application of glass foils. Privacy films protect against inward glances, and security films can even protect against break-ins and theft. Colored films can be used to spice up the appearance of the windshields, but applying them to the windshield, for example, is only permitted to a limited extent.

Interior tuning

The interior of your own car can also be changed in many ways. This includes sports steering wheels, LED interior and speedometer lighting, sports seats, special floor mats, repainting of the dashboard, and much more.

Allowed is what pleases and complies with the road traffic licensing regulations (stvzo). With these test seals you are on the safe side:

  • Parts certificate (TGA)
  • General operating permit for vehicle parts (ABE)
  • General type approval (ABG)
  • EC or ECE approval
  • supplements or extracts from the vehicle permit

After the installation of tuning parts with a parts certificate, officially recognized experts from the TuV check whether the parts have been installed correctly and whether the specified restrictions or requirements have been met. The correct installation is then certified with an "installation certificate.

What does a car tuning cost??

Sebastian would like new, sleeker rims for his BMW. To get the overall picture right, he wants to have his car lowered as well. For this he needs a new suspension with sport springs and sport shock absorbers. A high-quality sport exhaust system is to be installed for rich driving noises. So he quickly comes to a total bill of 3.500 euros for his new dream car. But he does not have so much left. So sebastian takes out a 12-month easycredit installment loan.

Generally, the costs for a car tuning vary greatly. Some workshops specialize in tuning and tune the individual dream car for their customers. Experienced mechanics can also do a lot of the work themselves and thus save cash. A good compromise is to go to the DIY workshop. There, all the necessary equipment is available for a reasonable fee, and there are usually experts on site who can help with questions.

please note: a tuned car "marke eigenbau" can mean a considerable reduction in value. Because vehicles with very special conversions are often difficult to resell. What’s more, hobby tuners should find out exactly what the road traffic regulations are. Improper conversions can jeopardize the vehicle’s registration! If in doubt, contact an inspection expert at the relevant inspection authority. this person can best assess whether the planned car tuning is permissible.

Tuning catalogs:
these specialized catalogs offer a good overview and are suitable above all for a first orientation. With special offers, bargain hunters can also get hold of very inexpensive parts here.

online trade:
here the price comparison between individual dealers is very easy. But beware of dubious offers! Cheap components from abroad are often not permitted in germany because they do not meet the local safety regulations.

Online forums:
since many hobby tuners change their equipment again and again, you often find good bargains here. Sometimes collective orders are also organized here to obtain discounts.

Thanks to financial reserves, additional costs are no problem

After sebastian has informed himself well and bought his components, he spends the whole weekend in his best friend marko’s workshop. Fortunately, he is a car mechanic in the family business. But when they’re finished, sebastian isn’t satisfied: the front seats now look a bit dowdy to him. A few new ones are absolutely necessary. In an auto-tuning forum, a member offers great leather seats for 950 euros. sebastian absolutely has to have it! These additional costs, however, he has not taken into account. It’s a good thing he also took out a financial reserve with his easycredit loan. So he can extend his credit without paperwork with just one click. marko and sebastian will be installing the new seats the very next weekend.

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