Engineering Explained host Jason Fenske is currently planning the modifications for his own project Honda S2000. He has some great things in store for that car, but he also has a bit of advice for those of us looking to modify our own cars. To that end, he's created a list of his top five best first mods for any vehicle. It's a simple list but it makes a great deal of sense, and Jason is good at explaining his reasoning behind each item on the list.
It all starts with tires. This shouldn't be a shock. A good set of tires will take a good vehicle to another level. They can even make a mediocre vehicle a lot more fun. A fresh set of tires is pretty much the most important modification you can explore. You'd be amazed what a proper set of rubber can do for any vehicle.
Next up is brakes. You have the right tires, but you also need to have the right stopping gear. If you upgrade you can drive aggressively for a longer period of time. How is that possible? The main job of brakes is to turn kinetic energy into heat. It is how well they handle that heat that determines how they will do on a long, twisty road or a racetrack. If they can't handle it, they will fade. If they can, you can keep using them over and over.
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Jason also suggests swapping in a limited-slip differential if your car doesn't already have one. An LSD helps you put the power to the pavement coming out of a turn, and Jason does a good job of describing its advantages.
Next, he recommends changing the final drive ratio, which can make your car faster even though you don't add any horsepower. You can swap in new gears and increase your acceleration off the line.
Finally, Jason suggests changing out the stock exhaust system for one that's a bit lighter. This is more about shedding weight than adding noise, and it will require some aftermarket research.
Follow this advice, and you're well on your way to crafting a project machine that will make you smile every time you turn the key.