Legal Mods 101: Performance



Singapore –

We recently showed you how to beautify your car within the purview of the law, as well as adding value to your machine at the same time.

But of course the human urge is not just towards beauty but also making things perform better than they already are. If we didn’t, then we’d still be riding around in horse carts drawn, we expect, by very pretty horses.

It’s also inevitable that when cars appeared, people thought of ways to make them go faster, and shortly after that, other people thought of ways to stop the people who thought of ways to make the car go faster.

But to cut a century old story short, it can be tricky to modify a car because there are regulations enforced, for good reason, and limits to what can be done on a road-legal passenger car.

A solution? Going with an Authorised Dealer (AD) is the way to go when buying or taking care, as it offers you the greatest peace of mind. So it’s not a big stretch to see that the same thing goes for official modifications.

As re-iterated in our story on cosmetic mods, official parts sourced from an AD are guaranteed to work with the car model they’re designed for, come with an original parts guarantee, and can actually help add value to a car’s overall value. The latter isn’t something you can say for third-party modifications.

For Toyota and its AD Borneo Motors, the official modifications are sourced from Toyota Racing Development, which has a huge range of parts to choose from. TRD handles all of Toyota’s official motorsport activities, which in its long history has meant everything from LeMans to Formula One, so it’s safe to say TRD knows a thing or three about making a Toyota perform better. Here’s what it has to offer:

One oft-overlooked area for improvement is a car’s suspension. Suspension helps make the tyres work better – and tyres are the single most important factor affecting a car’s performance. Ever seen a Formula One car drive on slicks in the rain, for instance?

To start off modestly, you could change the springs of your car for a more sporty set. A set of TRD coil springs for the Corolla Altis lowers the ride height of the car in addition to having a higher spring rate, which makes for improved handling and body control.

A bigger step would be to install a set of coil-over suspension units, like the ones shown here which are for the Toyota Alphard and Vellfire will make a car handle, ride and generally feel better to drive.

While there are strict limits to engine power mods, you can do plenty of other, very legal things to tweak engine performance. First of all, choosing a top-level motor oil and oil filter will help your engine run better in every respect. TRD works with technology partner Motul to create sport-biased engine oil, as shown here, as well as other crucial fluids like transmission or gearbox oil.

Shown here is a TRD Oil Filter (left, price varies with application) and TRD Sport Engine Oil (right, price varies with application. Borneo Motors even offers a package deal for ‘sport’ servicing like this.

TRD also makes air filters that let in more air for a small boost to power – and you can be sure that these filters operate just as well as the stock ones when it comes to reliability. If not, you’d be just as worse off using fake parts which can easily cause an engine to fail, which is something that isn’t cheap to fix.

The one shown here is for a Toyota Corolla Altis which offers less intake resistance and better airflow paired with improved filtering capabilities.

And lastly, depending on model, TRD even offers the ‘holy grail’ of performance upgrades: An approved, road-legal exhaust system. The one shown here is the TRD High Response Muffler Version R for the Toyota 86 which improves the sound of the engine as well as its response.

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