The least expensive way to improve your car’s performance is to put it on a diet. Reducing your car’s weight will improve handling, acceleration, braking, and efficiency. You might not necessarily notice small gains, but the less power your car starts with and the more weight you shed, the more you’ll feel the difference. I experienced this first-hand myself modding my Mazda, but YouTuber ChrisFix just put out a video on the subject and it’s a great illustration of how to take weight out of a modern car for those of you who are visual learners.
ChrisFix is one of YouTube’s most educational car channels, and his POV-style videos are easy to follow along with if you’re inspired by his work to try some of his tips yourself. He recently picked up a high-mileage E46 BMW 330xi to turn into an endurance race car, and I couldn’t think of a better channel to thoroughly run through this kind of process. His intended racing series: The 24 Hours of LeMons, so you know he got this thing for super cheap. Utilizing his excited New Jersey accent and expert filming, Chris goes through every why and how, as well as a very detailed step by step process, to removing almost every interior component from his cheap Bavarian heap.
He starts by getting some hard baseline data by measuring the car’s 0-60 and braking performance on a closed course. He achieves around a 6.8 second 0-60 time, though experiences some pretty poor braking performance. The latter is most likely rooted in worn pads, rotors, and tires.
Then, he breaks out the wrenches and Torx bits and goes to town removing everything! I mean, the process is pretty much “parts pulled off, and Bob’s your uncle.” It’s really quite satisfying to watch even if you’re not planning on dismantling your own car’s interior any time soon.
What’s extra cool is that he utilizes a set of automotive scales to track his progress, and shows how much weight is being shed through various steps; the seats, the trunk components, trim pieces, etc. He even buys dry ice to freeze up the pesky sound deadening under the carpet. He then smashes it off with a rubber mallet. Man, I really want to do that to a race car project someday; it looks like fun.
Sure enough, it all pays off: he removed around 400 pounds which equates to a 0-60 time that’s a whole 0.80 seconds faster, and the car even brakes significantly shorter! Once he’s got racing brakes and rubber mounted up, stopping distance will drop even more.
Of course, this is all relegated to race car things, especially once his full roll cage is welded in. Though, if one were inclined to do similar extensive weight loss to their own track rat that they drive on the street, it could really pay off. They’d just have to put up with a lot more road and wind noise.
Needless to say, I’m excited to see how ChrisFix’s project progresses along!