Father's Day weekend just ended and July 4th around the corner. Summertime festivities have already begun and will be seeing alot of activity this year. But we forget one thing, our vehicles. I'm not just highlighting this topic because I also own a detailing company, it's because of the accidents that are already being reported, the kinds of accidents and the tragedies resulting. Yes the day is clear, the road is nice and flat, all dressed up and a Bar-b-q at the end of the trek. But we get carried away enjoying the drive, pacing too fast and having too much confidence that we can text and drive. It's a shame, I still see on a daily basis the amount of drivers, holding their cell phones while driving on all the parkways and highways. Worse, the kinds of cars that do end up in accidents are your average sedans and SUV's. When a vehicle is made at the factory, it is made to pass basic regulation. But when you're out there driving your car in conditions above what it can handle, you're now more susceptible to more serious injuries if not death. Unfortunately, many cars are locked into warranties and you are not allowed to upgrade your car while the warranty is still in effect. The Tuner world grew from bootlegging days and as such with its long standing rivalry with law enforcement, upgrading your car has always been seen as "childish" or a waste of money. But being a "tuner" myself, I want to share the benefits of the upgrades we do, in hopes of enlightening those of you with a passion for driving or just a heavy foot or just want to be more cautious while on the road if you feel you maybe not be the best driver out there. Remember, the following may void your warranty so speak to your dealership before you make any investments in case you are locked into one. Otherwise, listen up! Going fast, feels good to some and is done by all of us from time to time. But the best upgrade anyone can do is upgrading your stopping power. Whether you get bigger calipers or bigger rotors or both. Reducing your stopping distance is integral to avoiding serious accidents if you're someone who likes to go fast. Next up is tightening your suspension. Back in the day, stiffer shocks killed your ride quality but with many advances, you can recoup some smoothness to your handling. With a combination of better suspension and of course lowering the car, your center of gravity is lower and this reduces lift at high speeds which result in instability. You vehicle is more "planted" on the road, the corners on those on/off ramps and unexpected sharp turns will be better handled, reducing if not eliminating spin out or having your back tires squeal. Which bring us to upgrading tire grades. Many to chose from, so think about the road conditions you have to drive in and the quality of the roads in which you live, coupled with how you "want" to drive. Have the guy at the tire shop make recommendations accordingly and then you decide. Result, a stronger car, better handling and greater stopping power. Did you ever think that those body kits were just for show? Think again. More specifically "aero kits" that focus on "side skirts" help reduce air lift under the car. If your engine is not fighting lift, then it will go forward better, increasing MPG actually. Besides, they make the car look better. Rear spoilers reduce wind drag aerodynamics by breaking up the force of the wind, as it passes over the car. A cosmetic upgrade and better MPG's at the same time. Last area to touch on and if you're a hands on person we can look at a few things inside the engine (wouldn't be fair to leave this part out). I prefer 3 simple upgrades. A bigger intake system, wider exhaust pipes and upgraded spark plugs. Simply put, more air in for better fuel combustion, more air out for better "breathability" and more efficient use of the burn with quicker, bigger and better sparks from the spark plug. Fuel efficiency is the biggest benefactor in this case. I did these 3 things to may engine and I can get 400 miles a tank even when cruising at 70MPH, on a 95 model pushing 195,000 miles. In the end, you can hit the road feeling confident that you can stop quicker, be more stable on the road and get better fuel economy from your vehicle. If you're a family person, you can breath better knowing you can trust that you have a better vehicle. Heavy footers and cautious drivers can feel more confident and more prepared in the event of something happening. And if you just want to enjoy your investment, make it last and get the most for your money, theses are things you can consider. With people out there texting and talking on their phones while driving, you will be seeing more avoidable accidents this year (sad to say) but you can do what you can on your side to be more prepared. That summer smile just got wider.