Car Tuning

Ever since the first vehicles left the assembly line many years ago, car enthusiasts have been tuning and modifying the engines and bodies of their vehicles.

These enthusiasts have gone out of their way to take a bland vehicle and redesign it to suit their taste. This modifying is commonly referred to as car tuning.

Car tuning is popular all over the world wherever vehicles are available. Whether the tuning is done out of interest for the appearances, performance or both; understanding the various styles of car tuning and what’s involved with each style. This list isn’t complete by any means, but it gives a brief summary of the most popular styles.

What is Car Tuning?

Car TuningCar tuning is the modification or alteration of a vehicle to improve the appearance or performance of a particular vehicle. Whenever tuning is done to enhance performance purposes, the engine will be custom tuned to suit the enthusiasts desire for maximum power output.

There are various ways one can go about tuning an engine. The enthusiast may wish to increase the horsepower, improve the fuel economy, etc.

However, performance tuning doesn’t just stop with the engine. Other focus areas will include the handling abilities, the braking power, and the maximum torque produced.

When a modification is done for appearances, the tuning may involve installing an aggressive body kit to improve aerodynamics, or to add emphasis to a particular part of the vehicle. Most of the time, the vehicle will be tuned with performance and aesthetic purposes.

The Different Types of Styling

The amount of procedures any one style requires is too numerous, below are a few different styles that have withstood the test of time.

The Rat Rod

This is one of the easiest styles to recognize. This style’s origin dates back to the 1940’s all the way up through the 60’s. The rat rod is a vehicle that is tuned to the best of abilities, but looking at the exterior you would never know.

The rat rod frequently projects the image of an unfinished project. The engine is often exposed and the various parts of the body may look like they came from various other vehicles. The rat rod is the Frankenstein of the car world.

The reason why this style often appears unfinished is because all the elements that have been considered to be unnecessary have been removed. These parts often add additional weight or are unappealing.

Fenders, hoods, and bumpers may be removed to support this style. This vehicle may be lowered to for an aggressive stance and the engine is larger to produce maximum power.

The types of vehicle used for these projects don’t have to be just cars. In fact, they can be anything from smaller cars, to pickup trucks. The main distinguishing point is the unfinished look and a larger engine.


Usually models of this build are from European manufactured vehicles such as Audi, Porsche, BMW, etc. The paint job is usually one defined color throughout the body of the vehicle. The vehicle is lowered and the features are usually sleek.

In essence, the car should project the image of sleek, fast and luxurious appearance. The tires can be smaller but most will be larger sports tires that are designed to grip the road better.

The Low-rider

This vehicle gives the impression of having an aggressive appearance because of how low the vehicle sits low to the ground. The appearance is refined and includes flashy looking wheels, a premium paint job with or without a graphic design, and a customized interior that is more luxurious than practical.

The appearance of being a low rider can be achieved by installing a hydraulic suspension and switching out large tires for smaller ones. Tuning the vehicles like this will affect the gravity and change the aerodynamic elements of the vehicle. These upgrades are frequently done for just looks instead of performance.

The Hot Rod

The base vehicles for this particular style may be older and classic cars that frequented the streets during the 1930’s and 1940’s. The rat rod style and hot rod style may seem similar, but they’re different in the fact that hot rods frequently use older style vehicles. They may not be as heavily modified as other styles, in fact, this style is a little more hands off.

Show Cars or Trailer Queens

These cars are often picked up as antiques and restored to their complete originality. Often times, these vehicles will not be daily drivers, instead, they stay in a garage until its contest time.

The purpose of these vehicles is to attract as much attention in the showroom as possible. These cars may or may not be operational and may be illegal to drive on the roads or highways.

Rice Burner

This term is often used in an offensive term that is aimed at vehicles that originated in Japan or Asia. They often appear to be high performance influenced, but most will not meet the expectations of a performance vehicle. Nissan vehicles are a very popular foundation for this style of tuning.