An increase in the amount of aftermarket performance parts for Hondas since the 1990s has made boosting horsepower easier and cheaper. Whether you drive a Civic or a Pilot, there are many options for increasing horsepower in your Honda. Some options can be bolted on in a few hours, while others need to be performed by a trained technician. Increasing the horsepower will give you a faster, better sounding car, and can improve fuel efficiency.

Things You Will Need

  • Air intake
  • Performance exhaust
  • Camshaft
  • Camshaft gear(s)
  • Turbo
  • Nitrous
  • Screwdriver
  • Sockets
  • Ratchet

Step 1

IntakeInstall an air intake or a cold air intake. Intakes can be installed with a few simple hand tools, usually in less than an hour. Loosen the clamp that secures the factory air intake to the throttle body,and remove the factory air filter housing. Install the new air intake by sliding the sleeve connector over the throttle body and tightening the clamps.

Step 2

ExhaustUpgrade the exhaust. The stock exhaust is restrictive. If you are moving more air into the engine with an aftermarket intake, you should also move more air out of the engine by upgrading the exhaust system. There are a few ways you can do this. For the most horsepower you can replace the entire exhaust system. This includes the exhaust manifold (headers), catalytic converter, increase the exhaust pipe size, and add a performance muffler. For a less expensive option you can choose to add a cat-back system. This increases the exhaust pipe size from the catalytic converter to the performance muffler. This will yield less horsepower than upgrading the entire exhaust system, but will be a cheaper option. You can either purchase a cat-back exhaust system or have your local muffler shop make one for your vehicle.

Step 3

Upgrade the engine. In order to see significant gains in horsepower you will ultimately need to modify the engine. You can start by adding a performance camshaft and camshaft gear(s). Porting and polishing the head will allow more air into the engine by increasing the size of the intake ports. More air entering the engine equals more horsepower. This can get expensive, but it is money well spent.

Step 4

Give the engine a boost. Add a nitrous oxide system to the vehicle. You can get nitrous kits that add 50 to 100 extra horsepower at the push of a button. Don't over do it, otherwise you run the risk of blowing the motor. One of the more expensive options is to add a turbo to the vehicle. Since the vehicle did not come with a turbo it requires a fair amount of modification to install it. Once installed you will significantly increase the horsepower in your Honda.
There are a lot of options to consider when increasing the horsepower in your Honda. These are just a few suggestions to get you started. You can start with small weekend projects and work your way up into full engine customization.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start with the smaller modifications first. Make sure that the engine is in good mechanical condition before performing any modifications.
  • If you choose to install a cold air intake you should also install a bypass valve. This will prevent water from being sucked into the engine if you drive through a deep puddle.
  • Gradually increase the horsepower.
  • Remember to reconnect any vacuum lines and sensors that were disconnected during installation.
  • Nitrous oxide systems are generally not street legal. They are designed for use at a race track.
  • Do not install more nitrous than your Honda engine can handle.
  • Do not install a turbo that boosts to more than your engine can handle.