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Honda Civic Tuning Civic Performance Upgrades

Overview of this Article
Tuning your Honda Civic can be a very rewarding experience. Before you depart into your adventure in tuning, you should know how much you are willing to spend and in what general order you should purchase your parts. In this article we have outlined 3 paths that we recommend to our valued customers. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each path in regards to performance tuning and your budget.

The Three Suggested Tuning Paths to Upgrade your Honda Civic
  • The first path (A) is going straight for the most horsepower gains, by using forced induction (e.g. turbo kit or supercharger) as the base setup for your Honda Civic.
  • The second path (B) is to tune your Honda Civic with a naturally aspirated setup (e.g. cold air intake, no turbo or supercharger) as your base.
  • The last path (C) is to get parts that will work for both a naturally aspirated engine and a forced induction setup, then decide later if you want to go forced induction or upgrade your naturally aspirated setup.

For each path we will list a few parts to get you started. By no means is this a complete list of parts to tune your Civic; it's just an idea to get you started. Feel free to email us, or call us and let us know the year, how many doors, and trim level of your Honda Civic and we will assist you in selecting the other optimal performance parts for your Civic.

If your are confused about what naturally aspirated and a forced induction engine setups are you should read our Honda Civic Upgrading FAQ. The upgrading FAQ is a great place for beginners to start to learn about tuning their Honda Civic and a great refresher course for the experienced tuner.

Path A (Forced Induction)
This path requires the biggest upfront investment, but will give you the best gains and the best tuning base to work with. If you have the money, this is the path we recommend. Here are the following parts and actions we recommend:
  • Get a Honda Civic turbo kit (Civic Turbo Kits). A turbo kit comes with headers and its own air intake, and usually some Fuel Delivery Components. Hence, you will not have to purchase headers or a cold air/short ram intake. If an intercooler is not included in your kit, we highly recommend purchasing one at the same time as your kit.
  • If you get a supercharger (Civic Superchargers) instead of a turbo kit, you will need to buy an air intake and headers since superchargers do not typically come with these items.
  • Go to a dyno shop and tune your turbo kit or supercharger. Although this is not necessary on the kits we carry, we generally recommended it for maximum power. If you need help finding one, we can help you.
  • Get a Civic performance exhaust system (Civic Exhausts) and a high-flow catalytic converter.
  • Upgrade your Civic's ignition components such as spark plugs, spark plug wires, ignition coil, modified distributor cap/rotor kit, and a forced induction ignition component. Tuning your Civic's ignition system is a low cost upgrade that will be well worth while for an older Civic. You can find the Civic's ignition components here.
  • If needed, also upgrade your Civic's Fuel Delivery Components.
  • To further increase performance, you can add one of several nitrous systems that we offer. Nitrous significantly cools down the air going into your Civic, which adds a lot of power. If you don't have a turbo kit or supercharger, you can still use nitrous as an extremely cost-effective horsepower upgrade.

Path B (Naturally Aspirated)
If you choose not to go big with a forced induction setup, then you'll be headed down the naturally aspirated path. Here are the following parts and actions we recommend:
  • The most inexpensive item you could get that will give you the best gains is a cold air intake for your Civic. We carry different brands and types of air intakes for Civics (Civic Cold Air Intakes and Civic Short Ram Air Intakes).
  • The second item to purchase in this path should be an exhaust system (Honda Civic Exhausts). All Civic exhaust systems we carry are highly tuned and will give you similar horsepower gains. The choice of what exhaust you select comes down to a preferrence in the exhaust system's look and sound that is produced. One of our favorite exhaust we carry is the Magnaflow catback system. In our opinion it has a great sound that is not too loud, and it looks clean and stylish.
  • Headers and a highflow catalytic converter will be the next part to get in this tuning path. For headers, contact us and let us know your Civic year and trim, and we will select the best configuration for your setup. For the high-flow catalytic converters, we recommend the direct fit and semi direct fit over the universal models. Also, if you live in California please contact us so we can explain the smog laws in regards to catalytic converters. You can find Honda Civic headers here.
  • Upgrade your Civic's ignition components. You can find the Civic's ignition components here.
  • If you are putting out a lot more power, you may also need to upgrade your Civic's Fuel Delivery Components.
The average Civic Tuner takes this path. This path is the best on your wallet and gives you the most gains for the least money spent. We find that new tuners will take this path to get a better feel for Civic customization. Some of the tuners will eventually get a turbo kit or supercharger and others will fine tune their naturally aspirated engine.

Path C (Decide Later)
This path is designed for those Civic Tuners that are undecided on getting a turbo kit or supercharger, and/or will attempt to save up for one. If you are sure you will not get a turbo kit or supercharger anytime in the foreseeable future, then path B is your best path to tune your Civic. Here are the following parts and actions we recommend:
  • Get a Civic performance exhaust system (Honda Civic Exhausts) first.
  • Upgrade your Civic's ignition components. You can find the Civic's ignition components here.
  • Get a highflow catalytic converter.
  • Analyze your budget. If you feel like you will get a turbo kit or supercharger in the near future, keep saving for it. If you are unsure contact us and we will give you some other low priced choices for tuning your Civic with performance parts.

This path will allow you to postpone the decision of committing to a forced induction setup. If you want to tune your Civic to get medium gains and save some cash, you could simply follow path (B). If you feel like your're ready to commit to the high performance of a force induction base, then you could branch into path (A). In other words, starting on path (C) will allow the most flexibility in regards to committing to a forced induction or naturally aspirated configuration.

Honda Civic Tuning Other Sources of Upgrade Ideas
A great place to find ideas on Honda Civic tuning is through magazines. We recommend Civic related magazines for the experienced tuner for gathering great ideas and seeing what is hot. The most useful feature of magazines is the car profile articles, in which you can see what a highly tuned Civic looks like and what makes it run.

Lastly, getting the Haynes Honda Civic Repair Manual will be extremely helpful, whether you are a beginner or expert!