What are some cheap ways to improve a car’s performance, acceleration, and speed?
-Reduce weight. Don’t carry around a load of junk in the trunk.
-Properly inflate your tires. Get a tire gauge, and check the inflation every few weeks. Proper PSI should be listed in the owners manual, or on a sticker on the door jamb of the dirvers door.
-Keep your oil changes on schedule. Old oil gets gunky and doesn’t lubricate the engine as well.
-Check the belts and pulleys under the hood - are the belts in good shape, are the pulleys wearing properly, and are any of the pulley bearings bad/out of alignment? (Why waste energy with a pulley that’s out of alignment?)
-Check the gap and change your spark plugs if they need it.
Those are the things I can think of that I can say will make a real difference.These things might or might not work. (I would say that they couldn’t hurt, but there’s no guarantee that they will do much good either.)
-Check your air filter(s), both for the engine and the cabin. If they’re dirty, clean them (if you can), or replace them. Maybe your engine will breathe a bit better, or maybe the inside of your car will just blow slightly cleaner or colder air. Look at the radiator too - is it covered in gunk, or is it clean? Your car wants to run at a certain temperature, and adequate cooling is an important part of that. (Just clean the front/outside with a garden hose and a soft brush.)
-Run an occasional fuel cleaning additive through your car. There are lots of them out there, go to your auto supply store and pick one. Try it - if it seems to make a difference, then use it as directed. If it doesn’t work, at least you tried. There’s probably volumes worth of discussions out there about weather or not these products work or not - if it could put a bit more oomph in your aging car, try it, or not - you decide.