Performance Modifications for better MPG and HP

I’ve been looking into simple and inexpensive ways to increase the efficiency of my car. I have a 2002 Honda Civic VTEC The ones I feel safe investing in that make sense to me are a new intake system, and a new exhaust system. I’m thinking about a performance chip for my car. I’ve also heard about a fuel additive called Ethos that does a good job advertising, that it makes the fuel burn more efficient.

Do these above things actually do what they say they do? What do you think about each of the above?

i have a k and n panel filter,and a performance exhaust,on my 2002 ford.ive noticed an improvement in mid range torque,but economy is roughly the same.the reason i got a performance exhaust is because its stainless steel,so shouldnt need replacing again.with the modifications you mention you can expect about 10-20 hp gain.

Putting on a larger exhaust on your car will not help, and could possbily do more harm that good. Putting on a performance exhaust will help get rid of some backpreasure. However cars like the Civic had small engines with little torque. When you lose backpreasure you also lose torque. You my gain a little high RPM power, but the loss in low end power will more than offset that. You car will also sound like weed eater. And you will be mocked (loudly and often) by those of us with real performance cars. For the intake, again the Civic has a small displacement engine, it doesn’t require any more air than the stock intake provides. With that said you may gain a small amount of power at high RPM because the intake silencer will be removed, but you’ll mostly just be making more noise. As for the chip, your car is OBD II and therefore does use a chip per se. You’ll be using a tuner, expect to pay around $400 for it. I have a Diablosport tuner for my Mustang and it’s fun to play around with. To get the most out of it though you’ll want to get a good dyno tune. Expect to pay another $200-$300 for that. Overall don’t expect much in the way of more power and certainly don’t expect better mileage

I’ve also heard about a fuel additive called Ethos
that does a good job advertising, that it makes the
fuel burn more efficient.

Ethos “works” for only one thing - and that is to make money for the multi-level marketing sales people who are pushing it. It is truly a SCAM. Do a search in this forum for the numerous discussions on it.

FoDaddy has summarized everything - you will see many ads for chips, filters, gas treatments, etc. that claim they improve mileage. They’re all wrong, they’re just trying to take advantage of $4/gallon gas prices. Honda in particular does an excellent job of optimizing its engines. Might you get a little more power at wide open throttle? Yes, but at the cost of noise, mileage, and $$$.

The Honda factory engineers, who are among the best on the planet, have carefully balanced maximum efficiency, engine power, and longevity/reliability. Upset the balance at your own risk.

As far as “Ethos” goes, I have only one word: SCAM.

I think the joy you will have installing these parts on your car cannot be measured in monetary units.You will learn alot with this project.

There is no “simple and inexpensive” way to increase the efficiency of a Honda VTEC engine. The systems are too well-balanced already. Any slight improvement you might gain in performance will be offset by a decline in fuel economy, and vice versa.

As for Ethos, it is worthless junk.

You will never recover the price of the parts, especially if you include the cost of your time to install them. The simplest and lest expensive ways to improve fuel economy are to check and change the fluids regularly, keep the tires properly inflated, and drive sensibly. No speeding, and climb slowly to cruising speed.

When it comes to intake and exhaust, maybe.

The reason that high flow air filters and exhausts seldom provide a significant increase in mpg is that the main air restriction, the “mother of all air restrictions” is the engine’s throttle.

What can you do about the throttle’s air restriction? You can drop the bad habit of always running the engine in that so-called powerband even when the driving task only requires single digit horsepower to accomplish. An engine that is making 10 horsepower at 1500 rpm has a lot less throttle restiction than an engine that is making the exact same horsepower at 4000 rpm.

Back in the 50’s 60’s you could improve a car’s power and mileage with some work on the intake and exhaust. That was back when gas was cheap and Detroit just increased power by using larger engines. Modern cars are far different. There manufacturers have engineered the cars far better and with computer controls and fuel injection there is very little to be gained by messing with the intake and exhaust. It is just not worth the bother for every day driving, even at high fuel prices.

Also many of the products and modifications suggested may actually cause damage or may be illegal.

If you want more power or economy, choose your car accordingly.

Should I say something about pigs and lipstick?

i got a performance exhaust is because its stainless steel,

The stainless steel used in your exhaust system is NOT the same as a the stainless used in making your forks and spoon utensils you have in your home. Stainless steel WILL RUST. It depends on the quality of the stainless. Most OEM exhausts these days are stainless…they still fail. Just takes a while longer.

"Should I say something about pigs and lipstick? "

That depends on whether you want the wrath of the Reaganites on you.

Contrieved outrage? Perhaps so. Not that the Dems are above such tactics. Imagine the buzz you would be hearing right now if the Republicans had used the “monkey in a tuxedo is still a monkey” analogy.