The Chevy Camaro has one sole purpose, and that is to rival the Ford Mustang. It has done its job extraordinarily well. It has even proven itself a viable pony car option to choose from instead of the widely popular Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger/Charger. Aside from being a top contender, this gas-guzzling vehicle is also an exceptional platform for modification. .
You can only do so much with this car aesthetic-wise, but you can certainly remove some of its stock parts in place of new ones. By introducing aftermarket parts to your vehicle, you can significantly improve its performance. Whether it’s for power like turbos and superchargers or for handling and stance like coilovers, we’re pretty sure that the right performance mod will set you and your car up for some great and exciting time.
If you’re looking for the best performance modifications for the Chevy Camaro, then you’re here just in time. Below are the best ones to get for both the fifth and sixth generation of the Chevy Camaro.
#1 Exhaust Systems
Adding an aftermarket exhaust system to your Camaro can be incredibly satisfying since the effects are observed almost instantly. A Chevy Camaro is an ideal platform for an exhaust system because the new aggressive sound you’re going to get will complement the car’s bold look.
If you’re searching for an aftermarket exhaust for your Chevy Camaro, you’ll eventually land on two choices: a cat-back or an axle-back. Cat-backs are more versatile since they keep the catalytic converter, providing both performance gains and excellent sound output. Pick cat-backs if you want both improved performance and sound quality.
Axle-back, on the other hand, is the more affordable option. It only includes the muffler, and it’s far cheaper than the cat-back exhaust. Aside from that, it’s easier to install compared to cat-backs. It’s the best route to tread on if you only care about the quality of your car’s sound. The only downside to axle backs, however, is the lack of performance gains it can give you.
There’s an abundance of aftermarket exhaust systems for the Chevrolet Camaro, so you have many options to choose from. Most car enthusiasts opt for exhausts that sound loud and aggressive because, admit it, a quiet pony car doesn’t feel right. Aftermarket exhaust systems also improve your car’s gas mileage, increased performance, and some reduction in backpressure.
- Cat-Back: Borla ATAK® Cat-Back
- Axle-Back: Corsa Performance Xtreme Axle-Back Exhaust System
Most car enthusiasts opt for exhaust systems for sound improvement and not for performance gains. Sure enough, exhausts can increase your car’s horsepower, but only about 2-5%. In Camaros with large engines, you can expect a minimal increase of 2-3%. Aftermarket exhausts are great for the exhaust tone it provides, but for legitimate power gains? Not so much.
Headers can make a significant improvement to your engine’s performance. Basically, headers are just like exhaust manifolds but improved and remastered. It’s built for all-out performance and as well as an enhanced exhaust flow. Headers have a separate tube dedicated for each exhaust port, which is directly responsible for the exhaust flow improvement.
Camaro owners are advised to get long tube headers instead of shorties. Shorties have a terrible reputation amongst the Camaro community because the performance gains it gives aren’t even close to what long tubes can provide. The recommended diameter for headers is 1.75″, but if you’re transforming your fifth or sixth-gen Camaro into a full race car, then you can go for headers with larger diameters.
- BBK Performance Parts Long Tube Headers
- Hooker Long Tube Headers
#3 Intake Systems
Another way to optimize your performance gains is the addition of intake systems. Aftermarket intake systems can be a great way of adding additional horsepower and torque to your engine, not to mention how squeaky clean the air would be before it even enters the engine. The numbers wouldn’t be sky-high, but it’s not that bad when you think about it from an efficiency standpoint.
Aftermarket intake systems substitute the restrictive stock intake in your car with a more free-flowing and smoother system consisting of mandrel-bent tubes and innovative air filters. Today, most intakes offer air filters that went through rigorous R&D just to make air filtration as efficient as possible.
Aftermarket air intake systems feed colder, cleaner, and more oxygen-rich air to your Camaro’s engine in a nutshell. It basically helps your car breathe better for just below half a grand.
If you’ve got yourself some turbocharged/supercharged Chevy Camaro like the ZL1 or the 1LS/1LT, then hats off to you; you’ve got great taste. But if you’ve got the other trims that are not fitted in with either a turbocharger or a supercharger, then don’t worry; you can always fit one in your car. Although they will hurt your wallet so much, turbos and superchargers are probably the best power mods you can get for your Chevy Camaro.
Let’s go over the two really quickly: Turbos operates using the velocity and exhaust gas heat. Superchargers are mechanically driven by the engine using a belt that’s latched onto the crankshaft. The former’s drawback is turbo lag, while the latter is efficiency. Both of them are steroids, and the two of them can produce a significant boost in your engine’s horsepower.
To keep it short and simple, pick turbochargers if you want a decent boost in horsepower, can tolerate some turbo lag, and still care about fuel efficiency. However, if you’re going to be a real speed demon that wants to satiate their need for speed immediately and doesn’t give a crap about fuel economy, then go for superchargers.
#5 ECU Tune
After introducing power upgrades like exhausts, headers, and turbochargers (or superchargers), the next best thing to do is get your car’s ECU tuned. For the most part (intakes, exhaust, and headers), an ECU tune won’t be necessary. But once you’ve got either a turbo or a supercharger, then you’d have to.
You need to get a tune because you’re trying to force in more air than the engine usually operates on. By getting your ECU tuned, you’re telling your ECU to match the air with the right amount of fuel, or else you’re risking your car on running lean. Running too lean will inevitably lead to your car’s demise.
Not only does an ECU tune help acclimate your Chevy Camaro with the major upgrades you’ve installed, but it can also increase your car’s horsepower and torque, improve its vehicle response and as well as its fuel economy. What’s more, you can even get multiple sets of remaps so you can switch between them depending on the application you need!
#6 Suspension Upgrades
Now that we’re finally done with power mods, let’s talk about how you want your car to look – without mentioning any aesthetic mods. Do you want your Chevy Camaro to look more assertive than it already is? It’s already a mean-looking machine, but we can even ramp up that furious bold appearance by lowering its ride height.
To slam your car effectively to the ground, you’ll be needing some suspension mods. And most likely, you’ll end up with one of these two: lowering springs, coilovers.
Lowering springs are what the name suggests: they’re just springs that can lower your car down to a preset ride height. These are simple, straightforward, and low-cost solutions you can get for your Chevy Camaro.
If you’re into spirited street driving, weekend track duty, or even the domination of the quarter-mile, then your best shot would be coilovers. It offers both ride height reduction and damper setting adjustments and is excellent for customized driving needs.
#7 Performance Brakes
We know that safety should be first, but we’re putting performance brakes last on this list because it’s one of the most underrated mods for fast and powerful pony cars like the Chevy Camaro. We don’t like to admit it, but powerful vehicles like the Chevy Camaro are very prone to accidents, the more reason you should get more powerful brakes.
Once we’re in the zone, and for some reason, we need to stop the car immediately, we’re going to need all the stopping power we can get. Don’t get us wrong! Chevrolet did one hell of a great job with their brakes, but just for an extra level of safety, we recommend that you get your hands on some aftermarket brakes for more stopping power.
The Chevy Camaro belongs to the herd of pony cars that roams the streets of the USA. It stood the test of time, and throughout many years, it has proven itself not only as a fast, reliable, and robust car but also an impressive platform for modification.