If you own a Dodge Dart or have taken a ride in one before, you’re already familiar with the charm and versatility this vehicle brings to the table. Dodge Darts are more than just reliable and practical sedans- they possess untapped potential waiting to be unleashed.
But if you’ve ever found yourself yearning to push the boundaries and take your Dart to a whole new level of performance, you’ve arrived at the perfect destination. The Dodge Dart is a compact sedan that offers a comfortable and efficient ride, but with a few modifications, you can transform it into a thrilling machine that leaves a lasting impression on the road.
About Dodge Dart
The original Dodge Dart debuted in 1960 as a full-size car and was later downsized to a mid-size car. It became a significant player in the American automobile market during its production from 1960 to 1976. The Dart was known for its affordability, durability, and diverse range of models, including sedans, convertibles, and even performance-oriented variants like the Dart GT and Dart Swinger.
The Dart was reintroduced in 2013 as a compact sedan, marking a revival of the iconic nameplate. This modern iteration of the Dart aimed to capture the spirit of its predecessor while incorporating contemporary design and technology.
However, despite initial excitement, it faced challenges in a highly competitive compact car segment and was eventually discontinued in 2016. While the Dodge Dart is no longer in production, you can still find pre-owned Dart vehicles available for purchase in the used car market.
How to Make Dodge Dart Faster
The Dart is an impressive car in its own right that offers a satisfying level of speed and performance. However, for those enthusiasts who crave even more power and acceleration, there are numerous Dodge Dart performance upgrades available to transform it into a more formidable machine on the road. Here are some common ways of enhancing Dodge Dart speed and overall performance;
Engine tuning stands as one of the most effective methods of boosting the speed and overall performance of a Dart. This process involves the reprogramming of your engine’s computer to optimize fuel and air mixture ratios, ignition timing, and other engine settings. By carefully adjusting these settings you can unlock a substantial increase in power output.
The primary goal of engine tuning is to extract more power and torque from the engine, which translates to a faster and more responsive vehicle. The ECU remap or tuning process fine-tunes these parameters to maximize efficiency, resulting in improved acceleration and overall speed.
Performance tuners and ECU remaps come in various forms, from plug-and-play devices to custom software programs installed by professionals. Each method has its advantages, catering to different preferences and budgets.
Air Intake and Exhaust Upgrades
Air intake and exhaust upgrades focus on optimizing the engine’s airflow, which is a crucial factor in achieving higher horsepower and torque figures. These upgrades are often considered one of the more accessible modifications, and they’re known to provide noticeable performance gains.
Upgrading the air intake system involves replacing the factory air filter and intake components with high-flow alternatives. High-flow air filters, specifically, allow a greater volume of air to enter the engine, providing a more efficient combustion process.
This results in a significant increase in horsepower and torque, particularly at higher RPMs. The improved airflow also contributes to better throttle response, making your vehicle feel more responsive when you press the gas pedal.
Performance exhaust upgrades are another effective way to improve airflow and boost your vehicle’s performance. These upgrades typically involve replacing the stock exhaust components with a performance-oriented system.
This system features larger-diameter pipes and less restrictive mufflers, which allow exhaust gases to exit the engine more efficiently. The enhanced exhaust flow leads to increased horsepower and, consequently, improved speed performance. Additionally, a performance exhaust system often produces a more aggressive engine note, adding to the overall driving experience.
Turbocharging or Supercharging
Turbocharging and supercharging are advanced engine modifications that can dramatically increase the power output of your Dart. These forced induction systems are designed to force more air into the engine, allowing for a more efficient combustion process and, consequently, more power.
A turbocharger, often referred to as a turbo, is a device that uses exhaust gases to drive a turbine connected to a compressor. This compressor, in turn, forces additional air into the engine’s intake manifold. With more air available for combustion, the engine can burn more fuel, resulting in significantly increased power output.
Turbos are known for their ability to provide a considerable boost in horsepower and torque, which can make your Dart feel noticeably faster and more responsive. Turbocharging also offers the advantage of improved fuel efficiency as it allows for a smaller engine to produce more power when needed, which reduces fuel consumption during cruising.
A supercharger, on the other hand, is a mechanical compressor that is driven directly by the engine’s crankshaft. Unlike a turbocharger, which relies on exhaust gases, a supercharger provides immediate and consistent boost throughout the entire RPM range. This results in near-instantaneous throttle response and continuous power delivery.
Supercharging offers a more linear power curve compared to turbos, making it a great choice for those who seek immediate and consistent power increases. However, it’s worth noting that superchargers can consume more engine power to operate, which might slightly affect overall efficiency.
Suspension and Handling Upgrades
Suspension and handling components are vital modifications to consider if you want to make your Dodge Dart faster and improve its overall performance, especially when it comes to handling and cornering capabilities. This process involves enhancing various components of your vehicle’s suspension system, such as shocks, struts, springs, and sway bars.
Sportier Shocks and Struts
Upgrading your Dart’s shocks and struts with sportier, performance-oriented versions can have a profound impact on how the vehicle handles. Sportier shocks and struts are designed to provide better damping control, which reduces body roll and maintains tire contact with the road during aggressive driving maneuvers. This results in improved stability and control, allowing your car to handle high-speed corners and sudden changes in direction with greater precision.
Performance springs are designed to lower your Dart’s ride height and improve its overall balance. Lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity enhances stability during cornering and reduces body roll, which is especially beneficial at higher speeds. Performance springs also provide a sportier and more aggressive appearance, giving your Dart a meaner stance.
Sway bars, also known as anti-roll bars, play a crucial role in controlling body roll during cornering. Upgrading to larger, stiffer sway bars can help to reduce body roll even further, improving your Dart’s ability to navigate corners with confidence. This results in more responsive and controlled handling, particularly at high speeds.
The combined effect of these upgrades is a vehicle that feels more responsive and composed when pushed to its limits. It is important to note that these modifications may result in a firmer ride, which some drivers may find less comfortable for daily driving. However, the trade-off is improved performance and control, especially when you want to push your Dart to its full potential.
Switching to high-performance tires is a simple yet highly effective way to significantly enhance the overall performance and speed capabilities of your Dodge Dart. These tires are specifically designed to provide better grip and traction, which can have a profound impact on your vehicle’s ability to put down its power effectively and safely.
Performance tires are engineered with advanced rubber compounds and tread patterns that offer superior grip on both dry and wet surfaces. The improved traction allows your vehicle to maintain better contact with the road, ensuring that power is transferred to the pavement more effectively. As a result, you’ll experience better acceleration, reduced wheel spin, and improved control during spirited driving, all of which contribute to making your Dart faster and more responsive.
Weight reduction is a fundamental strategy for improving the performance and speed of your Dodge Dart. By shedding excess weight, you can make your vehicle faster and more agile, which can have a significant impact on acceleration, handling, and overall driving dynamics.
Begin by identifying and removing unnecessary components from your Dart. This may include rear seats, spare tires, sound-deadening materials, and any interior or exterior parts that aren’t essential for performance or safety.
Replace heavy factory components with lightweight alternatives. For example, consider replacing the stock hood, doors, or wheels with lightweight carbon fiber or aluminum versions. These materials help maintain strength while reducing overall weight.
You may also want to explore aftermarket parts designed specifically for weight reduction, such as lightweight racing seats, carbon fiber body panels, and lightweight exhaust systems. These items can significantly reduce vehicle weight while maintaining or enhancing performance. Each pound saved contributes to better performance.
Aerodynamic enhancements are a valuable modification strategy when aiming to increase the speed and stability of your Dodge Dart, particularly at higher speeds. These enhancements involve adding aerodynamic components such as spoilers, splitters, and diffusers to optimize airflow around and underneath your vehicle.
One of the primary objectives of aerodynamic enhancements is to reduce aerodynamic drag. Adding components like spoilers and splitters, helps shape the airflow around your vehicle, which in turn, minimizes the drag. Reduced drag means less resistance, allowing your vehicle to move more efficiently through the air. This, in turn, contributes to increased speed and improved fuel efficiency, particularly at highway speeds.
Regular maintenance is the cornerstone of achieving and sustaining peak performance for your Dodge Dart. Proper care and attention to your vehicle ensure that it operates at its best, maintains reliability, and continues to deliver the desired level of performance.
In addition, routine maintenance ensures that your Dart’s engine, transmission, and other critical components are in good working condition. This means that the vehicle can perform at its best, delivering the power and efficiency you expect.
Some of the key maintenance tasks that can help improve the performance of your Dart include;
- Oil changes- Regular oil changes are vital for engine health. Fresh oil lubricates engine components, reducing friction and preventing wear. In addition, it’s essential to change the oil and oil filter as per your vehicle’s recommendations.
- Fluid checks- Regularly check and replace fluids such as coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid as needed. Proper fluid levels and quality are critical for maintaining optimal performance.
- Air filter- Replace the air filter according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule. A clean air filter ensures that the engine gets the proper air supply for combustion, contributing to better performance and fuel efficiency.
- Tire maintenance- Keep your tires properly inflated and regularly rotated to ensure even wear. Properly balanced and aligned tires are crucial for both speed and safety.
- Brake inspection- Regularly inspect your brakes for wear and tear. Replacing brake pads, rotors, and other brake components when needed is essential for maintaining stopping power.
- Suspension and steering- Regularly check your Dart’s suspension and steering components for signs of wear or damage. Proper alignment and functioning suspension components are critical for handling and stability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Dodge Dart fuel efficient?
The fuel efficiency of a Dodge Dart can vary widely depending on factors such as the engine, transmission, and model trim. For instance, smaller, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines can achieve approximately 25 to 30 mpg in the city and 35 to 40 mpg on the highway. On the other hand, opting for more powerful engines, like Dodge Dart 2.0 turbo, typically results in lower fuel efficiency, with city mileage in the low 20s and highway mileage in the high 20s or low 30s mpg.
How much HP can a Dodge Dart produce?
The Dodge Dart’s horsepower can range from around 160 to over 300, depending on the engine and any aftermarket modifications. Generally, you can achieve significantly higher horsepower by using aftermarket modifications, such as engine upgrades, performance tuning, and forced induction (turbocharging or supercharging). In some cases, heavily modified Dart vehicles can surpass 300 HP or more.
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The Parting Shot!
The Dart comes in a distinctive styling and a modern design that appeals to many buyers. For those who crave even more power and the thrill of higher speeds, there’s a world of opportunity waiting through modifications and upgrades. With the right enhancements, you can elevate your Dart’s performance and unlock its true potential.