Understanding your car, and what you can do to take it to the next level

Christina Hance-Aloi, Reporter

Getting a car can be one of the most memorable moments of your life, you finally have the freedom to go places without having to rely on your parents or work around their schedule. I’m sure you love your car, but if you’re reading this article, you might think it’s time to upgrade a few things on your vehicle, just like Nick Oravsky. 


About Nick (And his car)

Nick Oravsky is a senior at UHS who drives the white 2017 Ford Focus ST that you’ve probably heard pulling in or out of the parking lot because his car is definitely not stock. When asked what he’s had done to it, he replied, “Basically just regular stuff, it’s a full Bolt on, and I’m upgrading the turbos in like a month or so,” which all upgrade the car performance-wise, and cosmetically. But out of all the things he’s done to his car, his favorite is the wheels and the stuffed animal that sits inside his car.

Nick’s love for cars was inspired by his dad who has had a love for cars his entire life and now drives a red Mustang 5.0. 

Nick also goes to car shows in his free time with his friends, where other people in the car scene can meet and show off their cars. 

When asked what car he would drive if he could only drive one car for the rest of his life, he answered with a ”Porsche 911 gt3rs,” but his ultimate dream car is a Nissan Silvia S15. 


Now here are some modifications you can do to your car…




Tinted Windows (Prices range from $100 – $400 to tint your whole car)

Tinting on your windows can actually be beneificial, especially in the summer. It protects your car’s exposure to the sun, which sounds unreal, but the sun can ruin your upholstery and cause discoloration. Because less sun is let in, your car can stay cooler which is super helpful on sunny days when the temperature inside your car can easily reach dangerous levels. 

Another reason window tint is popular is simply privacy, especially at stoplights. The tinting reduces visibility, and strangers won’t be able to watch you at stoplights. It’s an odd sentence, but it happens more often than you think. 

However, the sad news is that you can be pulled over for tint in Maryland if your tint is under the limit of 35% light transmittance, so make sure to stay within the law.  


Interior lighting (Kits range from $20-$100, Starlight headliner $900+)

Ambient lighting and starlight headliners have gained in popularity because of newer cars like BMW, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce which are known for their starlight headliners. These features just add a pop of color to your car, and can even be programmed to your music. 

Kits can be found on Amazon if you’re trying to find a more affordable option for interior lighting, but if you want a starlight headliner, it’s best to go to a professional because the intricacy and time to complete it is not for everyone.  


Aftermarket Wheels (Price varies)

Changing your wheels is one of the most common vehicle modifications, but without the right amount of research, you can hurt yourself more than help yourself. 

If you are looking to get aftermarket wheels, you should always look and make sure you pick the right ones, and make sure that your car model is designed for them. They do add a nice look to your car if you do find the right ones, make sure to find the right size and don’t look for the lightest ones. 



(Most modifications cannot be added because of legality in the state of Maryland)


Cold air intake (Price varies)

Cold intake systems bring cool air into your engine so that your engine power becomes boosted. This is a good upgrade because colder air has a higher oxygen density, so the combustion reaction is more effective and can even boost your mileage. With cooler air and more oxygen in your engine, three LARGE benefits are produced. 

First, you’re likely to see an increase in your horsepower because your gas is being burned more efficiently. 

Second, your acceleration will be much more responsive because it’s easier to get up to speed when there’s more air being supplied to your combustion chamber. 

Lastly, you’ll experience better fuel economy because if your engine is effectively combusting fuel, it requires less gas to do this. 


Adding a turbocharger ($1500+)

This specific modification is for the people who really want to take their car’s power and double it, and I mean seriously double it. For background, a turbocharger compresses the air that goes into your engine by making it more dense, this leads to more air, which means WAY more power. 

But… adding a turbo is a super complex modification. This type of modification should probably be one of the last ones on your list, you want to make sure your car can handle such a change. Modifications like ECU remapping are essential, some others are recommended but those also can’t be listed in this specific article.