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Upgrading Your Car 101, Part 2

Workspaces & Tools  /   /  By Jim Pickering

The sky’s the limit when it comes to upgrading your car for better performance – but like the saying goes, speed costs money. How fast would you like to go?

Earlier this week we took a look at upgrades you can make to an otherwise stock run-of-the-mill 2005 Mustang GT — just the sort of daily driver that can really benefit from a few aftermarket upgrades. Last time we focused on engine performance, but that’s only part of the story. Any increase in power really should come with upgraded steering and stopping, so that’s what we’ll look at today.

First things first. Your Mustang already handles well from the factory, but you can make it better with a few simple steps. Energy Suspension makes great Polyurethane bushings for pretty much everything out on the road. These bushings offer a lot less flex than your rubber stockers, which helps to tighten up your car’s handling. They’ll also last a long time, too.

I’d also suggest upgrading to a larger sway bar kit to help cut down your car’s body roll in the corners. These are much beefier than stock, which means they’ll flex a lot less. These, along with those poly bushings, will really tighten up your Mustang’s front end.

Ford Racing also offers lowering springs that’ll help get your car’s center of gravity down and give it a more aggressive look. These springs will drop the ride about 1.5 inches overall and are a progressive design, which further improves handling performance.

A strut tower brace is also a smart upgrade, as it’ll help tie the front suspension together. It connects the upper strut supports together under the hood, which cuts down on body flex. And subframe connectors are also a really good idea if you plan on pushing your car around the corners – they’ll help keep the car’s body from twisting under load.

All these parts together will significantly stiffen up your Mustang and make it much more responsive to your inputs – although you’ll also feel a lot more of the road, so be ready for a rougher ride as a result. Be sure to have a four-wheel alignment done before you hit the road.

Now that you have the car’s stance and the handling improved, it’s time to look at a new set of rims to replace those old GT stockers. Larger wheels do offer some handling benefit over your stock rims, and they just look cool, too. We found a set of black FR500 rims and Vredestein tires, but there are thousands of combinations out there to choose from. This just comes down to taste.

Bigger wheels allow you to run bigger brakes, like a Steeda 14-inch front units. Bigger brakes mean much shorter stopping distances, and you’ll appreciate that firm, direct brake pedal every time you roll to a stop (and every time you have to mash the pedal because someone pulled out in front of you). And since front brakes handle about 75% of the job, you should start there. Replacing the rear brakes would also be a smart upgrade. Expect your stopping distances to drop drastically with these parts. You’ll wonder how you got along without them.

So there you have it. We’ve taken a stock Mustang and upgraded it, complete with better suspension components, wheels, tires, brakes, and a free-flowing tuned V8 — and all with off-the-shelf parts sourced right here on eBay Motors. And even if you don’t have a Mustang as your own daily driver, everything we covered here still applies – these are basic upgrades that you’ll really feel out on the road, and they’re available for most popular makes and models. So what’s stopping you? Get upgrading!


Click the link if you missed part 1 of our “Upgrade Your Car” series?

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