Consider your needs when discussing performance upgrades

2015-07-01 06:05

REMEMBER the days when you had a vehicle for every occasion? You know, the MPV for school runs, the fast little coupe for Sunday breakfast runs and the 4x4 to tow your boat or caravan? No, neither do we.

Today the rising cost of motoring – the cost of repayments, fuel, insurance and tax – has made it prohibitively expensive to own too many vehicles. This has made many customers even more discerning when buying a vehicle that will fit in their lifestyle and reliably deliver on all their needs.

It is no surprise then that modern SUVs and double cab bakkies have become so popular. These vehicles offer far better performance than their predecessors, while they are capable of doing normal workhorse duties as well, such as towing your boat or horsebox.

Unfortunately, a few weeks in the life of a modern driver are enough to expose shortcomings in such a vehicle. Think of those weeks in which your car had to make the school run, race to catch a flight at the airport and then, after two hours of high speed towing, slowly reverse your boat into the river for that Sunday jol.

It is usually after a few of these weeks that owners call on a vehicle tuner to enquire about the opportunity for more engine torque, power or perhaps better fuel economy. Considering that this bakkie, SUV or other vehicle is the driver’s only car, extra power or better fuel consumption is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

This casual enquiry can often become a nightmare as the vehicle owner is confronted with unfamiliar terms and often-conflicting theories of what one should do to increase engine power or improve fuel consumption. There is no doubt that modern engines and their electronic management systems make this a complex subject, but “complex” should not mean “unclear” or “risky”, especially considering the cost of modern vehicles.

Steve’s Auto Clinic has been at the leading edge of vehicle performance improvement since it was started 32 years ago, and through its national network and strategic partnership with Uni Q Chip and Dastek Power it has also remained at the forefront of vehicle performance enhancement.

Says Stephen Fischer, the founder of SAC: “When discussing a performance upgrade, you should consider a few factors. These include the transmission (manual or auto), whether or not you tow, your driving style and average speed. You should also think if you are an outdoors person or not and if you are worried about your vehicle’s fuel consumption.”

These factors help the team at SAC, who have literally enhanced the performance of tens of thousands of vehicles, to best assess your needs and suggest a clear solution based on its knowledge and experience of successful upgrades.

Stephen identifies three distinctive needs amongst vehicle owners:

I want more power. This is the mantra of many performance enthusiasts and it is usually requested because the driver wants more speed and better acceleration. These upgrades often come at the expense of fuel consumption, but that is of little concern to the driver, who is happy to adjust his or her driving style based on the vehicle’s power curve.

I need more power. This is a slight, but very important difference to the first need. Think of that driver who has just returned from the Rust de Winter gymkhana and who could not climb the muddy embankment out of the river crossing on obstacle four. Or the horse owner who got stuck behind slow moving vehicles because he or she did not have the power to pass them safely. Often, says Stephen, they are approached by someone who wants the same power as their friend’s vehicle of a different brand.

I want better fuel consumption. On the other side of the coin of the power brigade are those vehicle owners who find themselves frustrated with constant high fuel bills and an engine that does not live up to the manufacturer’s fuel consumption claims. These owners are usually more than willing to sacrifice a bit of power in exchange for fewer trips to the local filling station.

“At SAC we meet with customers daily and discuss their needs. We have such a wide array of performance upgrades, engine enhancements, modifications and power conversions available and we use our many years of experience to offer the customer the best solution for his or her needs. We also share our solutions on our electronic content hub, which means that customers as far as Cape Town or Nelspruit benefit from our national expertise,” says Fischer.

For more information contact SAC Port Elizabeth on 041 372 2301, e-mail Or visit

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