Let's face it - not everyone can afford to buy a new car with gobs of horsepower. Luxury vehicles and sports cars will always be significantly more expensive than the standard vehicles that most drivers opt for. However, this doesn't mean you have to settle for mediocre or below-average performance in your car. With various aftermarket parts available, those who want to improve their vehicle's power have plenty of options.

It can be a bit overwhelming for amateur mechanics who don't quite know where to begin when it comes to increasing performance. Engines are complex machines with many different facets that contribute to the overall power. Fortunately, this gives drivers a bevy of options when it comes to improving performance.

Engines ultimately require a mixture of oxygen and gasoline to run, so oxygen is one area drivers can focus on. If enough air isn't getting to the engine, it can rob you of power. Change out your air filter on a regular basis to ensure a good amount of air is getting through. Some drivers opt for larger air filters to ensure they get maximum oxygen.

Similarly, cars also need to let air out through the exhaust. If air isn't escaping efficiently, back pressure can build up and hurt engine performance. This is why aftermarket exhaust systems are quite popular - drivers increase the size of their tailpipes and invest in advanced mufflers to ensure the engine runs at maximum efficiency.

Turbochargers and superchargers are perhaps the most popular aftermarket parts for increasing power, and these are related to oxygen as well. Essentially, these add-ons pressurize the air coming into an engine in order to cram more into the cylinder, resulting in bigger combustions and more power. While these parts can come with some drawbacks, modern versions of these aftermarket systems have come a long way since they were first introduced.

While adding more oxygen and fuel to each cylinder will definitely result in more power, something needs to ignite this fuel mixture in order to achieve combustions\. This is where the spark plugs come into play. These plugs degrade over time, which can affect the amount of power an engine receives from each combustion. The next time you replace your spark plugs, consider upgrading to a model with gold or platinum electrodes. These plugs are typically more powerful and may last longer than the standard spark plugs that come with most new cars.

In modern vehicles, the amount of oxygen and fuel allowed into the engine is controlled by a computer chip. This chip also affects how the vehicle uses power and torque. However, automakers may be limiting the real amount of power the engine can produce. It's now possible to buy performance chips that will essentially replace the car's original programming in order to maximize power. Drivers should do research before committing to a purchase to ensure other drivers have gotten good results from these chips, as the amount of power gained will likely vary from model to model and chip to chip.

Another point to keep in mind is that reducing weight will always help increase the amount of power. These days, just about every part found in a vehicle can be made lighter - the problem is it's often more expensive to do so. If you're investing in upgrades for your engine, however, be sure to prioritize parts that will help you shed weight, rather than add it. While not directly affecting the engine, a lighter vehicle makes better use of the power available to it.