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Our Top Performance Upgrades

Our Top Performance Upgrades

Anytime is a great time to do performance upgrades on your vehicle – Here are our favorites (and most popular!):


Replace your regular brake pads with performance pads and braided stainless steel brake lines. Replacing the standard rubber lines with steel lines increases its lifespan and performance by reducing the issue of swelling rubber lines. The result is higher performance over a longer period. If you’re looking for a performance look that’s visible on the outside of your vehicle, install a bigger brake kit that includes larger brake calipers and brake rotors. Cosmetically, they’re very appealing (those visible cool red or blue calipers!) and performance-wise, much better!

Be prepared to dish out about $700 – $800 for the pads & steel lines; a kit will probably be around $3,000. Every vehicle is different, so the actual cost will depend on your vehicle year, make & model; so give us a call so we can tailor a solution just for you.


Upgrading to a performance tire or a tire with a higher speed rating will allow for more aggressive and responsive driving. The speed rating is a good gauge of not only the speed that the tire can reach, but more importantly, how much stress the sidewall of the tire will take.

Makes your car feel “crisper” feeling in corners.
Less steering effort to get the same result
Performance tires use a softer rubber compound and lower profiles to provide more road grip. It is imperative that you get the right fit (tire speed rating & size and rim options) and consult with a tire expert at Craftsman Auto Care.

Almost as important as the fit is alignment and proper balancing. A performance precision alignment with a race orientation is required in order to experience the most performance benefit. Or, just a switch from the factory set alignment to a more aggressive alignment will provide some of the performance handling without compromising too much of a comfortable ride if it’s your everyday vehicle.

Corner balancing ensures that you have the optimal weight on all 4 tires and considers the drivers weight to insure best tire contact patches in all scenarios. In order to have the proper corner balance, it requires weight scales for each tire, and knowledge of the driver’s weight.

A precision alignment with corner balancing at Craftsman Auto Care will run about $300:

All tire packages at Craftsman Auto Care include tire installation, tire rotation, road-force balancing, proper inflation and rubber valve stem or TPMS rebuild.
Also FREE tire alignment checks and FREE tire rotations for the life of the tire.
Craftsman Auto Care guarantees the best tire prices with the availability of any tire brand to meet your needs. We have tire experts ready to help you with your best fit.


Before considering any upgrades, the suspension must be inspected to ensure all the components are in good shape and in working order. Only then should you consider modification options. Our experts at Craftsman Auto Care can fine tune your suspension, which is an integral part of corner balancing.

If you decide to upgrade to an adjustable suspension, you’ll have the option to change the height and handling characteristics of the vehicle. The cost will vary with every car; you can start around $800-1500 in parts and labor. Give us a call to discuss your options and pricing.

Tuning & ECU Flashing

In the age of tech and data, an aggressive engine management system is one of the easiest upgrades with an instant gratification of a boost of horsepower and torque. When you install an ECU system, you can gauge and control your car’s fueling, ignition timing, torque delivery, and turbocharger boost pressure. This technology allows you to remap the ECU system so that it’s completely tailored to performance output so you can unlock the your vehicle’s full potential.

This service involves connecting your vehicle computer/management system up to our shop laptop and downloading the upgraded software. It usually takes 4 hours and can cost $800 and up – depending on the vehicle. This is mostly for turbo engines, however, there are some select updates for non-turbos.

Naturally aspirated vehicles won’t benefit from this upgrade since the air intake relies on atmospheric pressure and not the forced air induction (that can be adjusted) that a turbo engine uses.

Cold Air Intake

Replacing your factory installed intake with a cold air intake improves the engine’s output by pulling cooler, denser air from outside the engine compartment. This provides the engine with more oxygen by volume and results in an increase in efficiency and performance

A factory intake is designed to be quiet, so air mufflers are used which slows down both the air flow and volume. A cool air intake, on the other hand, fast-tracks outside air straight into the engine.

This is can be a fairly inexpensive upgrade and costs around $200 and up, depending on the sophistication of the system that is purchased. We can assist with selection and provide the best options for you.


Just as the cold intake fast-tracks cool air into your engine, your vehicle’s exhaust is the fast-track to get the hot air out of your engine. The only restriction is to use a catalytic convertor for emission control. To upgrade your system, you can get started with just $500 and this can increase based on your vehicle and options.

Make sure none of your upgrades go to waste with carbon engine build-up! This will result in a sluggish ride. Carbon build-up restricts airflow to the engine and causes obvious and sometimes significant problems; Engine vibration or shaking, jerking or surging at stops and cold start misfires. A BG Fuel Induction Service is recommended and starts at $215 with GDI engines costing more.

Get your project started by calling our Chantilly, Alexandria, Fairfax or Merrifield location for an appointment (833-CRAFTS1). We can help with all aspects of your upgrades; from assistance to selecting and purchasing the best components, to fine tuning and adjusting what you already have!

If you would like a free performance consultation with the Craftsman Auto Care Race Team Crew Chief, please contact Andrew Gunn at our Chantilly location; 14510 Lee Road (across from Costco & Target shopping center) 703-646-8260. All of our technicians are ready and excited to get started asap!

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