Last week, we focused on the more sensible option for investing your tax return in your daily transportation. However, we know some of you are either magnetically attracted to the fun go-fast bits or you’ve got all your maintenance under control. For you, this week we’re looking at some of our favorite upgrades that are affordable with the average tax return this year.


Whether you’re looking to upgrade from your stock wheels to a set of aftermarket alloys with better fitment or you just want more options for setups on your car, wheels are a great use of your tax return. For one, more often than not, wheels don’t lose value. If you find yourself in a tight spot, or you want to change setups, wheels are something you can easily sell. Not only that, but wheels make a dramatic change in your car’s appearance. Whether it’s an aggressive track-oriented setup like a set of APEX ARC-8s or a functional enthusiast fitment from our Tekniform wheels, you can’t go wrong. A decent set of wheels and tires will be right around that $2,000 average tax return this year, so if you’re considering new shoes for your car, this is your sign.


We’re not just talking coilovers, either. Suspension systems have many points of deflection that rob performance and affect your handling. Upgrading ball joints and bushings with polyurethane and Monoballs will drastically improve your suspension capabilities and further complement a good set of adjustable coilovers. We offer upgraded bushings, mounts, and even entire control arms for a range of models, which means there’s likely something we offer for your car. Bushings and other suspension components are often forgotten because they don’t make as much of a visual change as something like coilovers, bags, or lowering springs. However, you’ll feel the difference they make in the corners and on the track, so we encourage you to go more in-depth with your suspension build with your tax return this year.


Performance exhaust setups aren’t new to us, we’ve introduced several systems that have become industry-standard for quality, performance, and price. As our exhaust catalog has expanded in offerings, it’s also improved in our technology. We’re able to bring modular setups to our exhaust catalog and offer resonated, non-resonated, valved, and non-valved combinations for most of our systems, which means you can have the perfect exhaust for your car exactly how you want it to sound. Additionally, we’ve begun to delve into Titanium exhaust offerings, which are already hitting our shelves. If you want the absolute best in materials, construction, sound, and weight savings, Titanium exhaust is something to consider.


Like your suspension bushings, drivetrain mounts like your engine mounts, transmission mounts, subframe mounts, and differential housing mounts are all points of deflection. Replacing these wearable components is important if your car is extremely high in mileage, but every car regardless of age can benefit from improved rigidity. Snappier shifts, more immediate power delivery, and less weight transfer equates to a better experience behind the wheel. We offer drivetrain mount upgrades for nearly every application that we designed and tested right here in-house.


For you forced-induction crowd, front mount intercooler kits are generally one of the more involved and costly upgrades needed in the quest for full bolt-on performance. Modern turbo cars, particularly direct injection engines like those widely used today, can be easy to pull tons of power with just a few relatively inexpensive upgrades. Namely, you’ll need to upgrade your intake, exhaust, intercooler, blow-off valve, and tune in most cases. The intercooler itself tends to be one of the bigger costs and left for later, which means having that tax return is a good chance to secure this critical piece of the turbo upgrade puzzle. Even if you’re otherwise stock, increasing the volume of available air and decreasing those charge air temperatures can greatly improve the efficiency of your turbo and provide bolt-on power increases across the rev band.

Carbon Fiber

Ok, they’re not going to improve any performance aspect of your car, but carbon fiber visual accents are often hard to justify in cost. That is unless you have a good chunk of change sitting around with no official plans. If you’ve done all the other upgrades you’re interested in for your goals, the best way to tie everything together strikingly and aggressively is with carbon fiber aero pieces. Front lip spoilers, rear diffusers, rear spoilers, side skirt extensions, and even mirror or antenna caps can give your otherwise less than inspiring exterior a much-needed bump in stage presence.

Motorsport-inspired visual upgrades help emulate the appearance of more dedicated versions of many of these cars used in various racing circuits. They also distinguish your car and help reflect its performance and your taste. Carbon versions are lightweight, durable, and quite striking on their own. With the average tax return, you can give your car a fairly comprehensive visual improvement.

Wrapping Up

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely thinking about what option or options are best for your build right now. We do encourage all of you to consider the maintenance services that we covered last week before you make any decisions with your tax return for car parts. However, if you’re dead-set on performance or visual upgrades, we’ve got you covered. Check out all our ECS Tuning in-house designed performance parts for your car and start your 2022 build now.