A Quick Guide to the Best Mustang Mods for Performance

Top Mustang Performance Mods from the experts at Steeda!

Your iconic Mustang is more than just a set of wheels; it’s a platform for personalization and improved performance. Underneath a sleek exterior are opportunities to unleash more power and precision. But where do you begin?

With almost limitless potential, the modification process can be overwhelming. Whether you’re wondering where to start or just want some ideas, here’s your starting point. Check out this overview of the top performance-focused upgrades for your Mustang.

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Unleashing Power with Cold Air Intakes

Unleash the power of your Mustang with Cold Air Intakes

The journey of enhancing a Mustang's performance often begins with the engine, the heart of the beast. Installing a cold air intake is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost power. Unlike the restrictive factory air boxes, cold air intakes are designed to reduce air temperature and increase airflow to the engine. A cold air intake is like throwing open a window and feeding the engine cool, dense air that translates into increased output. It's a seemingly minor change that leads to noticeable improvements in horsepower and torque.

There are abundant cold air intake options. Each system promises an uptick in performance and gives the engine a louder presence. Your Mustang will sound as powerful as it performs. What makes this mod so appealing is its simplicity; it's a straightforward upgrade that delivers a lot of bang for the buck.

While ample cold air intake choices exist for the Coyote 5.0 V8, other Mustang owners have options, too. Kits are readily available for EcoBoost and V6 editions. There are even solutions for the Fox Body era with the original 5.0.

Let it Sing with a Cat-Back Exhaust

If the cold air intake is the appetizer, the cat-back exhaust system is the main course in a feast of Mustang mods. While adequate, the stock exhaust on most Mustangs doesn't do justice to the power lurking under the hood. A cat-back exhaust system replaces the stock piping from the catalytic converter to the exhaust tips, reducing back pressure and enhancing exhaust flow.

The result? A boost in horsepower, improved engine response, and a fuel efficiency uptick. Many cat-back systems help with weight reduction, a plus at the track. But perhaps the most gratifying aspect of a cat-back exhaust is the sound: a deep, resonant rumble that turns heads and announces your Mustang's presence blocks away. From the Fox Body and S197 to the S650, each Mustang can find its voice through a variety of available systems.

Adding a cat-back exhaust is an ideal DIY project for someone with moderate mechanical skills. All that's needed are basic tools, a jack stand, and a couple of hours. If you're not an under-the-car person, any mechanic can easily handle the job.

Cornering Dreams: The Magic of Lowering Springs

Lowering springs allow you to tackle the corners!

Although your Mustang may boast impressive credentials under the hood, performance isn't always about brute strength. Like in sports, sometimes victories are the result of agility and athleticism. This is where lowering springs come into play. By dropping the vehicle's center of gravity, these springs reduce body roll during turns and improve the overall handling dynamics. A lowered stance is another benefit, giving your Mustang a more aggressive stance, like a predator ready to strike.

The choice of linear, dual-rate, or progressive springs depends on your driving style and needs. While linear springs offer consistent handling, progressive springs adjust the stiffness based on the driving conditions. The result is a Mustang ready to tackle the challenges of a winding road or the rubbered surface of a track.

The key to success with lowering springs is going with components designed specifically for your Mustang. Available sets go as far back as the Fox Body generation, but there are custom-fit systems for new Mustangs, including the S550 and S650 editions.

Installing lowering springs isn't overly time-consuming; a few hours is all that's required. However, it's a job best left to a technician because of the skills and specialized tools necessary.

Stability in Motion: The Role of Sway Bars

In the pursuit of perfect handling, sway bars are the unsung heroes. These components, also known as anti-roll bars, connect the left and right sides of a Mustang's suspension. By doing so, they reduce body roll and keep the car stable during sharp turns. The proper sway bar setup can transform your Mustang's handling, making it more responsive and planted.

Whether carving canyons or taking on the track, adding adjustable sway bars allows you to fine-tune your Mustang's handling to your preference. It's a mod that enhances performance and personalizes the driving experience to your liking.

You’ll find sway bars for the front or rear or combination kits that enhance both ends. Whether you tackle this as a DIY job or let a mechanic handle the upgrade, a sway bar project significantly improves the behind-the-wheel experience.

The Art of Stopping: Brake Pads and Rotors

Make sure to maintain your brakes for proper functionality

Increasing Mustang engine horsepower and torque is only part of the performance upgrade formula. You also need greater stopping power, which comes from swapping out the brake pads and rotors for more advanced components.

Stock brake pads can fade under hard braking, leaving you white-knuckled and wishing for more. Performance brake pads are made from more robust compounds that bite harder and dissipate heat better. The net result is greater confidence to push your Mustang to the limit without worrying about fade.

Warped or worn brake rotors can mean a spongy pedal feel and reduced stopping power. Upgrading to larger, ventilated rotors improves heat dissipation, reducing brake fade during spirited driving sessions. Adding rotors that match your needs and driving style ensures that your Mustang stops on a dime every time.

Upgrades for the 2024 Ford Mustang

The newest Mustang, the S650, is a mighty machine. But like all of Ford's pony cars, they are a wonderful platform for modifications. Fortunately, the newness of the seventh-generation Mustang isn't a reason to hold off on modifications. The aftermarket already has numerous solutions to take the 2024 Mustang to the next level.

Steeda has cat-back exhausts with confirmed fitment for the S650. There are also lowering springs, upgraded brakes, and sway bars, each a match for the latest Mustang. All in all, there are dozens of customization opportunities, ranging from exterior modifications (like graphics packages and spoilers) to wheel and tire packages.

2024 Mustang Performance Upgrades: A Steeda Case Study

Steeda's Silver Bullet Drag Race Car 2.0

Steeda project cars have a knack for turning heads and scorching tires. The company's recent effort builds on this legacy with the Steeda Silver Bullet 2.0, a 2024 Ford Mustang GT drag car.

Used for off-road and competitions, the Silver Bullet 2.0 pushes the boundaries of what can be accomplished with the S650. Steeda works its magic to the stock 5.0L Gen 4 Coyote V8 engine and ten-speed automatic with a host of drivetrain upgrades. These mods start with a factory intake carbon trap delete, Kooks long-tube headers, and a 1320 Junkie ported intake manifold. Meanwhile, a QA1 SFI carbon fiber driveshaft, a Circle D torque converter, and an Auburn Gear Super 8.8 Grip-N-Loc differential further enhance the car's drag capabilities.

There's also an extensive list of suspension and chassis upgrades, including Steeda Pro-Action double-adjustable rear shocks, the Steeda Mustang Drag Front K-Member, Baer Lightweigth Drag 4-piston Front and Rear Brake System, and a Steeda Hardcore ride height system for the rear. At the same time, Billet Specialties wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson drag tires keep the Silver Bullet 2.0 moving at maximum speed. The car's interior is race-focused, with Corbeau front racing seats and a Steeda Rear Seat Delete Kit.

It all adds to a potent drag racer that can complete a quarter-mile run in 10.959 seconds at 124.64 MPH.

Steeda's 2024 White Stallion HPDE Car

Steeda is also gaining attention with their 2024 High Performance Driving Experience Mustang, which is outperforming vehicles on the track that have a price tag more than twice as high as the Mustang’s MSRP. Steeda is showing that the S650 HPDE Mustang, much like its 2015-2023 S550 Mustang counterpart, is more than capable of leaving its competition behind without a hefty investment.

The 2024 HPDE Mustang comes outfitted with the standard 5.0L Gen 4 Coyote V8 engine paired with the 6-speed MT-82 Manual Transmission and the Performance Package. Steeda has added a slew of drivetrain performance mods, including a Factory Intake Carbon Trap Delete, Steeda's 3-inch Cat-Back Exhaust System, and Steeda’s 3.5-inch Aluminum Driveshaft.

Steeda, also, has added an extensive list of suspension and chassis upgrades featuring the Steeda Mustang Hardcore Rear Adjustable Ride Height System, the Steeda Pro-Action Adjustable Shocks and Struts, the Steeda 'Stop the Hop' Street Starter Kit, the Steeda Competition Front and Rear Sway Bars, and several other track-tested parts.

These mods enabled Steeda to achieve a time improvement of 7 seconds compared to their stock performance benchmark during their latest track outing at Sebring International Speedway.

6 Guiding Points for Mustang Modifications

Jumping into the world of Mustang modifications without thinking things through can lead to wasted time and money. A haphazard approach can also lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. Keep these vital steps in mind before beginning any Mustang upgrade effort.

  • Do Your Research: Not all mods are created equal—research specific brands, models, and compatibility before diving in.

  • Ask Questions: It's OK to ask for help because no single person can know everything about Mustang mods, no matter how much research you do.

  • Find Expert Help: Your questions are worthless if you don't get the right answers. Locate a trusted source for the information you need. When you contact Steeda (800-950-0774 or online) for modification advice, you're getting help from fellow Mustang enthusiasts who can provide personalized assistance for a single upgrade or an entire project.

  • Start Small, Build Big: You don't need to go all out at once. Start with a few essential mods and build your Mustang piece by piece, savoring the journey.

  • Professional Installation: While some mods are DIY-friendly, leave the complex stuff to the pros. Your Mustang deserves expert care.

  • Safety First: Never compromise safety for performance. Choose quality parts and prioritize safe driving practices.

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