How to Upgrade the Horsepower of a Diesel Smart Car

Written by aaron marquis
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How to Upgrade the Horsepower of a Diesel Smart Car
You can increase the performance of your Smart Car while still saving gas. (small_car image by Marc Dubus from

The Smart Car was designed to prevent stress on your wallet when you visit the pump to fill the vehicle with gas. Some may buy the vehicle for the phenomenal ability to park sideways in a parallel parking space. If you bought the Smart Car for one of these reasons, but feel the car needs a little more "get-up-and-go," you can upgrade the horsepower of a diesel Smart Car to increase acceleration and overall performance.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Phillips screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Buy an Engine Control Module upgrade chip for your Smart Car to increase fuel and air intake. The increased fuel/air mixture will lead to significant horsepower gains. Examples of companies that possess an ECM modification chip are Performance Chip Tuning, Cartech Tuning Services and Renntech.

  2. 2

    Locate the Engine Control Module of your Smart Car. It is found behind the front seat of the vehicle, under the carpet.

  3. 3

    Plug the ECM upgrade chip into the ECM by following the provided instructions. You can set the type of performance you want from the chip by adjusting the dial on the chip's front face.

  1. 1

    Purchase an upgraded intake system from any number of Smart Car performance providers, including K&N, V2 Intakes, GT Styling and Injen.

  2. 2

    Open the rear hatch for the engine compartment and locate the stock air intake box. You can find the box by following the air intake pipe that runs across the top of the engine. The pipe leads to a plastic black box at the lower left side of the engine.

  3. 3

    Remove the metal clamp ring holding the intake hose to the engine throttle body. Remove the screws holding the intake box in place. Lift the stock intake system out of the car.

  4. 4

    Install the new intake system by attaching the hose of the intake to the Smart Car's throttle body. Mount the filter of the new intake system to the point in the engine bay specified by the included directions.

  1. 1

    Purchase a performance exhaust system for your diesel Smart Car from a provider like CES Performance, Doug Thorley or Sila Concepts. The sales representatives for whatever exhaust provider you choose can give you an idea of the sound and performance to expect from the system.

  2. 2

    Unbolt the stock exhaust from the stock header after the car has been sitting for at least two hours. Remove the rubber hangar holding the exhaust to the frame.

  3. 3

    Bolt the new exhaust to the stock header of your Smart Car's engine. Use the stock hangar to firmly secure the exhaust in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Adding performance parts may void your dealer or manufacturer's warranty. Consult your dealer if this is a concern.

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