There's sludge on the engine of my Hyundai. Is this such a bad thing, or is this normal?
You have to change oil regularly to prevent sludge from forming and building up around the engine after the oil has oxidized. You see, the additives contained by oil will break down eventually. When oil deposits get baked, that's when sludge is formed. Because of the sticky gel-like substance, oil circulation would be affected. It won't flow as freely as it should. The sludge may travel and find its way on other components as well. This may result in clogging on some parts. Oil keeps the engine clean and cool, but the sludge can do the opposite. It can retain some of the heat. With sludge buildup, the engine may not be properly lubricated. If you allow sludge to form and build up around the engine, you may have to deal with the following eventually: rough acceleration, low oil pressure, engine stalling, compromised fuel efficiency, and premature wear of some engine parts. Aside from changing oil regularly, you should also look for some sludge treatment from auto parts stores.
What's the best way to extend the battery life of the vehicle? Some car battery maintenance tips for my Hyundai will help a lot.
It will help if you don't keep the headlights and other accessories on for too long after driving. This will let the batter maintain the needed level of charge. As part of car battery maintenance, you should also check the electrolyte level and the gravity. Make sure that there's enough electrolytes (hydrochloric acid and water) so that the lead plates in the cells will be covered and won't be exposed to air, which could lead to some problems. As you keep track of the specific gravity, you'll then know if the car battery already needs re-charging. This will also give you a hint if the car battery is on its way out or if there's low gravity on all the cells. The car battery has internal issues if only a single cell has a low specific gravity. Before you go for a long drive, make it a habit to check the car battery. Take note of its expected service life.
I'm thinking of using some performance exhaust on my Hyundai for extra power. How much horsepower could be added to my vehicle? What would be a realistic range of hp gains?
The horsepower gains that you can enjoy from a performance exhaust will vary depending on the design of the aftermarket product, type or model of the vehicle, engine specifications, and other modifications. There's no absolute figure but the increase in power output can be placed anywhere between 5% and 20%. Contrary to some perceptions, the performance exhaust isn't the one that's creating the extra engine power. The setup helps the engine churn out more power simply by removing or minimizing some restrictions found in a stock exhaust. It allows the engine to breathe more easily, and in doing so, the engine is able to generate more power with less stress. Using other mods such as performance headers will help raise the hp output of the vehicle. Power gains here could be 10% to 20%.