Beginner’s Dictionary to Mazda Mods

Mazda driving down a road.
Always street tune with a buddy for safety. (PC: renson_ms3)

Everyone was a beginner at some point. Whether you’re new to Mazda modding or you’ve been doing it since you first got behind the wheel, you’re bound to run into some terminology that goes over your head.

At Corksport, our customers are family, and we love learning from and educating our family when it comes to Mazdas. The more you know about your Mazda, the better it can be. This terminology cheat sheet of Mazda language will help you talk the talk as you work to reach your modding goals.

Mazda terminology you need to talk the talk

Axle Back Exhaust: An axle back exhaust starts from the area of the rear axle and extends to the rear bumper. An axle back exhaust replaces the muffler, tips, and a portion of piping that connects to the mid pipes. It has the least effect on performance and fuel economy of all exhaust mods.

Built Block: A built block is a term used when the engine internals are upgraded with higher performance variants over OEM. In most common cases a built block is referred when both the connecting rods and pistons have been upgraded for more strength.

Camber Kit: A camber kit usually consists of a rear camber arm and front camber plates. In addition to correcting wheel alignment on lowered vehicles, a camber kit provides camber adjustment for tracked vehicles which require a slightly negative camber. Correcting the camber is important for even tire wear and maximum traction.

Cat Back Exhaust: A cat back exhaust begins at the end of your catalytic converter and goes all the way back to your rear bumper. It is made up of a rear-pipe, resonator, and muffler. A cat back exhaust system can provide more power, increase fuel efficiency, and deliver distinct sound.

CorkSport cat back exhaust.
Mazda MX-5 with cat back exhaust. (PC: jdm.chris)

Cold Air Intake: A cold air intake essentially lets your engine breathe. Cold air intakes move the air filter outside of the engine compartment so cooler air can be sucked into the engine for combustion. Cooler air brings more oxygen into the combustion chamber and that means more power.

Dyno Tune: Dyno tuning is a systematic approach to engine tuning, allowing a high-quality precise tune-up. During a dyno tune, the vehicle is stationary in a controlled environment.

Front Mount Intercooler: A front mount intercooler cools the charge air from a turbo or supercharged car. Mounted on the front of a vehicle, this intercooler results in better airflow and a higher cooling efficiency. Hot air enters one side and cool air exits the other.

Front mount intercooler on Mazda.
Kyle Sousa’s Mazdaspeed3 with a front mount intercooler. (PC: Kyle Sousa)

Lowering Springs: Lowering springs improve the appearance and handling of a vehicle. By lowering the center of gravity on the car and winding the coils closer together, a lowering spring can make the car feel more connected to the road for better cornering. Lowering springs will also give a more aggressive-looking stance and reduce the vehicle’s fenderwell gap.

Mod: Mod is short for modification. Mods are usually performed to enhance the performance and appearance of a vehicle.

NATOR: NATOR is a group of Mazda enthusiasts who come together to share knowledge about their beloved cars. As the story goes, it all began when a few guys got together to work on their Mazdas while enjoying Wendy’s Baconators. BacoNATOR. We can’t make this stuff up.

Join a NATOR near you.
NATOR group doing their thing.

OEM: Original equipment manufacturer.

Oversteer: Oversteer happens when the rear tires reach their limit before the front tires while cornering, leading to the tail opening up.

Powertrain Control Module: A powertrain control module, commonly called a PCM, is the onboard computer of a car. Essentially the brains of the engine control system, it controls many components of a vehicle and is used for diagnostics.

Short Ram Intake: A short ram intake, also referred to as an SRI, is a mod for internal combustion engines. It consists of a short metal or silicone pipe and a conical air filter inside the engine bay. A short ram intake increases power by eliminating the resonator and filter box, giving the air a shorter travel distance.

Short Shifter: A short shifter changes the geometry of the shifter so the distance of the shift lever is reduced. It moves the pivot point higher up the shift rod causing you to move the shifter less distance, with a shorter throw, transforming the driving experience.

Street Tune: Just as it sounds, a street tune or road tune happens on the street. It should be done to maintain the driveability of the system after the top end has been addressed on the dyno.

Sway Bars: A sway bar, also called a roll bar, anti-sway bar, or stabilizer bar, is a part of the suspension that helps reduce the body roll of a vehicle during fast cornering or when driving over uneven road. It connects opposite wheels together through short lever arms linked by a torsion spring.

Understeer: Understeer is when traction is lost at the front wheels while cornering, forcing you wide on a bend despite applying the correct steering angle. If your car is understeering, your speed is not at its maximum and you’re missing the line.

Want to add to our lingo list? Hit us up on Facebook or Instagram and let’s hear it!

Introducing Our New Membership Program: 7th Gear

Become of member of our new, exclusive program 7th Gear and get gifts, early access to new products, and more!

CorkSport has been serving the Mazda community for 19 years. Over nearly two decades, we’ve never stopped listening to what our customer’s need. We apply that feedback and input daily to how we work and what we build for the platform. And because we’ve involved ourselves in the community and supported the platform, we’ve put ourselves in a position to say a big “thank you” to our loyal customers for supporting us and sticking with us!

The next big thing

So we started brainstorming ideas that would allow our top customers to become a part of an elite group that we can connect with directly. Enthusiasts will receive additional CorkSport benefits and supports while being involved in and up to date with what we’re working on at CorkSport.

We still have the rewards points program, but we wanted to offer something that raised the bar. We wanted to create something that shows that we’re building more than just a customer base — we’re building a family. So, what’s all this next level nonsense I am talking about?

CorkSport is proud to introduce 7th Gear

We’ve developed a new program unlike any other in the automotive aftermarket and we’re calling this exclusive membership program 7th Gear!  Take a look at some of the benefits offered as part of the 7th Gear program.

CorkSport's exclusive new membership program, 7th Gear, is all about building a family of dedicated Mazda enthusiasts.
Become a member of our 7th Gear program today!

As a 7th Gear Member, you’ll receive …

  • An exclusive gift package worth $99 when you sign up.
    • You can only get these apparel items by becoming a 7th Gear member!
  • Access to our exclusive 7th Gear Facebook group.
    • We’ll provide insider information on our products, lifestyle, and happenings!
    • You’ll interface with other elite members of the Mazda Community and receive CorkSport answers faster than anywhere else on the web.
    • You’ll have first access to new product releases via thanks to your 7th Gear membership.
  • Free Shipping to the lower 48 States. (Hawaii, Alaska, and International orders get reduced rate shipping.)
    • You heard us right! Free shipping to lower 48 and reduced cost shipping for our members elsewhere!
  • Automatic Annual Renewal that includes an awesome anniversary gift worth, at least, the cost of membership!
    • Once again, no one can get this exclusive gift item unless they’re a 7th Gear member!

As a 7th Gear member, rest assured that we’re here to help our car guys and car girls ignite their Mazda dreams, turning car fantasy into reality. CorkSport is more than just a company, we’re a family of enthusiasts that want to grow and share with all of you! Head to CorkSport.com for more information on 7th Gear today.

Get Ready for Boise’s 2017 Mazda Takeover Event

Another year, another weekend of Mazda community love. Here’s a rundown of 2016’s Mazda Takeover Event in Boise to prepare for 2017.

Last year, Barrett and I got the chance to head to Boise, Idaho, for a great Mazda Takeover event that my good friend Keith Eggert put together. People from Utah, Washington, and northern Idaho all made the trip for a fun weekend full of racecars, beer, and good laughs. We met some new people and reconnected with friends that we hadn’t seen in awhile. It was a big event made even better by securing a few shops so we could do some fun things besides racing.

This Thursday, we’re heading back to Boise for another weekend of good times. But before we go, let’s reflect on last year’s event.

The 2017 Mazda Takeover event in Boise, Idaho, is a great Mazda community event.
It’s always a good time when the Mazda community gets together.

Dyno Day

Everyone who wanted to dyno their car had the opportunity to do so last year, which made for an incredible day. Almost all of the cars that attended Dyno Day were fully bolted and tuned on E85, so you can imagine we had a lot of quick Mazdaspeeds in attendance.

A few notable results: Cody Allington from Utah made right at 500whp with his HTA turbo and port injection. Next up was my car strapped with the CS turbo and meth coming in at 400whp on the stock block. There were plenty of other Speeds right around 320whp. The smell of E85 and meth definitely told us we were in the right place!

Drags

Once we were done with the dyno, most of us hung out and prepared some cars to run in the 1320. Cody needed to install a cut-off switch, because he had relocated his battery from the engine bay to the hatch of the car. Once we had that all figured out, it was time to head to the track.

Over 40 Mazdaspeeds attended the Mazda Takeover in Boise, Idaho, last year.
That’s a lot of Mazdaspeeds.

We had about 40 Mazdaspeeds show up to the track — the biggest turnout I have ever seen.  I remember thinking this is what the Mazda community is all about: a bunch of friends getting together to have a genuinely good time. That’s something I think we forget about from time to time. I realize there’s a lot of competition out there, but at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

That race night was great because I got to see a bunch of Mazdas ripping down the track. And, I also got to see the smiles that came with a fun night among a great community.

This year's Mazda Takeover in Boise promises to be bigger and better than the amazing event in 2016.
Boise, here we come.

We’re going to be in attendance again at the Mazda Takeover this year in hopes that the event is even bigger and produces an even larger turnout. The plan is the same as last year. But, this time around, the boys from CorkSport have more lead time so we can take more time off than just the weekend. It’s going to be a amazing!

We are very excited to see what happens this year and look forward to hanging out with 40+ Mazdaspeed people. I highly encourage anyone that is within driving distance of Boise to check out this meetup. At its current rate, this takeover event is turning into the largest on the West Coast. The meetup begins on June 8, and I’d really like to see some fresh faces there!

If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me (Luke McCarvel) a Facebook message.

Cheers,

Luke

CorkSport’s Ultimate Driving Playlist

Think back to one of your most memorable drives. You can — no doubt — remember the road you were driving, who you were with, what Mazda you were cruising in, and what else? The music. Every great drive needs a soundtrack. When that familiar guitar line or chorus pipes through your speakers, you grip the wheel a little tighter, your foot instinctively pushes down a little harder on the pedal, and nostalgia takes over as your car hits those highway curves.

At CorkSport, we know that once you have the car and the parts, and maybe even the route to drive, the next thing you need is some great tunes. Whether it’s a modern banger or a classic rock song, you can always use some new tunes for your next road trip playlist. CorkSport’s suggestions, from old standbys to modern hits, will make sure your head’s nodding next time you hit the pavement with your Mazda.

“Slow Ride” by Foghat


For a song called “Slow Ride,” this tune sure makes you want to drive fast. Featured in the movie “Dazed and Confused,” this 1975 rock hit may tell you to “take it easy,” but we bet it will encourage you to put the pedal to the metal.

“Drive Slow” by Kanye West featuring Paul Wall and GLC


In contrast, the mellow thump of Kanye’s “Drive Slow” is the perfect accompaniment to cruising around town. Hitting the streets to look for some honeys? Put the windows down, bump this, and go out on patrol.

“Low Rider” by War


One of the all-time classic driving jams. To quote the Beastie Boys, “slow and low, that is the tempo,” and this funky, upbeat hit is ideal for any kind of drive. If you’re looking for a great twist on this standard, check out Amerigo Gazaway’s “Tenderoni (Lowrider Cruisin’ Mix)” that combines War, Chromeo, Marvin Gaye, and T.I.

“Ride Wit Me” by Nelly featuring St. Lunatics


Nelly may owe the IRS $2.4 million, but this joint ain’t broke! If you’re looking for a smooth song to have on as you pick up your lady, look no further. Good bass, smooth flow, and a catchy hook? Like the song says, “if shorty wanna rock, we rockin’ to this.”

“King of the Road” by Roger Miller


OK, this one’s pretty old school, we admit it. But, it’s also a quintessential driving song packed full of Americana, nostalgia, and that ol’ traveling spirit. Call it a classic, dub it a guilty pleasure, or tell your friends it was your grandpa’s favorite song. With us, you’ll have no shame toe-tapping to this classic.

“Car Song” by Spank Rock featuring Santigold


If you want to put your subwoofer through its paces, anything from Spank Rock’s catalogue will suffice. But with its car-centric title and lyrics, this rhyme-laden bass-boomer gets our pick for the jam you’ll most want to roll to.

“Old White Lincoln” by The Gaslight Anthem


We know you’d rather drive a slick Mazdaspeed 3 than an old, white Lincoln, but this earworm from New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem is an incredible driving song. Heavy on the nostalgia, this tune is a love letter to youthful escapades and the cars that featured in those memories.

“Radar Love” by Golden Earring


No list of driving songs is complete without this masterpiece. With a churning, chugging bass line that forces your foot to lean on the gas (“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands are wet on the wheel. There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel.”) and lyrics you can belt out as you fly down the highway, if this song doesn’t make you want to drive you should see a doctor — you may actually be dead.

“Get Your Roll On” by Big Tymers


Maybe it’s how car-heavy most of the music videos were, but there’s something about late-1990s/early-2000s hip-hop that lends itself perfectly to rolling, windows down, with the volume cranked up. Needless to say, with this jam bumping in your Mazda, you’re required to get your roll on.

“Panama” by Van Halen


Much like that late-1990s hip-hop, classic rock feels like pure driving music. There’s something about it that grabs you by the guts and makes you want to drive. It doesn’t get much more classic than this track from Van Halen, which features engine-revving sound effects to boot. Hit the road, turn the volume up as far as it goes, and get ready to pound the ceiling as you shout, “PANAMA!”

“Neckbrace” by Ratatat


Sometimes, a great beat constructed by a two-man-band is all you need. There’s not much more than percussion and bass in this jam by Ratatat, but it thumps along in such an addictive way that there’s no way you’ll take a pit stop with it rumbling out of your speakers.

“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen


Like we were gonna make a list of great driving songs and not include The Boss. Yeah, right! “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Dancing in the Dark,” really, you can take your pick. But, for our money, start with the classic “Born to Run” and just keep cruising through the Springsteen discography as you head off into the sunset.

“Levels” by Avicii


After a long week, sometimes getting up the adrenaline to hit the town on Friday night needs a jumpstart. “Levels” is basically audio caffeine. It’s electricity for your ears. It’s a shock to the system and fuel for epic evenings. “Get a good feeling” by bumping this.

“Black Betty” by Ram Jam


Though the meaning behind the lyrics is widely debated, we’ll stick to the interpretation that “Black Betty” is one helluva hot rod. I mean, it just feels like a driving song, so whatever else it may mean, this tune is a necessary jam when you hop in your ride.

“Have Love, Will Travel” by The Black Keys


This gritty, funky take on The Sonics’ original thumps along nicely as it pipes out of your speakers. Sometimes you just need a little low-fi soul delivering a gritty guitar riff to your night driving.

“S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats


When it’s hard not to stomp your feet or clap your hands to a song, you have the mark of a great road trip song. When that song also allows you to holler, “SONUVA BITCH!” at the top of your lungs, you know you’re driving with a winner on the radio.

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth


By far the most melancholy track on our driving playlist, this song from the “Furious 7” soundtrack is a tribute to the late, car-loving Paul Walker. While it might hit you right in the feels, it’s upbeat, catchy, and feels like a natural tune to get you thinking mistily about your local Mazda community.

“She Is Beautiful” by Andrew W.K.


Just substitute the word “car” every time Andrew W.K. says “girl” and you’ll see this rock anthem really is the perfect love song for your Mazda.

These tunes should get you started, but we’d love to hear about your favorite driving songs down in the comments. And if you take these jams on the road, take a picture, and tag us with #CorkSport when you post to Instagram!

Bucket (Seat) List: 10 Must-Drive Roads of the West

State Route 12 Utah

There’s nothing worse than being all dressed up with nowhere to go, right? Whether you’re itching to try out your Mazda 6’s new added power, your Miata’s updated handling, or you simply need a more scenic background to snap a new photo of your Mazdaspeed 3’s dope hood scoop, sometimes a trip down the road to the grocery store just doesn’t cut it. If you’re as passionate about the roads you drive as you are about the mods you install, or you’re simply looking to vary your daily driving route, this list of some of the best roads in the West will inspire you to take your Mazda to new frontiers.

Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon

Since the Pacific Northwest is near and dear to our hearts, we’ll start with an amazing drive that’s close to home. Hop on U.S. Route 30 in Troutdale to begin the 75-mile journey to The Dalles that features a bit of everything that makes this area of the country stunning: tall trees, Columbia River views, waterfalls, and Mt. Hood. The winding, curvy road is a dream to drive, and you can stop along the way at sites like Multnomah Falls and Bridge of the Gods for photo ops with your Mazda.

Highway 101, Oregon

One of the few gorgeous natural features Oregon is known for that you can’t find along the Columbia is the ocean, but this coastal drive takes care of that. Some folks may take this route to tour historic lighthouses, but we love 101 because it allows you to trace the sweeping curves of Oregon’s rugged coastline from Astoria all the way to the California border. You’ll enjoy fresh salty air, great seaside driving, and loads of Oregon breweries to check out if you want to stop for the night and sample the local flavor. Remember that it takes a few days to do the drive even cruising speedily in your modded ride.

 

Three Rivers Highway, Oregon

Whether heading to or from the coast and Highway 101, the Three Rivers Highway (aka Oregon Route 22) is a twisty, curve-laden, extremely fun drive. It’s not the best when it’s dark and rainy, as visibility can get bad, but this trip from Salem to the ocean is a great ride to test your handling on. It’s also located right in the heart of CorkSport’s local region!

Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington

Head north up I-5 for one of the most rustic scenic drives you can conquer without four-wheel drive. You can enjoy the great outdoors no matter which Mazda you’re in! This 330-mile trip features beaches, lakes, hikes, and camping as you circle Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. All of it, except your Mazda, of course!

State Route 1, California

One of the most iconic American roads, right up there with Route 66, is the 655-mile route that stretches most of the length of California. On this journey, you’ll hit San Francisco, Los Angeles, and all the stunning coastline in between — the road even goes over the Golden Gate Bridge. The Pacific Coast Highway section through Malibu is another highlight you won’t want to miss on California 1! And it’s a great place to show off your ride to California girls, naturally.

State Route 12, Utah

Also known as “A Journey Through Time” Scenic Byway, this meandering desert drive gets you out of those tree-lined Pacific Northwest roadways and ocean drives and into some staggeringly impressive canyons and rock faces. Crossing through Bryce Canyon National Park as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this road won’t simply allow you to put your handling to the test; it offers scenery perfect for that new profile pic of you and your Mazda you’ve been meaning to take.

State Route 12 Utah

Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

Though you can take U.S. Route 550 all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado, it’s the stretch between Silverton and Ouray in Colorado that will really wow you. The guardrail-free drive through Uncompahgre Canyon features narrow roads with steep drop-offs, so exercise caution. But hugging these mountain curves is definitely a thrilling drive. The road is often closed in winter, so check conditions before you prepare to zip through these bends. After this drive, if you feel like continuing the road trip, Route 50 through the Curecanti National Recreation Area is another great drive that winds along with the Gunnison River.

Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Montana

What better drive to take than the route along the first road built by the National Park Service specifically for automobile-using tourists? Following the Continental Divide through Glacier National Park, this strip of pavement winds its way around, and even through, the Rocky Mountains. Offering great views and engaging driving, isn’t it about time to convince your lady to take that educational vacation to a National Park she’s been begging for … so you can drive your Mazda through these sick curves?

The High Road to Taos, New Mexico

Looking for a drive that feels like you’re in a foreign land, but don’t want to worry about shipping your Mazda to Spain? The High Road to Taos, aka State Road 503, needs to be on your list. A 56-mile scenic route through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this road features loads of great, twisty driving, but watch your speed as you’ll head through villages along the way. If you want to skip the slowdowns, check out the “Low Road.” State Highway 68 is a quicker route, but it follows the Rio Grande and delivers some great views!

The Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia

Let’s not forget the asphalt of our neighbors in the Great White North! Picking up west of Vancouver by Horseshoe Bay, the Sea to Sky Highway follows Highway 99 all the way to Pemberton. Formerly a bit dangerous, the road has been improved so you can safely zip through the craggy Canadian coast up into the snow-capped mountains. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you could always opt for Highway 1, aka the Trans-Canada Highway, which takes you all the way to the east coast. But we’ll stick to recommending the easier-to-reach Sea to Sky HIghway for now!

 

This list should get you started on some exhilarating Western drives to add some fresh scenery and fresh curves to your Mazda driving. If you have other great western drives, drop your recommendations in the comments. And if you follow up on these recommendations, tag us with #CorkSport when you post to Instagram!