A Behind the-Scenes Look at UTI’s Power & Performance Courses


The smell of the octane, the sound of motors revving and the sight of beautiful, eye-catching rides can only mean one thing … you’re in the Power & Performance lab at Universal Technical Institute.

If you’re passionate about making cars faster and more powerful, you’ll feel right at home in UTI’s Roush Yates Power & Performance program. Over the course of just nine weeks, you’ll learn about engine building, tuning and everything in between.

Keep reading to learn all about this exciting program and get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the Power & Performance lab.

Learn How to Tune a Car at UTI

UTI’s Power & Performance courses are included in the 51-week Automotive Technology program.37 To develop curriculum based on the modern racing experience, UTI teamed up with Roush Yates Engines, the exclusive engine builder for Ford Performance and winner of more than 350 races.

Designed with speed enthusiasts in mind, this program covers converters, camshafts and cylinder heads, turbochargers, cold-air induction, and even nitrous oxide power boosts. Students learn to perform a full engine teardown, blueprint and engine rebuild. They drop the engine they’ve built into a T-bucket to test and tune, build performance tuning maps, and then upload those maps to vehicles for testing and tuning.

Once they master the basics, students take their training to the Chassis Dyno lab. Here, they work with performance tuning chips by uploading them to different cars and running them on the dynamometer to test horsepower and torque.

The Power & Performance program is a favorite among students on campus — and for good reason! These high-power courses are designed to equip you with valuable skills you can build upon as you pursue a career in the industry.

Hear from one of UTI’s instructors and follow along as he tests a 2004 Pontiac GTO on the dyno:

A Breakdown of the 3 Power & Performance Classes

So what exactly will you learn in the Power & Performance lab? This program is broken into a series of three-week courses, each with a different focus:

Power & Performance I: Engine Build

In this first course, you’ll learn the intricacy of how a bare engine comes together. You’ll learn how to rebuild an engine when given an exact set of specifications, with an emphasis on high-performance engine building techniques and practices.

From cylinder-head designs, to valve-train geometry, to roller rockers and lifters, you’ll learn all aspects of building an engine and how to select components that complement each other for optimum results. According to UTI instructor Mike Salvo, students in this course create a relationship with what they’re building — it becomes their own.

Power & Performance II: Bolt-On Performance

In this next course, students put their engine into a T-bucket and run it on the dyno. They learn about the operation of dynamometer testing, with an emphasis on tuning and computer selection for optimum performance. Both chassis and engine dynamometers are used to help students understand engine vs. rear-wheel horsepower.

As students run their engine on the dyno, they’re able to see how it performs. They’ll use dynamometer data to understand how changes to an engine’s induction, exhaust and fueling system affect its performance.

Power & Performance III: Computer Performance Tuning

In this last course, students focus on all things tuning. They learn how vehicle modifications and performance equipment can change the engine’s ability to function at its peak.

Using aftermarket software, students change the calibration of the vehicle’s powertrain control module to manage performance enhancements and modifications. The objective is to build an engine that creates as much horsepower and torque as possible but is also long-lasting.

By the end of the Power & Performance course, students should feel accomplished. In just nine weeks, they learn what goes into building and testing an engine that’s ready to hit the track!

Some of the data students work with during UTI’s Roush Yates Power & Performance program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is the Power & Performance Course?

The Power & Performance program consists of three, three-week courses, making it nine weeks in total.

What Is Dyno Tuning?

Dynamometer tuning involves making adjustments to a vehicle’s ignition, fuel and air supply to achieve as much horsepower and torque as possible while keeping the proper air-fuel ratio. The Power & Performance program teaches students how to tune an engine after they learn about engine building.

Do Students Learn About Superchargers and Turbochargers?

Students in the program learn about both superchargers and turbochargers. They learn to size superchargers and turbochargers correctly in order to make power.

Does UTI Use Nitrous in the Cars?

Yes. Nitrous, which is often referred to as “horsepower in a bottle,” is used in the program. Students learn to identify what an engine can handle in order to use nitrous correctly.

Horsepower Vs. Torque: What’s the Difference?

Horsepower and torque are covered in the Power & Performance program. Essentially, torque is a rotating force produced by the crankshaft in an engine. The more torque, the more work the engine is producing. Horsepower is the measure of how quickly an engine can accomplish this work (a helpful way to look at it is torque multiplied by RPM).

When Do Students Get to Use the Dyno?

Once students learn about engine building and demonstrate their understanding, they have the opportunity to test on the dyno.   

Do I Need Prior Experience to Train at UTI?

At UTI, we have students from all backgrounds and skill levels. Our programs are designed to build your knowledge from the ground up, so no prior experience is required!

Start Training for Your Career in UTI’s Tuning Courses

UTI’s Power & Performance course, which is part of the Automotive Technology program, is available at 10 campus locations across the country:

The Automotive Technology program starts every three to six weeks, which means you can get going and start preparing for a career sooner.1 To learn more, visit our program page and request information to connect with one of our Admissions Representatives today.

With classes starting every 3-6 weeks, no need to wait to start your career.
Hands-on training.Get hands on experience with the industry's leading brands.
No Pressure to commit.Get answers to your questions without any obligations.
Or Call Now 800.834.7308

1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
37 ) Power & Performance courses are not offered at NASCAR Technical Institute. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


Take 60 seconds and find out how you can get trained.

Step 1 of 1

By submitting this form, I agree that MIAT College of Technology, Universal Technical Institute, Inc., Custom Training Group, Inc. and their representatives may email, call, and / or text me with marketing messages about educational programs and services, as well as for school-related communications, at any phone number I provide, including a wireless number, using prerecorded calls or automated technology. I understand that my consent is not required to apply, enroll or make any purchase. I further understand and agree that I may instead call MIAT at 1-800-477-1310 for Canton, MI and 1-888-547-7047 for Houston, TX or UTI at 1-800-913-7524 to request admission information. I understand that if I do submit this form, I may unsubscribe within marketing emails or opt-out of text messages at any time by replying “STOP.” Standard text message and data rates may apply.By submitting this form, I further understand and agree that all information provided is subject to UTI’s Privacy Policy available at www.uti.edu/privacy-policy and UTI's SMS Terms and Conditions available at www.uti.edu/sms-terms-conditions.