How Much HP Does A Cam Add (Is It Worth It?)

If you’re wondering whether a camshaft heightens horsepower, the simple answer is yes.

To ensure a high-performance stock cam increases horsepower, you’ll have to make other adjustments such as swapping out the air intake, the exhaust manifold, injectors, and more we will discuss below.

How Much HP Does A Cam Add

What Does A Camshaft Do In A Car?

A quality camshaft can increase your car’s horsepower by 10 to 20 times, depending on the camshaft you opt for.

The camshaft is a rotating shaft that activates the engine’s cylinder’s intake and exhaust valves. When the shaft turns, cams press down on the spring-loaded intake valve with the motion of the pistons and engages the spark plugs.

The size of the camshaft will also make a difference in a car’s performance. A larger camshaft will allow more air and fuel into the engine’s cylinder, making a vehicle drive faster, as well as adjusting the camshaft’s timing so that cams are behind or ahead can alter an engine’s performance.

What Does A Performance Camshaft Do?

Regardless of the type of engine, the camshaft is in, it controls how the valves open and close. Which then contains the engine’s intake of air and fuel mixture and flow of air. This can then heighten engine performance, fuel economy, cam timing, and emissions.

All of these factors affect how much power your vehicle can achieve. If your ultimate aim is to increase horsepower, you’ll want to learn more about everything from exhaust gases to timing belt tuning, exhaust valve options, fuel flow, bolt-ons, etc.

Performance Camshaft HP Gain

Performance cams increase the horsepower your car produces by increasing the timing of the valve openings, which makes it accelerate more quickly.

You’ll have a rough idle with a performance overhead camshaft that gives that rumble that some people desire on their vehicles.

How much HP does a Stage 1 cam add?

The camshaft adds only 10-20 horsepower. The often-quoted 50-100 horsepower gain is only possible with a series of accompanying modifications through Stage 1 and Stage 2

How much HP does a Stage 2 cam add?

How much HP does a Stage 2 camshaft add? Stage 2 is upgrading the camshaft while also upgrading the intake and remapping the ECU and exhaust system in order to complete Stage 1.

You can see 20-25% more power from the engine when you’ve completed stages 1 and 2.

How much horsepower does a Stage 3 cam add?

Stage 3 will have up to 40% more power than the original. However, Stage 1 & 2 modifications must be completed before you can advance to Stage 3.

How much horsepower does a Stage 4 cam add?

The Stage 4 upgrade boasts a lower rpm torque yet still offers peak power. With the correct model, you can achieve 460+whp, providing you invest in a good set of cylinder heads.

Upgraded Camshaft Benefits

There are numerous benefits surrounding adjusting camshafts, many of which heighten the vehicle’s performance. Here we have listed a few of these advantages.

Benefit 1

Improve low-end torque

Switching up the camshafts to ensure the cams are a little behind or ahead will change the engine’s performance, and if done correctly, for the better. How? Speeding up the timing triggers the fuel intake valve to close and open earlier, which heightens low-end torque on the whole. On top of this, delaying the cam will heighten high-end horsepower. However, this will be at the low-end torque’s expense.

Benefit 2

heighten power and efficiency

The lobes on an upgraded camshaft will likely be of a different shape, allowing the valves open for more extended periods on a more regular basis at a delayed time.

This ensures high fuel and air delivery and an increase in efficiency and power, especially if you opt for lighter, quality models.

Benefit 3

Heightens sound

If you’re a complete motorhead, you will likely enjoy the sound certain vehicles make. If your looking for a low, deep growl, upgrading the cams on your vehicle will certainly benefit you, as it will ensure that powerful, throaty engine noise.

Benefit 4

A better RPM range

Those looking to customize their engine and make it perform at a better rate, all within an exact RPM range, will often look into camming their vehicle.

How Much HP Does A Cam Add

Camshaft Upgrade Pros And Cons

As with every car tweak, camshaft upgrades come with a list of pros and cons, some of which we have listed below.


There are numerous pros; the two key reasons vehicles tend to opt for an upgraded camshaft is due to power and sound.

Both of these components are heightened with the addition of an upgraded cam, as this feature improves your engine’s horsepower and your overall engine’s performance.

To ensure a camshaft increases valve timing, fuel filters, and more, it’s important to invest in quality parts and ensures the quality fit of your camshaft add-ons.

These may include timing chain parts, valve train components, stock heads, rocker arms, bigger cams, and other popular parts that affect how the crankshafts work and boost performance.


In certain states, investing in a new camshaft can be illegal unless your car comes with a vehicle certification number.

In this case, it is fine to upgrade the cam. Another con, when it comes to insuring or selling your vehicle, you will need to list all modifications. This can increase prices and put people off buying your car in certain cases.

Another con? The cost can be quite pricy, although most believe this is worthwhile in the long term.

Is Camming A Car Worth It?

Camming a car means improving the timing and duration of the opening of the valve. Or, in motoring terms, heightening the timing and lift of the valves.

To delve further, timing surrounds the length of time it takes the camshaft’s lobes to open the valves. The better the timing and lift, the more fuel and air the mixture will receive into the cylinder for best results.

If boosting your car’s power is key, then camming it is worthwhile, as it is a surefire way to gain more horsepower.

Camshaft Upgrade Cost

In terms of costs, on average, each camshaft replacement will set you back around $1,348 to $1,574. You must also factor in labor expenses, which are about $864 to $1,090.

Then there are the parts, which start at $483, and this is before fees and taxes.

Of course, the exact costs are determined by your exact vehicle and your location. Other costs to consider include future repairs and stage upgrades, resulting in higher costs yet more horsepower.


Can you cam any car?

The only exception may be a rotary-powered car; however, you can likely cam it if you own a standard vehicle. If you are unsure, it is always best to speak to a specialist mechanic knowledgeable in this area and who knows how much horsepower your exact vehicle can achieve.

Are cammed cars reliable?

A cammed car is very reliable, providing it has been upgraded correctly using quality parts. If not, you will likely have to foot a hefty bill in repairs, especially if the air-fuel mixture has been tampered with or the exhaust valves have become damaged in the upgrade.

Are cammed cars illegal?

The answer is yes to this in certain states and certain cases, even if altering the mufflers alone is still classed as an upgrade. However, vehicles that showcase a CARB certification number are exceptions to modifications.

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Author: DJ

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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