Do Cold Air Intakes work? (Correct answer)

So does a cold air intake system really work? When you introduce a high volume of cold air to the combustion process, the engine is able to burn the fuel more completely, and that results in additional horsepower. So yes, a cold air intake system does work.

  • As you already know how do cold air intake work, the answer is much clearly that YES, a cold air intake really works. In order to make power, the cylinders have to inhale air to create the explosion that produces wheel-turning horsepower and torque.

Do cold air intakes actually do anything?

So, on its own, a cold-air intake doesn’t add much performance. However, that’s actually OK, Streetside Auto explains because it’s meant to be just one part of an entire build. That’s why manufacturers like Ford include them in their performance kits.

Is it worth putting a cold air intake?

To answer the question of whether a cold air intake system is ultimately worth it, the answer is yes. Even if you don’t notice the benefits, they are still present and are actively helping your car to run more efficiently.

Will a cold air intake hurt my engine?

Cold air intakes are generally a safe upgrade for a naturally aspirated engine, however, some aftermarket installations can lead to issues with surge idling and surgelocking. These can result in efficiency and performance problems, cause high idling and stalling, and eventually lead to expensive engine repairs.

What are the cons of a cold air intake?

The cold air intake does typically get denser air than the stock intake. However, since it is longer and more requires more complex routing, it is often more expensive. This increased complexity also leads to a more difficult and time-consuming installation.

How much HP does a cold air intake add?

It makes such a big difference, in fact, that the simple process of redirecting the filter to draw cooler air is good for a horsepower gain of about 5 to 20 ponies in most cars. It might even improve your fuel efficiency, and it’ll probably make your engine sound better, too.

Does a cold air intake make your exhaust louder?

Quick answer – Yes. The sound of your car will be louder and more aggressive with a cold air intake. Instead of loudness though, a cold air intake changes the sound of your car engine. This is a very satisfying sound that makes your car sound more aggressive and even faster.

Is a K&N cold air intake worth it?

For those in the market for an air intake system, a K&N air intake system is often recommended, and rightly so. A popular choice not just because of K&N’s extensive history and great reputation, K&N intake systems offer proven performance gains for minimal cost and installation effort.

Do cheap cold air intakes work?

So yes, a cold air intake system does work. But the actual amount of extra horsepower that you’ll get from a K&N cold air intake, will depend on the type of system, as well as the condition of your specific vehicle and engine.

Is it bad to use a cold air intake in the winter?

Generally it’s a bad idea. Not because of damage or anything but just for Fuel economy. Depending on the CAI design you’ll be feeding in air that’s too cold. This is especially true in the morning and you’re “warming up” your engine is going to stay in open loop longer.

What is the cheapest way to increase horsepower?

Maybe the best way to increase horsepower is by replacing your standard vehicle intake with cold intake. Since cold air can move quicker and more efficiently than warm air, replacing your standard vehicle intake is one of the best ways to increase horsepower.

Can a cold air intake cause a lean code?

ANY cold air intake, should not throw codes or cause a lean condition. Lean conditions/codes happen when unmetered air “leaks” into the sysytem after the Mass Air Flow sensor – and before the T/B.

Do K&N cold air intakes improve gas mileage?

The cold air intake effectively improves your vehicle’s MPG because it allows more airflow to reach your engine. While this is true, on average, installing the cold air intake will increase overall fuel economy by three to five MPG, which can help your wallet in the long run.

Does cold air intake give you better gas mileage?

The cold air intake increases the car’s gas mileage by making the engine significantly more efficient than before. The intake pipe allows for a straightforward air intake. The system allows colder air into the engine for cooling purposes.

Do Cold-Air Intakes Even Do Anything?

The installation of improved tires is among the most straightforward adjustments that can be made to a vehicle’s handling. Tires and updated suspension components, on the other hand, can only go you so far. You’ll have to tune the engine eventually, especially if your objective is straight-line speed. The installation of a cold-air intake is a frequent initial step. Is it true that upgrading your car’s basic air intake truly results in an increase in horsepower?

What is a cold-air intake supposed to do?

The following attributes are allowed: ” src=” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture;” allowfullscreen=””> RELATED: How to Increase the Horsepower of Your Ford Mustang GT’s Stable Air is required for the production of power by all internal combustion engines. Normally, this air is drawn into the vehicle by an air intake pipe. However, because even clean air isn’t completely free of contaminants, the air intake is protected by a filter that is contained in a separate box.

The following attributes are allowed: ” src=” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture;” allowfullscreen=””> In contrast to the typical engine mounts, part of this refinement comes at the expense of performance in specific situations.

  1. Secondly, the filter box is often located in close proximity to the engine’s internal combustion engine.
  2. In other words, it is the polar opposite of what engines, particularly turbocharged and supercharged engines, prefer.
  3. Photo courtesy of K N on Instagram It is at this point that cold-air intakes are utilized.
  4. As an added bonus, the aftermarket cold-air intake filter is often broader and made of a less-restrictive material than the OEM filter.
  5. At the very least, that’s what’s intended to happen on the surface of things.

Does a cold-air intake genuinely improve performance?

“The following attributes are allowed: src=” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture” “allowfullscreen=” allows you to use the entire screen “> The following is an example of a formalized formalized formalized RELATED: Ford will upgrade your Ranger’s horsepower by 50 horsepower for $825. Donut Media is a media company that specializes in donuts. It was our goal to determine how successful a cold-air intake system was in improving the performance of an automobile.

  • That is, in fact, the exact type of cold-air intake that was installed by the previous owner of my NB Miata.
  • However, the new intake generates far more noise than the standard one, and there is a minor increase in power as a result.
  • In addition, K N says that their top Miata cold-air intakes increase horsepower by 3-4 percent.
  • However, as Streetside Auto argues, this is perfectly OK because it is intended to be a single component of a larger project.

It is for this reason why manufacturers such as Ford include them in their performance packages. Because of the improved, freer-flowing intakes, the retuned ECUs and/or more turbos will be able to perform their duties more effectively.

Pricing, installation, and potential issues

Cold-air intakes aren’t prohibitively costly, especially when compared to the more road-oriented options available. Taking my Miata as an example, the most costly K N intake on the market is $286. Furthermore, installation may normally be completed in an hour or two. IN CONNECTION WITH: Should I Be Concerned About the Water Coming From My Car Exhaust? There are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to cold-air intakes, though. Some people choose to replace the complete pipe that connects to the engine.

Additional problems include the usage of oiled filter components, which can cause a buildup of oil over the sensor over time, according to CarsDirect.

Finally, not every cold-air intake system is emissions-compliant in every jurisdiction.

Do Cold Air Intakes Really Work?

Do cold air intake systems work?Cold air intake systems have long been considered one of the easiest ways to “bolt-on extra horsepower”. All you have to do is unbolt the restrictive factory intake system, and replace it with a free-flowing cold air intake system. This will theoretically give you lots of additional horsepower, so you can become a FastFurious stoplight hero. However, installing aK N cold air intakeisn’t going to turn you into Paul Walker. But it will definitely make your ride a lot more powerful. So let’s take a look at how, and why a cold air intake system works.How an engine makes power An internal combustion engine works by burning a mixture of fuel and air inside of the cylinders. The fuel injectors spray in a precise amount of fuel, which gets mixed with air delivered by the air intake system. A spark plug then ignites this volatile cocktail, causing an explosion that forces the piston downward, turning the crankshaft, and ultimately the wheels. The piston-moving force that’s created during the combustion cycle is where horsepower comes from. And you can actually increase that force/horsepower by adding a K N cold air intake system.K N cold air intake system installedWhy cold air is so important When you were in school, you learned that cold air is denser than warm air, because it contains additional oxygen molecules. When you feed a fire/explosion with oxygen-rich cold air, the resulting fire/explosion will be much more intense. A factory air intake tends to feed less-potent warm air to the cylinders, which means less energy/horsepower gets extracted from the fuel. A cold air intake system on the other hand, gives the engine more oxygen to work with. So those explosions become more intense, and the engine effectively makes more horsepower, from the same amount of fuel.How a factory air intake works In order to get to the cylinders, air has to first enter a tiny hole at the bottom of the stock airbox, then it has to pass through a thick paper air filter. As dirt collects on the OEM air filter, less air can pass through, which causes the engine to work harder to make the same amount of horsepower. Once the air has cleared this hurdle, it gets forced through a series of narrow plastic tubes with tight bends and uneven surfaces. This causes the air to swirl around and become turbulent, and that makes it heat up and become less effective.How a cold air intake system works On a cold air intake system, air first passes through a much larger performance air filter, which allows more air into the system. Filters like theK N performance air filter, use a ‘depth loading’ design to remove more dirt from the air, then keep it trapped inside a matrix of sticky cotton fibers, which allows a high volume of air to always be able to pass through. Once the air has been cleaned, it flows into a wider intake tube that typically has completely smooth interior surfaces, and less restrictive curves. K N aluminum intake tubes use mandrel-bent curves to virtually eliminate air turbulence, while K N roto-molded intake tubes do the same thing with molded high density polyethylene.Air intake systems installedBy reducing airflow restrictions, a cold air intake system can always feed the engine a high volume of turbulence-free air. And to make sure the air is cold, the air filter is situated so that it can collect the coldest air. Which often requires a special heat shield to prevent warm engine bay air from entering the system. However, a front mounted ram air intake will relocate the air filter to a high-pressure zone outside of the engine compartment (usually behind the front bumper, or inside the fender well). This allows it to collect the coldest air possible, and the increased air pressure forces more air into the system as the speed increases. Thanks to the improved airflow dynamics, a front mounted cold air intake system is able to deliver more horsepower than a conventional performance intake.So does a cold air intake system really work? When you introduce a high volume of cold air to the combustion process, the engine is able to burn the fuel more completely, and that results in additional horsepower. So yes, a cold air intake system does work. But the actual amount of extra horsepower that you’ll get from a K N cold air intake, will depend on the type of system, as well as the condition of your specific vehicle and engine. You can however, check out the dyno test results for different K N intake systems that are installed on a vehicle just like yours.To find out the estimated horsepower gain for your vehicle, use K N’sSearch by Vehicletool.
See also:  2010 Ford F150 Sensor Locations? (Question)

Do Cold Air Intake Kits Really Work?

You want to start a debate at your local auto meeting, but you don’t know how? Inquire as to whether or not they believe cold air intakes genuinely “operate.” If your local automobile get-togethers are anything like mine, you’ll hear a lot of intriguing viewpoints and contradicting facts that you’ll find interesting. Manufacturers would have already installed these parts if they worked as well as companies like K N claim they do, according to some. Others believe that factory air intakes are too restrictive, factory air boxes absorb too much heat from the engine compartment, and factory air boxes absorb too much heat from the engine.

That said, there is a conclusive answer to the question “Do cold air intake kits actually work?” Here’s how it works: Once you understand the engineering and science that goes into air intakes, you’ll be able to answer the question as well as anybody (and you’ll be able to explain why, as well).

Let’s Start With the Factory Intake

An internal combustion engine is essentially a pump – you feed it air and fuel at one end, and it returns exhaust gases, heat, and a rotating crankshaft at the other end of the engine. A unit mass of gasoline (with MTBE) requires approximately 14 times the amount of air required by an engine — at least in terms of comparisons between a unit mass of gasoline and an equal quantity of air. Aside from the chemistry, this means that your engine will require a great deal of air. At wide open throttle, a 5.0L V8 engine working at a reasonably high volumetric efficiency (85 percent) will require as much as 500 cubic feet of air per minute (500 cubic feet per minute, or CFM) of air flow to operate.

If you can image taking 40 deep breathes in one second, you will have a better understanding of how much air a 5.0L V8 engine can use when running at full power.

In order to determine whether or not cold air intakes are effective, we must keep two things in mind regarding the air that is being drawn into your engine:

  1. In its most basic form, an internal combustion engine is a pump – you feed it air and fuel at one end and it returns exhaust gases, heat, and a rotating crankshaft at the other. A unit mass of gasoline (with MTBE) requires approximately 14 times the amount of air required by an engine – at least when that unit mass is compared to the same amount of air. That being said, your engine will require a significant amount of air. In order to operate at high volumetric efficiency (85 percent), a 5.0L V8 engine will require as much as 500 cubic feet of air per minute (500 cubic feet per minute, or CFM) when the throttle is opened all the way up. Human lung capacity is around 0.2 cubic feet, which is 500 CFM in everyday terms. If you can imagine taking 40 deep breathes in one second, you will get a good idea of how much air a 5.0L V8 engine can use when running at full power. The following are two things to keep in mind regarding all of the air that is being drawn into your engine in order to determine if cold air intakes are effective:

Why Almost All Factory Intakes Are Restrictive

In the design of an air intake, companies such as Toyota, Honda, Ford, and General Motors are primarily concerned with producing something that is cost effective, quiet, and efficient. It is to be commended that the engineers at these automobile manufacturers do an excellent job of designing air intakes that strike all of these notes. The following truth, on the other hand, cannot be compensated for by any amount of creative engineering: Free, unfettered air flow is one thing; silent air flow is another.but you can’t have both at the same time.

You are exchanging higher engine noise for increased power when you install an aftermarket air intake system on your vehicle.

This results in enhanced performance at the expense of higher noise (most noticeable at WOT).

Despite this, there is a trade-off to be made.

What About “Cold Air” Intake Kits?

Keep in mind that the density of air changes with temperature. We can see this in action if we fill a balloon with 1/10th of a pound of air at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and then take the balloon outside where the temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The balloon will expand by approximately 5 percent. Take the balloon to the Mojave Desert and raise the temperature to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and it will grow by more than 10%. Sidebar: The fact that hot air balloons rise as a result of changing densities of air at different temperatures is precisely what causes them to climb.

  1. What’s the point?
  2. Because the cylinders of your engine can only store a certain amount of air, lower air densities result in less oxygen being present in the combustion chamber.
  3. Expert drag racers are meticulous in their monitoring of ambient air temperatures whenever they are tuning their vehicles, because air temperatures may have a significant influence on quarter mile timings.
  4. A cold air intake system, such as these K N cold air intake systems, draws air into the engine compartment from outside the engine chamber.

Air from this source is “cold” when contrasted to air from within the engine compartment, which is where the majority of factory air intakes get their air from. Colder air is denser than warm air, and as a result, cold air intakes increase engine power.

Aftermarket Cold Air Intakes Are Only As Good as Their Engineering

Aftermarket air intake systems can boost performance by eliminating limitations and decreasing air intake temperatures, but the fact is that these enhancements are intended to be used in conjunction with other components of a vehicle’s overall performance package. There will be no noticeable change if this is the only modification you make, but it is a quick and simple method that will allow you to get an additional 5-15 horsepower on average. And if you’re new to tuning, you’ll recognize that as a significant amount of time.

Companies like as K N put a significant amount of effort and money into creating and testing every kit they provide, and they have specialized testing facilities for intakes in a range of situations.

Over the years, I’ve tried a number of kits that provided no more power at all, and in most cases, these kits were inexpensive.

You could even come to the conclusion that all aftermarket air intakes are “gimmicks” or “crap” altogether.

  • Look for applications that are a direct fit. Universal kits are hit or miss
  • Be certain that the kit is from a reputable manufacturer. Companies like as K N, aFe, Banks, AEM, Injen (and a half-dozen others) employ genuine engineers who are responsible for creating and testing intake systems. Whenever feasible, get a plastic kit. Given that plastic has a smaller heat capacity than metal, it is less likely that plastic air intake kits would absorb heat in the same way as metallic air intake kits do. For certain engines, firms are employing plastic that is made to look like chrome or metal, which is a wonderful alternative for anyone who wants to dress up their engine without compromising performance. The results of dyno testing are important, especially for companies that you may not be familiar with. K N, as well as several other manufacturers, does an outstanding job of providing dyno testing data for the majority of their kits. You should always ask for dyno testing data if you are unsure about a kit. Make use of the finest filter you can find. The quality of an air intake is only as good as the filter that is placed on it. Every K N air intake system is equipped with a high-performance cone filter.

The Bottom Line

Factory air intakes are excellent, but they, like the majority of the components in your car, offer a trade-off between power, cost, and noise levels. The installation of a K N air intake system will result in tiny but significant increases in horsepower as well as a louder engine than the factory installation. Furthermore, users who install aftermarket air intakes generally experience quicker throttle response as well as some loud (but pleasant) engine sounds while running the engine at full power.

As a self-described “car nerd,” he enjoys driving.

Jason is a well-known automotive blogger who has contributed to several publications, including the eBay Motors blog, Motor Car Digest, as well as his own websites, Tundra Headquarters and

Why Should You Install a Cold Air Intake?

People have come up with some fantastic aftermarket systems in their never-ending quest to make our automobiles more powerful and enjoyable to operate. Of course, there are numerous modifications that can be made to the engine, such as a new exhaust system, bolt-ons such as superchargers and turbos, and more. But, seriously, that stuff is extremely expensive, and you’ll most likely need more than a weekend to complete the installation of those components. There are also cold air intakes to consider.

  1. No, they will not provide as much power as other engine modifications, but they will benefit your engine in a variety of ways nonetheless.
  2. Now it’s time to go running.
  3. A cold air intake is like a miracle drug that allows your engine to finally take a deep breath again.
  4. Cooler air brings in more oxygen (denser air) into the combustion chamber, which results in more power being produced by the engine.
  5. Not too shabby, really.
  6. Not only does a cold air intake lower the temperature of the air, but it also enhances the flow of air.

The engine receives continuous airflow as a result of the removal of the air box and the use of smoother tubing. That sounds really delicious, doesn’t it? But, more importantly, does it truly work?

Does a cold air intake really make a difference?

Even while cold air and more air sound like a wonderful idea in theory, no one gives a flying fig about theory when you’re attempting to pass someone on the interstate highway system. The good news is that, despite varying promises of real horsepower and even greater fuel efficiency, cold air intakes will in fact aid in improving the overall performance of your vehicle. On its own, when the throttle is completely opened, you’ll most likely feel a noticeable improvement in power. Some manufacturers claim that their technology may produce an increase in power of up to 5 to 20 horsepower.

  • Consider it as one component of a larger strategy to improve the performance of your engine.
  • You’ll be in trouble if your air filter is too exposed and sucks up water, which will then enter your engine and cause it to overheat.
  • Consider installing a bypass valve to prevent this from happening in the future.
  • So do some research on this scenario before you begin, or at the very least recognize that it may become a problem later on.
  • It’s possible that it’s just what your engine needs.

Cold Air Intake FAQ

Some manufacturers claim that their technology may produce an increase in power of up to 5 to 20 horsepower. However, combining the cold air intake with other engine improvements, such as a new exhaust, will result in a system that is far more efficient.

Can cold air intake damage your engine?

You’ll be in trouble if your air filter is too exposed and sucks up water, which will then enter your engine and cause it to overheat. Consider installing a bypass valve to prevent this from happening in the future.

How much does a cold air intake cost?

Cold air intakes are a very affordable improvement (usually a few hundred dollars) that is also simpler to install than the majority of other engine upgrades.

Are cold air intakes worth it?

Cold air intakes are a very affordable improvement (usually a few hundred dollars) that is also easier to install than the majority of other engine upgrades.

Do cold air intakes make a difference?

While cold air intakes will assist to improve the performance of your automobile, promises of higher horsepower and better field efficiency may be exaggerated.

Lots More Information

While I read this post, it brought back memories of my brother and I working on his car when we were in high school. The engine of his turbocharged Eclipse (OK, it was a Plymouth Laser, but it’s the same engine!) had various modifications by us. and one of the things we adjusted was the amount of water we consumed. Certainly, it appeared to have increased the power, or at least it sounded like it did. Compared to the time we rebuilt the intercooler pipe and it popped out during our test drive, I’m quite confident this modification went more smoothly.

Because the automobile was so light and speedy, we were able to engage in some exciting races on the highway. It is not acceptable to me. However, it was enjoyable.

Related Articles

  • “What’s the Difference Between a Cold Air Intake and a Short Ram?” The 10th of September, 2011. (accessed April 20, 2012). “Air Intake Systems” is an abbreviation. (20 April 2012) Tae Kim’s blog post “Horsepower Enhancements.” Men should be questioned. (20th of April, 2012)
See also:  2007 Ford Taurus Relay Locations? (Professionals recommend)

Does a Cold Air Intake Actually Work?

Most of you have most likely heard the commercials that say, “Bolt on our cold air intake for a super-affordable price and get tremendous horsepower!”” You could have also seen forums where individuals claim that a high-flow air filter provides the same advantage as “one or two horsepower” (cue a spectacular burnout followed by a Michael Bay backdrop explosion) “for a far lesser cost Who is correct?

Is it worthwhile to spend the money on cold air intakes, and do they actually result in significant horsepower gains?

Why a Cold Air Intake?

Andy Jensen is the author of this piece. If you’re new to car modification, a cold air intake is one of the first modifications that many people undertake for a variety of reasons. They start at less than $100 and go up to roughly $500, which is still less than one-fifth the price of the aturbochargerkit. Cold air intakes may normally be installed in about a half hour with only a few simple hand tools and very little technical knowledge. They do not violate warranties, and if you decide to sell your car, you can easily return to factory specifications.

So you’re undoubtedly wondering, “If they’re that good, why isn’t the factory producing them?” It’s a good question, but the answer is primarily about money.

It’s also more concerned with following emissions regulations, keeping engine noises low, and ensuring that the engine lasts for years on end beneath the hood.

On the other hand, aftermarket businesses concentrate their research and development efforts on a limited number of products, resulting in aftermarket intakes that are over-engineered, even if this results in them being more expensive.

Finding Stock Horsepower

For this test, we used a 2016 Scion FR-S with the factory powertrain. Because it is a badge-engineered version of the Subaru BRZ, it has the same drivetrain as the Subaru BRZ: the FA20 2.0L boxer four-cylinder engine from Subaru. It even has the factory-style paper air filter, which means it should be able to produce 200 horsepower at 7,000 RPM or more. The test began with a stock intake and the car on a dynamometer, and progressed from there. The “dyno” is a device that monitors the power output of a vehicle at the wheels (technically, it measures torque and engine speed to calculate horsepower).

  • Horsepower delivered to the wheels is typically 12 to 20 percent less than the quoted figure, owing mostly to the weight of all of the spinning components.
  • Andy Jensen is the author of this piece.
  • The vehicle ran on the same93 octane gasoline both times, and the tires were 35 PSI cold on both occasions.
  • However, as the day progressed, a variable entered the picture.
  • on a windy day with a temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Warmer air has less oxygen density, thus there is a minute loss of measured power here as a result of the higher temperatures, although it is only around 3 or 4 horsepower in magnitude.

According to the FR-S/BRZ dyno sheets available online, this is squarely in the center of what one would anticipate from a stock car in terms of performance. A stock FR-S/BRZ will not want to drag race against a minivan for the same reason.

Installing the Intake

In this test, an AEM electronically adjusted intake system was employed as the source of airflow. According to AEM, this intake is of moderate difficulty and requires a 90-minute installation period, however it was far less difficult than that. Only a few tools were necessary for the installation:

  • Toolkit includes: wrench, fat blade screwdriver, 10mm socket ratchet, and Allen wrench.

It took a total of 33 minutes from the time the hood was raised to the time the task was done. AEM claimed to have gained an astonishing 10 horsepower at the wheels from this one modification, although their car only produced an exceptionally low 135 horsepower when it was in standard condition.

Cold Air Intake Results

The readout from the dynamometer shows that the stock intake produced peak horsepower on the first run. Andy Jensen is the author of this piece. The best result came from the average of two runs with the AEM intake, which was 163.31 at the wheels. According to some fast third grade arithmetic (well, it was done using a calculator), that equates to a 4.4 horsepower increase. The warmer weather was undoubtedly a factor, with the genuine increase being closer to 7 or 8 horsepower if temperatures had remained in the 50s instead of the 60s.

  • Despite the fact that the redline is higher, the FA20 merely loses steam after reaching that point.
  • It also displayed the air/fuel ratio during the runs, which should be 14.7:1 for gas engines in the ideal case.
  • When it was stock, it had an 11.6:1 compression ratio; with the intake, it had a 11.4:1 compression ratio.
  • That which DSPORT Magazine discovered when dyno testing numerous modifications on their project FR-S is supported by this.
  • Untuned modifications can only achieve a gain of roughly 5% as a result of this.
  • Because vehicles and dynos differ, you may observe more or fewer results with the same intake on a similar car, even if the intake is the same.

Also, perhaps, a song or two. Have you considered installing a cold air intake system? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

Cold-Air Intakes: How and Why They Work

The addition of a cold-air intake system to any vehicle, whether it’s a street car, a racing, or even a tow vehicle, is one of the most straightforward and cost-effective performance upgrades we can do. They have become so commonplace because they function so effectively that we no longer question why or how they operate. We were intrigued and asked a lot of how and why questions, and the answers we received were eye-opening. Our engineers talked with representatives from K N Performance and Corsa Performance, both of which are industry leaders in the air intake market, and we learnt a great deal.

Cold air intakes have been in use for a long period of time.

Even though a lot has changed since then, particularly in the areas of pollution control legislation and fuel delivery systems with greater precision, the best intake systems still follow the same fundamental principles, with the mathematics and science behind them being both intriguing and instructive.


Cold air intakes are designed to provide cooler air that is denser and contains more oxygen per unit of volume than warm air intakes. The cooler the weather, the better. Although no formula or rule of thumb exists to predict how much of a power gain we should anticipate to see with a particular reduction in temperature, there are some general guidelines. There are a plethora of factors. Jonathan Fiello, vice president of product development and engineering at K N Engineering, in Riverside, California, explained that there is no conventional scale that can be used to illustrate that decreasing the temperature by X amount will result in increasing the amount of horsepower produced by Y amount.

It is not a linear scale in any way.

As explained by Daniel Marty, engineering manager for TMG Performance Products in Berea, Ohio, which is the parent company of Corsa Performance and Volant Performance, to begin calculating a prospective power gain, you take the initial temperature and divide it by the colder temperature, then take the square root of that number.

If you’re talking about the difference between 100-degree air and 70-degree air, for example, you’ll find that after doing the arithmetic, you’ll obtain a 2.8 percent gain in power for every 30-degree change in temperature.

No, not at all.

According to Marty’s calculations, “if you were to move up on the scale, say the difference between 250 and 220 degrees (Fahrenheit), the improvement would be smaller since you’d be dividing the same difference by a greater number.” “And then taking that square root, so that the colder it becomes, the more that temperature matters.” As a result, it is not predicated on the difference in temperature.

In this case, temperature ratio and the square root of that ratio are taken into consideration.

“Of course, the most straightforward approach is to believe that cooler is better.” Take, for example, the environment of a racecar on a circuit, where the temperatures are unlikely to be what you would consider “cold,” and they are also unlikely to be very far apart, reducing the predicted performance improvements, as indicated in the instances above.

Although the air coming in from the outside is somewhat cooler, we race in the summer when the ambient temperatures are still rather high.

Consequently, the ambient temperatures are still high enough that the entering air isn’t very cool.

It’s not much, but you’ll take what you can get. However, there is another vital component of cold air intakes that contributes to their ability to generate power, and that is enhanced and better air flow.

Air Flow

A cold-air intake that inhibits air flow as compared to a stock system will negate all of the benefits of lower air intake temperatures, according to the manufacturer. It is necessary for a system to be functional in order to guarantee that the amount of cold air entering the system is equal to or greater than the volume of air you were receiving from the stock system. Fiello and Marty point out that as OEM systems improve, this is getting more difficult. In reality, many original equipment manufacturers’ systems already have cold air intake systems.

  1. In the subsonic environment, laminar air flow is the most effective kind of air flow.
  2. Fiello stated that as fuel efficiency and pollution rules have tightened, the manufacturer fuel trim windows have become smaller.
  3. According to Marty, the arithmetic for air flow is more easier, and the power benefits are higher.
  4. You’re referring to a ratio, right?
  5. If you drive your street vehicle in HPDE, you’ll discover that most of the cold air intakes you’ll come across have been designed just for you from top to bottom.
  6. If you’re building an air intake system for a race car on your own, the science underlying air intake systems provides a few guidelines to follow.


Fiello stated that the most straightforward method of gaining a bit more power is to install a freer-flowing air filter, something K N has specialized in for decades. Off-road racing trucks and dirt-track vehicles require a substantial amount of air filtering media, but a road racing car that — hopefully — stays on the track does not require as much. For example, instead of using four layers of oiled cotton gauze, you could just need two layers of cotton gauze with no oil on them, which would allow for more air to circulate more freely.

  • On the BMW E36 and E46, the air ducts that replace the left headlight are excellent examples of this.
  • A fender well is filled with a lot of turbulence because of the heat and dust produced by the brakes.
  • ” Second, keep it as straightforward and unrestrictive as possible.
  • A possible disruption point in the precious laminar air flow is created every time an intake tube junction is created.
  • Marty shared his thoughts.
  • You might need to tune your air intake system if you design it well enough since it falls outside of the range of fuel parameters that a factory tune will flow.
  • Emissions and fuel efficiency are important considerations, to be sure, but so are issues like as packaging and intake noise, which some buyers do not want to hear during the driving experience.

CORSA PERFORMANCE and K N ENGINEERING provided the images for this post.

Benefits Of Cold Air Intake: Are They Worth It?

If you drive a car, you should think about the advantages of installing a cold air intake system. Adding a cold air intake to your car is a worthwhile investment that may make a substantial impact in overall driving performance. Nowadays, simply purchasing and maintaining a vehicle is not sufficient for the majority of individuals. Great aftermarket systems, such as new exhaust systems and bolt-on accessories, are being developed and offered in an ongoing effort to improve the car’s power and general performance, and these systems are becoming increasingly popular.

See also:  Transfer case shifts on its own? (The answer is found)

These things certainly enhance the performance of your vehicle, but they are quite expensive, and you will most likely need more than a weekend to complete the installation of the pieces.

As a relatively inexpensive alteration (usually only few hundred dollars), it is also less difficult to install than the majority of other engine changes.

Cold Air Intake– What is It?

To better assist you in understanding the benefits of cold air intake, it is first necessary to grasp just what it is. Generally, a cold air intake (also known as a CAI) is an aftermarket arrangement of parts that is intended to provide comparatively chilly air into a vehicle’s internal combustion engine. Cold air intakes are designed to place the air filter outside of the engine compartment, allowing for cooler air to be drawn into the engine and used in the combustion process. Cooler air allows for more oxygen to be introduced into the combustion chamber, resulting in increased power.

  • The advantages of using a cold air intake system are enormous.
  • It is unable to function properly in this situation.
  • Furthermore, not only does a cold air intake lower the temperature of the air, but it also enhances the flow of air.
  • The engine receives continuous airflow as a result of the removal of the air box and the use of smoother tubing.

Benefits ofCold Air Intakes

The installation of a cold air intake system has been recommended by expert technicians for some time, because it may benefit even brand new cars and the most recent models, according to the experts. The following are some of the advantages of installing a cold air intake system in your car’s engine:

Added Horsepower

As previously stated, one aspect that influences the output power of an engine is the amount of air that is used throughout the combustion cycle. Cold air burns more fuel more effectively than hot air because of the higher rate of oxygen combustion. It is possible that the installation of a cold air intake system will result in an increase in horsepower.

But how much additional horsepower does a cold air intake system provide? According on the individual vehicle layout, installing a cold air intake may result in an increase of 5 to 12 horsepower.

Improved Acceleration

Every time you press down on the accelerator pedal, you may see the benefits of a cold air intake system in operation. A cold air intake system can improve the responsiveness of a vehicle. Due to the fact that a greater volume of cool air is sent to the engine, a car may accelerate to its target speed more quickly. As a result, if you love strong acceleration, you might consider installing a cold air intake system in your vehicle.

Improved MPG

Cold air intakes might help you get better mileage out of your automobile. This is owing to the fact that when internal combustion engines generate power by burning fuel, it is critical that the correct volume of oxygen be forced into the engine. The lack of oxygen results in higher fuel consumption, which is where a cold air intake system comes in handy. A cold air intake system is designed to provide the best possible air-to-fuel ratio, which will result in increased horsepower and fuel economy for the vehicle.

Another advantage of installing a cold air intake system is the reduction in gas expenditures that may be achieved as a consequence.

Improved Engine Roar

If you enjoy the roaring sound of an engine, you’ll be pleased to hear that one of the advantages of installing a cold air intake system on your vehicle is that it increases the engine’s performance. What effect does a cold air intake have on the sound of an engine? A factory air intake system is designed to operate in the background, but a cold air intake system is designed to improve overall performance. It has something to do with the fact that the volume of air being sucked in by the cold air intake system has grown significantly.

Spend Less on Filters

Paper air filters are often included with factory air intake systems, and they must be replaced every 15,000 miles. Aftermarket cold air intakes, on the other hand, are equipped with air filters that only need to be cleaned every 30,000 to 40,000 miles on the road. Cleaning air filters is simple and quick; all you have to do is wash them in soapy water and then completely rinse them in clean, cold water. There are no specific tools or abilities necessary!

Benefits ofCold Air Intakes– Are They Worth It?

Believe us when we tell that it is well worth the investment to have the greatest aftermarket components installed on your car if you want to achieve the maximum possible performance from your vehicle. The advantages of using a cold air intake system might help you achieve your goals more quickly. Install the cold air intake system and enjoy the glorious sound of free-flowing cool air into your engine — as well as a little additional horsepower — as soon as it’s finished working. Experiment with the increased efficiency given by the cold air intake system, and see how it may improve the overall health and performance of your car for years to come!

Subscribe to our newsletters! Get updates right into your inbox

Don’t miss out on the most up-to-date information and news.

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries,contact us.

Published on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 Is it your goal to beef up your vehicle’s performance or make it more powerful, or merely to make it operate more efficiently? There are a variety of aftermarket equipment available for purchase that will assist you in making the changes to your car that you wish. The cold air intake system is one that is very important to understand. The cold air inlet is a feature that is not commonly found in aftermarket items.

When compared to other options, it is both reasonably priced and quite simple to install. Is it, however, worth the effort and expense? We’ll go through what it does and how it could affect the running of your car in more detail.

How Cold Air Intakes Work

Your vehicle already has an air intake system that was installed at the factory, but it might become blocked at times. Consider this to be similar to a regular cold, which causes congestion in your sinuses and makes it difficult to breathe. Of course, if you tried to run a 5K in this condition, it’s unlikely that it would go well. Similarly, attempting to operate your vehicle when the air intake system is congested might result in issues and diminished functionality. Cold air intakes are designed to solve this problem.

It dissolves the obstructions and allows your vehicle to “breathe” normally once again, allowing it to perform as intended.

What a Cold Air Intake Does

The air filter is moved outside of the engine compartment when you add a cold air intake, allowing cool air to be drawn into the engine and used for combustion. This chilly air is more densely packed with oxygen, which means there is more fuel available for combustion and hence more power available for your car to generate. Your cold air intake also allows for more free circulation and less hot air buildup in the engine compartment as a result of the cold air intake. There are further advantages as well.

This ensures that the engine receives uninterrupted air flow throughout operation.

To summarize, yes, albeit the manner in which your engine’s performance increases may differ.

An aftermarket cold air intake, on the other hand, will almost certainly enhance airflow and overall vehicle performance.

Making a Decision About Cold Air Intakes

Important to remember is that cold air intakes are purely aftermarket accessories. In order to receive assistance with the installation or maintenance of an aftermarket product of any type, you’ll most likely need to visit an auto shop, such as your neighborhood Meineke Car Care Center. A reputable technician can assist you in determining whether or not you should invest in a cold air intake system for your vehicle.

Does a K&N Cold Air Intake Work?

I’ve been aware of cold air intakes (CAI) for many years, but I’ve never had the opportunity to put one on a car that I own, until now. I’ve been looking for a way to get more power and better responsiveness out of my 2008 Ford F-150, and I wanted to check whether a K N cold air intake might be the solution. My F-150 is a 5.4-liter Triton V8 with 165,000 miles on the odometer. Since I never tow, the vehicle has received proper care, including oil changes and maintenance performed at regular intervals.

The only modification I’ve made is to swap out the standard muffler with a Flowmaster Delta 50 aftermarket exhaust system.

I enjoy the sound of the Flowmaster, but I’m not certain it brought any additional power to the car, or that if it did, it was not noticeable to me while driving. With the K N, though, I saw a significant change right away!

What is a Cold Air Intake

According to the old saying, a better-breathing engine produces higher performance. In most normally aspirated pickup trucks, the factory air intake boxes have no particular use other than to block out noise and get the engine to spec for the greatest mileage possible, which is not always the best performance. Here’s a picture of the massive stock intake box on my Ford F-150 pickup truck. A cold air intake substitutes this box with an air intake tube that is shorter and bigger in diameter, as well as an exposed air filter.

Improvements in engine air flow can not only result in more horsepower, but they can also result in improved fuel efficiency and longer engine life.

Take note of how much sleeker and smaller it has become.

Some people may not like the sound of the intake whirling up, but I personally enjoy it.

How to Install a K N Cold Air Intake

When I received the K N 57-2556 cold air intake, it was packaged in a medium-sized box with clear instructions and all of the hardware needed to install the intake. This intake is the least expensive variant since the intake tube is constructed of roto-molded HDPE plastic, rather than power coated or bare aluminum, as opposed to the other two options. The latter types are aesthetically pleasing, yet they provide the same effects. Despite the fact that there were instructions and photographs included, I also resorted to this useful YouTube video during the installation process.

It took me about an hour and a half to install an intake because I’d never done it before.

The intake tube of the K N is an inch longer, allowing for more air to pass into the engine.

I was concerned about a check engine light coming on during engine starter, but the truck started up well and there were no lights.

You Can Feel the Difference

The following day, we loaded up the car with kids, bikes, skateboards, and surfboards and traveled down to Newport Beach from Los Angeles. When I pressed the gas pedal to pass, I could see a significant improvement in the truck’s handling. From 40 to 60 mph, the vehicle appeared to shift into third gear more quickly and accelerate more vigorously. Despite the fact that I could hear the intake fan spinning, it wasn’t any louder than the exhaust when I stepped on it. It would have been more visible if I hadn’t been using an aftermarket exhaust system.

When passing or towing, this makes a huge difference in the overall experience.

In addition to greater performance, the K N requires less upkeep than previous models.

As an additional measure, I fitted an air-filter sleeve to further protection against water, moisture, and dust while also extending the life of the filter.

Final Verdict

I wished I had added an intake system earlier in the process. I get the impression that my ancient 5.4 has been given new life, and the next natural step will be to install a bespoke tuner in order to extract even more power from this vehicle. For those seeking an inexpensive performance upgrade that would not violate their vehicle’s warranty or cause them to lose money, consider installing a K N cold air intake system in their vehicle.

Timothy Dahl

Timothy is the creator and editor of CharlesHudson. He formerly worked as an editor at Popular Mechanics, This Old House, and Lifehacker, among other publications. His work has appeared on Wired, Bob Vila, DIY Network, and The Family Handyman, among other publications. He is also the founder of the Webby-nominatedBuilt by Kidswebsite and the host of the popularTool Cravepodcast, both of which are available on iTunes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *