|Typical cold air intake system|
The addition of a cold air intake to a car’s engine system is predominantly for the purpose of increasing your horsepower. A cold air intake also adds a substantial depth to the sound of your engine and can be bought in many colours to enhance the look under your hood. According to Auto Anything Engineers a cold air intake can improve your fuel economy by 1-2 Miles per gallon, even larger savings are reported by other sources (3-8 MPG).
These devices come in many shapes and sizes; the most common of which re-route your air intake to the side of your engine or through a front fender and are fitted with an airbox to increase efficiency. They are made of anything from plastic to silicone or Kevlar composites.
- Increase in horsepower; fuel burns richer and cleaner providing more power and torque.
- Increase in fuel economy; an increase in horsepower means less petrol required per unit of torque required.
- Better throttle response; richer fuel provides power quicker giving your engine a fast response to throttle change.
While there are significant advantages to gain from when implementing this system you should be aware of several disadvantages as well:
- Like many after market engine modifications, unless your car comes with one, adding a cold air intake to your car’s internal combustion engine can void your manufacturer’s engine warranty.
- As stated above, it is common for the system to be mounted underneath a front fender; this makes the engine prone to hydrolock. This occurs if the air intake is submerged in water and will render your engine useless. An air bypass valve can eliminate this threat.
Tips for purchasing a cold air intake system that’s suitable for you:
- Don’t go for products that advertise a monstrous gain in horsepower, these will likely under perform and last a small length of time. Look for an increase in the region of 10 to 25 horses. This will of course depend on the model of your vehicle. Models that come with a reusable air filter will also be cheaper in the long term.
- Like any automotive part on the market there is a huge number of manufacturers, some aimed at looks (Chrome, Matte, etc), some at sound and most on horsepower and performance.
- Depending on what you want specifically; K&N, Injen and AEM are fantastic brands. Well made intakes will come with a guarantee (Sometimes for a lifetime) and are a good measure of quality.
· Where to buy
- Prices vary from place to place. Online retailers like Auto Anything provide a great range and may provide free shipping with certain orders.
No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, investing in a cold air intake can add a great deal to your engine’s performance.