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A good number of engine modifications have come out in recent years. There's the turbocharger, the aftermarket performance exhaust system, and the supercharger. These kits offer better vehicle performance and much-desired horsepower gains, turning vehicles into mighty road beasts. But then, there's the cold air intake. Compared to other performance modifications, this is much simpler in design, easier to install, and less expensive. It costs just a few hundred dollars and can take you just over an hour to install.
Cold air intakes come in a larger, cone-shaped filter that's attached to a tube. The intake is smoother and the air filter diameter is larger. This design allows for cleaner air being drawn into the engine and less restrictive airflow.
Basically, what cold air intakes do for your engine is help it breathe more easily by bringing in cooler air. They feed the engine with more air in a shorter span of time. Since cooler air is denser or more compressed, this allows for more efficient combustion, which helps generate more power.
Since cooler air is denser, it carries more oxygen, which is good for combustion. By bringing in a larger volume of air into the cylinder and allowing the free flow of air, power is generated more easily. Increase in power may vary. It may range from 5 to 20 horsepower depending on the vehicle and the specific cold air intake.
Enhanced vehicle performance
Cold air that circulates around the engine keeps it from overheating easily and getting too stressed. The increase in oxygen also allows for a much cleaner burn. The engine is then able to run more efficiently, prolonging its life span.
Better fuel economy
The increased efficiency of the engine can lead to better fuel economy. Feeding the engine with cleaner, high-density air helps in achieving the right air-fuel mixture for combustion. However, fuel economy ratings may also vary, as with expected horsepower gains.
* The car should be properly tuned to accommodate the changes introduced by the cold air intake system and to maximize the much-desired enhancements in power and overall performance.
Although this is rare, this is one possibility that you should consider when switching to a cold air intake. Hydrolock may happen when water goes straight into the engine through the intake opening. Unfortunately, the intake has no easy way of preventing this, especially when crossing streams or when driving in rain or flooded areas. This can lead to a damaged engine or vehicle.
Once you switch to this intake system, you'll probably notice some driving noise that wasn't there before. You may hear a whistling sound as air is being sucked into the engine.
Installing a cold air intake may void the warranty of your engine, especially in new vehicles. This may become a problem for some car owners.
* Consider all these risks and downsides before making the big switch to this kind of intake system.