Does Cold Air Intake increases MPG?
- Author: SPELAB Mechanical Engineer (focusing on car modification for 10 years)
Cold air intakes are the first thing recommended in the world of performance modification upgrades, but it also brings a question the following question
‘What impact cold air intake will have on the fuel economy of your vehicle? Will the MPG go up or down?’
As the resources are getting depleted, they are getting more and more expensive, whereas the buying power of people is still the same. Nowadays, a vehicle is a necessity for anyone but due to depleting resources and inflation the fuel prices goes up. Therefore, vehicle owners look for the ways to increase the MPG of the vehicle.
Cold air intakes are a good addition to your vehicle and it increases your fuel efficiency in the range of 3-5 MPG, along with a corresponding increase in horsepower and a decrease in harmful emissions.
MPG and cold air intake correlation
For the combustion to occur inside the engine, oxygen serves a critical importance. For efficient combustion, there is a great focus on providing quality oxygen to the engine’s cylinder. One must ensure following for complete burning of the fuel
- Sufficient amount of air to completely burn the fuel
- Availability of denser air (cold air)
From school education we all know that:
Cool air is denser, which means it has greater concentration of Oxygen as compared to hot air. The ability of the engine to burn the fuel completely increases with the amount of oxygen supplied to the combustion chamber.
However, if limited amount of oxygen is available in the chamber at the time of combustion, then it is obvious that all the fuel won’t be burnt. The unburnt fuel is considered a waste and consequently with improper burning we will lose power and it will also contribute towards environmental emissions. Thus, for better efficiency, cold air intake system is preferred, because it provides sufficient amount of cold air to the engine’s cylinder which helps in burning the fuel completely and as a result we get proper utilization of fuel in terms of better power generation as well as less environmental emissions. This is all the science behind this cold air intake upgrade.
How much gain in MPG can be expected from adding a cold air intake?
As explained the cold air intake allows engine to draw in cooler and denser air, which results in complete combustion and improved performance, and therefore a cold air intake can increase the fuel economy up to 5 MPG. However, the fuel economy is dependent on many factors like driving conditions and cold air intake system.
Benefits of cold air intake
With a cold air intake, you can expect the following from your vehicle
Providing your vehicle with sufficient quantity of quality air, you achieve complete and proper combustion. With a good cold air intake, MPG can be improved up to 5MPG, because it provides your engine with adequate amount of Oxygen needed to completely burn the fuel. With a completely burnt fuel, along with your mileage, your horsepower also increases and environmental emissions are reduced as well.
There is no specific number about how much horsepower will an intake system add to a vehicle but it generally varies between 5-20 hp. It must be mentioned that for vehicles that have turbo chargers on them, for them these cold air intakes are extremely crucial and they will experience a significant improvement in horsepower.
Now that the air flow of your vehicle is improved after installing the cold air intake, your engine is definitely going to produce greater power and with the power you will feel the boost in acceleration.
As you provide the engine quality air by installing a cold air intake, you can notice a change in the sound of your engine, which is full of roar. Thus, you can take it like your engine is happy for that performance.
Installing the cold air intake
The stock air intake is installed near the engine, where there is influence of engine heat. Therefore, the sucked air is hotter and therefore, your combustion process suffers and eventually your engine also suffers. However, the cold air intake is normally installed away from the engine in a heat shield to ensure that cold air is provided to the engine. The preferred location is near the fender wall, where the air is cold enough to provide complete and proper burning. Also, the cold air intake is really larger in the size and thus, it improves the air flow of the engine, due to which we get better performance from the engine.
To replace the intake system, following steps are required to be taken
- Remove the cover of air filter box
- Take out the stock filter
- Disconnect the MAF sensor
- Remove the pipe from the throttle body
- Take out the screws from the housing and remove the housing
- Remove the MAF sensor and keep it aside
- Install the new cold air intake pipe on the throttle and tighten it
- Install the MAF sensor and connect it with the wiring
- Put the new air filter over the other end of the pipe
Now your vehicle is good to go. Experience the improvement by driving your vehicle.