What does a cold air intake do?
Author: SPELAB Mechanical Engineer (focusing on car modification for 10 years)
The intake system in your car is essential to how well it runs. It is crucial in attracting oxygen, which is necessary for combustion. To improve the system's performance, you can think about purchasing an aftermarket cool air intake.
What Is a Cold Air Intake?
Compression, an air-fuel mixture, and a spark are three crucial components for the engine to run properly. The intake system feeds air to the engine through the intake manifold. When oxygen and gasoline from the gas tank combine, the resulting combination ignites inside the engine cylinders. The combustion chamber and engine are filled with cool air thanks to the cold air intake. Compared to hot air, cold air is denser with oxygen. Therefore, it contributes to a more effective combustion reaction, which increases engine power and performance.
The Parts of a Typical Air Intake System
Here are the primary components and their roles in the factory air intake system of your car to help you understand it better:
- Air Filter and Housing
The air filter traps dirt and other debris in the air to stop dirt and other impurities from entering the engine. It assists in preserving the purity of the oxygen in the engine's intake system.
A housing, which is commonly constructed of plastic, houses the air filter. An air inlet allows fresh air to enter the house.
- Mass Air Flow Sensor
The mass air flow sensor keeps track of how much air is blown into the engine. The computer requires this information in your car to balance the air and fuel for an internal combustion reaction.
It's crucial to note that not all automobiles come equipped with a mass air flow sensor. Instead, the computer employs a variety of sensors to evaluate how much fuel the engine requires, including the accelerator pedal sensor and the intake pressure sensor. Other engines use what is known as a speed-density fuel system.
Most air intake systems also feature a resonator, which lessens the turbulence of the air passing through the system. The resonator's main objective is to reduce the noise production of the air intake system.
- Air Intake Ducting
Ducting joins the various components of the air intake system by connecting the air intake housing to the throttle body.
- Throttle Body
The engine's intake manifold receives air flow regulation from the throttle body, which is also responsible for regulating the rate of combustion and the speed of the vehicle.
To let air into the engine, the throttle plate in the throttle body opens when the accelerator pedal is depressed. However, the release of the accelerator causes the plate to close, preventing airflow into the combustion chamber.
Do Cold Air Intakes Make a Difference?
This question can now be posed since you have a better understanding of how intricate and crucial the intake system is. Should you invest in cold air intakes?
The factory air filter housing and ductwork in your car are replaced by tubing and an open air filter element in a cold air intake system. The advantages of a cold air intake include the following:
- Increased Horsepower
One of the reasons why many of their manufacturers add HP to their product features is because cold air intakes boost horsepower. Some claim, however, that your vehicle has a significant impact on how much power you obtain.
One thing is certain: cold air intake can help your engine burn fuel more effectively by bringing colder air inside.
- Better Mileage
The intake system aids in achieving the proper air-to-fuel ratio in your vehicle. This implies that your car can get greater gas mileage if it has enough oxygen, which is exactly what cold air intakes do. After all, a shortage of oxygen or insufficient oxygen will cause the engine to consume more gasoline.
- Improved Acceleration
Your automobile can become more responsive when you add a cold air intake. This is due to the fact that efficient air intake enables you to accelerate more quickly.
When you upgrade your intake system, there may be drawbacks, just like with some other vehicle improvements. Here are a few examples:
- Potential Engine Performance Problems
Some cold air intake systems, especially those that lack ports for the factory intake air sensor or are of poor quality, can impair engine efficiency and result in check engine light illumination and rough running.
- Possibility of Voiding Your Car's Warranty
The installation of a cold air intake could void any factory or extended warranties that came with your car. Before installing, you should check with your provider.
How does the performance of my car change with an S&B cold air intake?
- All combustion engines produce power using air and fuel.
To put it simply, more air entering the engine will result in more power being produced. Increasing the volumetric airflow or the air density are the two ways to increase the amount (mass) of air the engine consumes. You can increase the volumetric airflow (CFM) that the engine uses by changing the camshafts or modifying the engine to enhance displacement. This article will go through the alternative method of increasing engine power, which involves raising air density. (Air pressure and volumetric flows have a relationship that involves volumetric efficiency, but it is outside the subject of this article) Temperature and pressure mostly determine air density. (Humidity also has a negligible impact on air density; humid air is less dense than dry air)
- Air Density and Temperature.
Using a straightforward formula that divides the absolute air pressure by the temperature and the specific gas constant, one can estimate how a drop in temperature affects the rise in air density.
You just want to draw in the coldest air possible for maximum air density when it comes to intake design. The drop in air density will cause an engine power loss if the intake is drawing heated air from the engine bay. Many modern stock OEM intakes can very successfully pull in cold ambient air from places like the fender well or the exterior of the car. The same sources should be used to draw cool ambient air into an aftermarket performance intake, and the intake must have a tight seal to keep out hotter air from the engine chamber.
Is cold air intake better than K&N cold air intake?
In the end, your decision about the air intake system is based on your particular tastes. Choose aFe cold air intake if you want the option of oiled or dry filters. However, K&N cold air intake offers the ideal choice if you're concerned with the intake tube's high-quality construction.