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What Exactly Does a Cold Air Intake Do?

What Exactly Does a Cold Air Intake Do?

  • Author: SPELAB Mechanical Engineer (focusing on car modification for 10 years)


You might have heard of cold air intakes before, but you're not sure what they do. Allow us to explain.

A cold air intake is an aftermarket part that you can install in your car to improve engine performance. It works by funneling cooler air into the engine, which helps it run more efficiently. This, in turn, results in better fuel economy and more power.What Exactly Does a Cold Air Intake Do?

If you're thinking of installing a cold air intake in your car, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you'll need to make sure that your car is compatible with the intake. Second, you'll need to find a reputable installer who can do the job for you. And finally, you'll need to decide which cold air intake is right for you.

What Is a Cold Air Intake?

  • A cold air intake is a device that's bolted onto your car's engine. Its main purpose is to get cooler air into the engine, as opposed to the warm air that's normally drawn in.
  • By replacing the standard air filter with a cold air intake, you can improve your car's performance by getting more oxygen into the engine. This is because cooler air is denser than warm air, meaning that there's more oxygen in every cubic foot. More oxygen means more power, and that's what you want when you're trying to improve your car's performance.

Benefits of a Cold Air Intake

  • A cold air intake does a lot for your engine. It increases airflow, which in turn increases performance. Not only does this mean that your engine can breathe better, but it also means that you'll get more power and better fuel economy.
  • In addition to all of that, a cold air intake will also make your engine sound cooler and throatier. Some people install them just for sound, but if you're looking for performance and fuel economy as well, the cold air intake is a great choice.

Installation of a Cold Air Intake

  • Installing a cold air intake is a great way to improve the performance of your car. As the name suggests, a cold air intake brings in cold air from outside the engine bay, while the stock intake system brings in warm air from the engine bay. This difference in temperature helps the engine to run cooler and more efficiently.What Exactly Does a Cold Air Intake Do?
  • Not only does this improve performance, but it can also increase fuel economy. In fact, many people report an increase of up to 10% in fuel economy after installing a cold air intake. This is because the engine doesn't have to work as hard to generate power, and it can run cooler for longer periods of time.

Types of Cold Air Intakes

  • There are several different types of cold air intakes available on the market. Some are designed to fit a specific make and model of vehicle, while others are more universal and can be installed on a variety of different types of cars.
  • The two most popular types of cold air intakes are short ram intakes and cold air intake kits. Short ram intakes are less expensive and easier to install than cold air intake kits. They typically consist of a short, straight intake pipe and a small air filter. Cold air intake kits, on the other hand, are designed to improve airflow and performance. They often include a longer intake pipe and a larger, more sophisticated air filter.
  • Short ram intakes are a good choice for budget-conscious consumers who want to improve their vehicle’s performance. Cold air intake kits are a better choice for those who want to get the most out of their vehicle.
  • No matter which type of cold air intake you choose, you’re sure to see an improvement in your vehicle’s performance.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting Tips for a Cold Air Intake

  • It's important to note that a cold air intake system isn't maintenance-free; there are a few things you should watch out for. Firstly, be sure to inspect and clean your filter regularly. A dirty filter can greatly reduce the effectiveness of your cold air intake, so make sure to clean or replace it as needed.
  • Another thing you should look out for is any unusual sounds or decreased engine performance after installation. This could indicate that the filter or tubing isn't installed correctly, or that something else is wrong with the system. If this happens, you'll want to get it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.
  • Finally, it's important to check your vehicle's owner's manual before installing a cold air intake system, as some are not recommended on certain vehicles.

Test and Running Results of a Cold Air Intake

  • So now that you have an understanding of what cold air intake is and why it's important, let's take a look at some of the test results.
  • When you install a cold air intake, you can expect an increase in engine performance. This can be seen in both dynamometer and on-road test results due to the improved airflow.What Exactly Does a Cold Air Intake Do?
  • In terms of fuel economy, the improved engine efficiency has been seen to result in better fuel economy figures too. Specifically, the increase in torque performance allows a car to use the same amount of energy more efficiently during acceleration, meaning less fuel is needed for the same amount of power.
  • Finally, when looking at emissions results, tests have shown reductions in hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions as well as an increase in overall engine responsiveness. All this adds up to fewer pollutants being released into the atmosphere, making cold air intakes a great choice for those looking for an eco-friendly upgrade.


So, what does a cold air intake do? In a nutshell, it allows your engine to suck in cooler air, which in turn makes your engine run more efficiently. This means that your car can perform better and you'll also see a boost in fuel economy. Additionally, a cold air intake can also improve the sound of your engine.

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