How much Horsepower is a Cold Air Intake Adding?

If your goal is to get more horsepower from your vehicle you should look at your available aftermarket options. A good airflow can increase horsepower. Many choose to put in a cold-air intake.

This guide will explain what a cold-air intake looks like and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using one. We will also cover the basics of cold air intake installation at the end. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Is a cold-air intake worth adding horsepower to your car?
  2. What does a Cold Air Intake look like?
  3. A Cold Air Intake: The Pros
    1. 1. Increased Horsepower
    2. 2. Improved Acceleration
    3. 3. Higher Mileage
    4. 4. Get better filters
    5. 5. Superior Sound
  4. A Cold Air Intake: The cons
    1. 1. You need filter discerning
    2. 2. Changes to the Idle
    3. 3. Prices
    4. 4. Difficult Installation
  5. How to install a cold air intake
  6. Questions about cold air intake
    1. How much is a cold-air intake really worth?
    2. Is a cold intake going to cause damage to my engine?
    3. Is a cold-air intake more efficient than a hot air intake?
    4. Is a cold-air intake likely to increase the sound quality?

Is a cold-air intake worth adding horsepower to your car?

A cold air intake can improve your engine’s performance by 0 to 20 horsepower, depending on the car model and engine. Installing a cold intake can be a great option for large turbocharged engines.

Installing a cold intake on smaller engines that aren't turbocharged will not cause a significant performance improvement. However, this isn’t the only benefit which is why cold air intake is often a great investment. 

RELATED: 10 Best Cold Air Intakes – Review & Buyer’s Guide

What does a Cold Air Intake look like?

Modern vehicles are set up to avoid pulling hot air into the engine, but there’s usually still room for improvement. To prevent heated air from entering your motor, an aftermarket cold intake includes tubing to move the cold box and filter. For better results, these kits often include a performance filter.

A large throttle body may be included with your kit, depending on what you are willing to spend. A ram scoop can be added to the kit for increased performance. 

A Cold Air Intake: The Pros

1. Increased Horsepower

Most people want to upgrade to a cold intake to gain more power from their engines. For more horsepower, cooler air is able to flow into the engine and fuel will burn less. 

The oxygen combustion rate increases and you will experience an increase in horsepower. You might get five horsepower more in some cars. Others can gain greater power. The car that you drive and the cold air intake choice will determine how much horsepower you get.

RELATED: How to Increase Car Engine’s Horsepower & Torque? (8 Steps)

2. Improved Acceleration

You should see an increase in acceleration time due to the higher horsepower. As cold air is introduced to the combustion chamber, your vehicle will become more responsive.

Because cold air is denser than hot air, there’s more of it available during combustion. You will reach your desired speed much quicker with this higher efficiency. This acceleration will bring you more speed when you get on to an interstate highway or highway.

3. Higher Mileage

A cold air intake can increase the motor's air-to fuel ratio. A motor will burn less fuel if it has more air flowing through. 

You will see an improvement in gas mileage. With rising fuel costs, everyone wants to reduce the number of trips to the gas station.

RELATED: Horsepower vs. Torque – Which Is More Important (& Why?)

4. Get better filters

The stock intake in your vehicle probably doesn’t have high-performance filters included. Instead, it is likely that the material in your vehicle's stock intake contains only paper. This can be easily damaged and needs to constantly be replaced.

Aftermarket intakes will have a stronger filter. These aren’t just going to protect the system better, but many of them can be cleaned instead of replaced. Some models only require cleaning the filter once every 50,000 miles. 

RELATED: 10 Best Engine Air Filters for Cars – Review & Buyer’s Guide

5. Superior Sound

Once you put the cold air intake on your vehicle, you’ll notice a unique sound. It’s not only going to be louder but also fuller.

The engine's colder air makes the noise louder. However, you can find intakes that muffle the noise if you prefer, so you aren’t stuck with the performance-centered sound.

A Cold Air Intake: The cons

1. You need filter discerning

While we mentioned that the cold intake has a superior filter, it is still important to be cautious. There are many options for choosing the right type of filter. You should not buy a filter that is too cheap.

Foam filters, for example, allow you to have more horsepower. However, foam filters can collect too many dirt and other debris which could end up in your engine. For this reason, it’s important to perform plenty of research before you decide what to use.

2. Changes to the Idle

The temperature of a cold air intake can reach ninety degree. The idle could be affected by this kind of change. It’s more noticeable when also combined with other aftermarket components.

When the engine begins to draw in too much air, it will cause the idle to behave differently. In some cases, you don’t need to do anything about it, but you might want to have a professional double-check the situation. 

3. Prices

If you leave your vehicle the way it is now, you don’t have to spend any money on upgrades. Installing an aftermarket intake for cold air will cost you a good deal.

A new intake can cost anywhere between $50 and $1,500. The price of a high-performance model could be even more. This might be a problem if your budget is tight. 

4. Difficult Installation

If you're a skilled mechanic, it is possible to build your own cold air intake. However, that’s not the case for your average driver.

It is more expensive to bring your vehicle to a mechanic in order to get it fixed. This hourly rate may cause costs to rise significantly.

How to install a cold air intake

You will require some tools if you want to install your cold air intake yourself. It’s also important that you choose a model that’s specific to your car. If the model is not right for your car, it might be difficult to fit.

You can find some guidelines here, but be sure to refer to your manual.

  1. Take off the cover from the filter box.
  2. The factory filter should be removed.
  3. Disconnect the MAF sensor’s power cable.
  4. Use a pair of pliers to remove the clip that secures the air filter hose. 
  5. Remove the filters from the housing by removing the screws.
  6. The MAF sensors should be removed from the housing. You can mark it to indicate which direction it should face.
  7. Place the exhaust pipe in the engine bay and check that it fits. For more information, refer to these instructions.
  8. Make sure you secure the new pipe. 
  9. The MAF sensor should be installed. Place it correctly.
  10. Use the power connector to attach your MAF sensor.
  11. To complete the installation, place the air filter.

If, at any point, this process becomes too confusing for you, it’s best to have a professional look at it closer. You don’t want to make a mistake that costs you more money than you what you needed to initially spend.

Questions about cold air intake

How much is a cold-air intake really worth?

A cold air intake has its pros and cons. A cold air intake has one major benefit: it lets your engine breathe in more cold air. This will increase engine performance. Cheap cold air intake kits could cause engine damage. So if it’s worth it is totally up to you. Don’t expect crazy results from a cold air intake kit.

Is a cold intake going to cause damage to my engine?

It’s possible that a cold air intake could damage your engine if it’s not installed correctly. You could also damage your engine if the cold intake kit you purchased has a poor engine filter. You should only purchase a cold intake kit made by a reputable and trusted company.

Is a cold-air intake more efficient than a hot air intake?

Cool air intakes cool the engine and can improve combustion efficiency as well as fuel economy. However, depending on which car you have, the degree to which cold air intakes can improve your gas mileage will vary. You shouldn’t expect any huge results from just a cold air intake kit, though.

Is a cold-air intake likely to increase the sound quality?

A cold air intake kit can increase the sound quality of most cars. The installation and make of the cold intake will also affect the sound quality. The sound quality of an engine should be improved by a cold intake. It allows for greater airflow and higher RPMs.

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