It is always worth mentioning Cold Air Intake if you aim to boost your engine’s power or to make it run more efficiently. And remember that quality is essential when it comes to purchasing a cold air intake. A quality cold air intake (CAI) ensures that you get the most out of your car’s engine. The mechanism behind the engine’s performance works in a way that fuel gets converted to mechanical energy. This process relies on oxygen for fuel combustion to commence. And this means the power of the engines depends upon the amount of oxygen-rich air within the combustion cycle.
Cold air intake may be relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but is it worth it? In this article, we will try and explain how it works, what it does, and its benefits to your car’s engine. So let’s start!
Check out our product review on The Best Cold Air Intake.
The way cold air intake work
For those of you who are curious, you might have asked yourself the mechanism behind this tool. The first thing you should know is that your car comes with a pre-installed air intake mechanism. But this system isn’t great since it might get clogged while in use. And when this happens, it will affect your car’s engine, and it might lead to the problem of decreased functionality. Therefore, to address this issue more economically and competently, you will need a cold air intake installation.
Remember, for complete fuel combustion to occur, you need oxygen, and CAI will allow a higher volume of oxygen-rich air into the cylinders. Cold air should be the ones injected into engine cylinders but not warm air, why? This is simply because cold air contains more oxygen molecules than warm air. The other thing why cold air intake is preferable to the factory-installed stock air intake tract is that it allows in more air. And more air means more fire, which means more power.
So let’s now answer the question of what does a cold air intake do? Every cold air intake design is in a way that it delivers the right amount of cold air to the engine. It means the cold air sucked through will be burnt and exhausted after mixing with fuel in the engine’s cylinder. It results in an increase in the horsepower and the torque though the density of cold air will dictate it sucked through. This is just one benefit of installing it in your vehicle. So, let’s have a look at other CAI benefits.
Cold Air Intake Benefits
Some of us may have noticed that mechanics or any other car experts tend to recommend cold air intake installation. They say it doesn’t matter if your car is an old or the newest model with an advanced factory-installed air track, you still need CAI. So, here are some of the significant benefits of using it:
Your car engine horsepower always gets dictated by the rate and the extent of fuel combustion. More and faster fuel combustion means more horsepower. Therefore, your engine’s output will get determined by the amount of oxygen-rich air supplied to the combustion cycle. Thus, having this in your car will help increase horsepower by allowing more cold air into the combustion cycle.
Cold air intake may result in an extra 5 to 12 HP. This shows how much of the horsepower increase you are to expect after installing a cold air intake. The extent of improvement will depend on your vehicle configuration.
Reduces Your Expenditure on Filters
As said earlier that the factory installed stock air intake system has a disadvantage of less air intake, it also has a problem with filters. Stock air intakes come with filters that need replacing with new ones after every 15,000 miles. But when you compare it with cold air intakes, which need 30,000 to 40,000 miles for cleaning to happen but not a replacement. Based on the comparison, you will then realize that it reduces the cost of spending on filters. And cleaning your cold air intake system is easy since it comes with a user manual that shows you how to clean it. All you need to do is to wash it well using soapy water and rinse it thoroughly using clean water.
Gas Mileage Improvement
Will a cold air intake improve gas mileage? Yes, it will. Some of you might be asking themselves about how this happens, but hold up and let me clear the fuss for you. The basic principle behind engine performance relies on fuel combustion, and for that to happen, you need oxygen. Therefore, with less oxygen, there will be less combustion resulting in more fuel usage –Less oxygen in the combustion cycle equals increased fuel consumption.
Therefore, to enhance fuel economy while increasing horsepower, you will need cold air intake. This system ensures that there is an optimum air to fuel ratio within the combustion cycle.
Results to Increased Acceleration
Installing CAI in your vehicle comes with a ton of benefits, and increased acceleration is one of them. As said earlier, cold air intake increases complete fuel combustion hence increasing horsepower. This, therefore, translates into improved acceleration by increasing the responsiveness when you push the accelerator pedal. It means you can quickly achieve maximum acceleration over a short period. So if you want to enjoy better acceleration of your car, consider installing cold air intake on your vehicle.
It enhances engines sound
Cold air intake system design, work by improving your engine’s performance while the stock air intake design, work quietly. So if you want that gentle roar in your engine or the throaty growl, then cold air intake is an ideal choice for you. The change in sound is due to more intense airflow along with the performance of the exhaust system. Most car owners like this system not only because of the performance benefits it delivers but also the ideal sound it gives to their cars. For instance, that sound feeling of free-flowing air through your engine.
Besides CAI installation bringing several valuable benefits to your car, there are also a few drawbacks that come with it. These drawbacks may not affect all vehicles rather a few with certain designed features.
The drawbacks include:
- Water leaking into your engine: It happens when, or if the filters are too exposed that it ends up drawing in water that will head directly into your engine. This occurrence will affect your engine performance that it may lead to several engine complications. So, to counter this problem, you can add a bypass valve to prevent this drawback from happening.
- May interfere with some manufacture’s engine warranty: If you are planning to install CAI in your new car, be sure to consult your manufacturer about it first. If you fail, then try and understand that it may lead to some problems in the future. But it is better to look into this situation first before proceeding with the installation.
Installing a cold air intake system
Cold air intake system installation is quite a simple task to do; all you need is a few wrenches and a screwdriver. What makes it easy to install is that regardless of the system you chose, it always comes with an installation manual. The instructions in the manual contain pictures for easy directives reasons. You can also organize it on a step-by-step basis and a tool to use, and more importantly, the technical support team is always there to help you.
Frequently asked questions about cold air intake
i. What is heat soak in CAI?
While the engine is working, it produces a lot of heat, which in turn may heat the intake pipes too. So when this happens, the sucked air will get heated before it reaches the combustion cycle. Therefore, this issue is known as heat soak, and it mostly occurs in cheap CAI.
ii. How much horsepower does cold air intake add to your engine?
The extent of results or benefits that CAI adds to your car’s engine depends on the modifications of your vehicle. According to manufacturers, they say that it adds between 5 and 20 HP.
iii. Is it worth using cold air intakes?
According to us, yes, cold air intake is worth it. We judge based on the improvement of overall performance without forgetting the drawbacks it comes with. As highlighted on the benefits side of this article, it shows that this system has lots of benefits for your car.
iv. Is it legal to use cold air intakes?
Yes, they are. For instance, the state of California demands safe emission which requires air intake. CARB (California Air Resource Board) is a body designed to inspect this problem.
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When it comes to choosing the best cold air intakes, it is better to note that they are all aftermarket products. It means if you need help with installing it, then you will have to go to your nearest auto-shop. For instance, a trusted technician or the local car care center to help you with the installation process. You can also consult them on whether it is better or not for you to install a cold air intake on your car.
Other than that, you can install a cold air intake and enjoy the benefits that it adorns your car with.