Top 10 Best Cold Air Intake Reviews For The Money – 2019 [UPDATED]

Are you noticing your car’s performances getting worst day by day? Well, it happens to most of the car owners.

The fascination is even worse when it is about the power system of your car. But still, there is a solution to this. And, our picks for best cold air intakes can help you to get rid of that.

You can improve the engine's performance significantly by adding a cold air intake. Additionally, this modification will allow you to increase the fuel efficiency of your car.

Nevertheless, choosing an appropriate one from dozens of brands is not quite easy. It requires a lot of research to the appropriate one.

Herein, our editor's pick cold air intake reviews will make things easy for you. You will know what to look for whether your purchase is for truck or car.

Why We Need Best-Quality Cold Air Intake System?

Aftermarket cold air intake is the best modification that you can get to increase the overall performance of your car. Even though it is just one component that we are talking about, but it is linked with other vital components too.

Allow me to explain how! Cold air intake provides your engine with more air. And, as the engine can breathe more air, it increases overall acceleration.

Furthermore, this modification ensures fuel efficiency. Stock intakes are made for quiet operation, and they are not suitable for fuel efficiency. Cold air intakes, on the other hand, allow enough air to combust the fuel.

Because of the incorporated air intake, its combustion is good for your wallet.

Fuel efficiency has to do a lot with the improvement of the horsepower and torque. Technically, your car will have more power than before.

As the combustion efficiency improves, the sound of your engine will be soothing to your ears.

Our Top 10 Best Cold Air Intakes Reviews 2019

1. K&N Performance Air Intake Kit 63-1561 with Lifetime Red Oiled Filter

Stock air intake cannot provide you with the expected horsepower. Luckily, aftermarket cold air intake such as K&N Air Intake 63-1561 can help you achieve that.

It reduces the intake restriction and allows the engine more air to inhale than the stock air filter. In result, your car gets more acceleration and more horsepower. This air intake is about to add more than 15 horsepower to your engine.

You do not have to worry about driving off roads, especially if there is any chance of contacting with water. It features thousands of microscopic strands of an intricate web of filter that can easily prevent dirt to enter.

Things do not end here. This air intake also ensures that your car’s engine is protected from oil acts. Its red filter works as a tacking agent for trapping and holding contaminants.

So, how it sounds? Even though, it seems quiet while cruising but as it accelerates, the engine sounds better.

What if I tell you, this intake keeps the air cooler than typical metal pipes? You heard me right. Thanks to its crosslink nylon intake tube which keeps air flow cool.

Despite having all these features, the air intake is environment-friendly. Its filter is made of cotton-gauze that is reusable.

If you live in California, note that this air intake model is not legal to use there. It does not have CARB approval.

Highlighted Features:

  • Crosslink nylon intake tube ensures more cooling air flow
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    Washable and reusable cotton-gauze Filtercharger air filter
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    Increased airflow provides more horsepower with better acceleration
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    Microscopic strands filter protects from dirt and water
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    Red filter protects from spreading oils

2. K&N Performance Air Intake Kit 63-3082 with Black HDPE Tube

Who does not want to add more horsepower, torque, and use fuel efficiently? I bet, you do too. To gain performance in these sections, K&N Performance Air Intake 63-3082 might come handy for your car.

The reason why your car is not revealing its actual performance is due to the stock air filter. Factory air filters are very restrictive. But this aftermarket air intake can reduce intake restriction and provide smooth airflow straight to the engine.

When your car’s engine gets more air, acceleration and its usable power improves. This cold air intake assures you of adding around 26 horsepower with better torque, and acceleration.

Besides increasing the performance, it uses the fuel in a very efficient way. Therefore, you can get more mileage than before. It seems a decent deal if you pay for this air intake once and save some extra penny every time while refilling fuel tank.

You can relax and drive for 100,000 miles without worrying about its servicing. However, it may vary depending on the driving conditions. 

The kit comes with a chrome topped high-flow air filter, alongside with a heat shield. It ensures cooler and denser air to flow through a molded intake tube into the car’s engine for gaining more power.

In addition to that, the throttle response that you get will be quicker than before. You will be able to hear air being sucked in by the cone filter when it wakes the engine up. The sound is pleasing.

K&N’s 63-3082 air intake is considered as the best cold air intake for Chevy Silverado 1500. So, if you are mainly looking for a performance mod for this model, without any hesitation, go for it.   

Highlighted Features:

  • Increases horsepower up to 26 to the pedal
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    High-density polyethylene tube allows better air flowing
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    Filters are washable and reusable

3. Spectre Performance Cold Air Intake 9000

Spectre cold air intake 9000 comes 3rd on our list. The tube of this air intake is made of high quality and lightweight polished aluminum. Once you install this to your vehicle, the very first thing that you will notice is its vibrating throttle response.

Wait, then what about the horsepower?

Do not worry; this air intake will significantly increase the horsepower too, as the kit is designed to get the most out from a vehicle.

Unlike the stock air intake, it does not make any restriction to the air flow into the engine. The air makes the way straight to the engine and increases the horsepower.

Not only the performance of your car will increase, but also it will protect the engine from debris such as dirt. It efficiently diverts the intake inlet from headers and radiator. In addition to that, powder-coated steel heat shields also protect the filter from the engine’s heat.

The filter itself is made of non-woven synthetic with round outlet shape. Color combination of red and silver give the air filter a stylish look. So, with this air intake, you are not only adding power to your vehicle, but also a classy look. 

Its installation process is pretty straightforward. You can do it yourself within minutes. It is the best air intake for trucks on our list and great for exotic muscular cars. If the vehicle you own comes under into this two category, then you know where to look.

Highlighted Features:

  • Heat shield prevents engine’s heat from entering into the air intake
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    Polished aluminum diverts the inlet from headers and radiator
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    Ability to improve torque and horsepower
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    The red filter keeps the dirt away from getting in

4. K&N Performance Cold Air Intake Kit 57-3050 with Lifetime Filter for 2005-2007 Chevrolet/GMC Classic Trucks and SUVs 4.8L/5.3L/6.0L V8

Did you know that K&N is one of the true pioneers of cold air intakes? With that said, if you need a truly reliable and legal way to get a quick increase in horsepower and torque, then, the K&N 57-3050 Cold Air Intake Kit will be very helpful.

You might already understand how important it is for the air coming from outside to be filtered to prevent the entry of dirt and debris into the engine. What makes this air filter superior is the kind of air filter it uses. The uniquely-designed oversized cotton gauze filter efficiently controls the air entering the engine, ridding it of the unwanted particles that can ruin the engine.

That means when you get the intake, you never again have to worry about the car breaking down because dust or grit got into the delicate engine system.

As the air filter is also washable, maintenance is easy. When dirt accumulates in the filter, you just remove and wash it, and you reinstall the filter rather than spending money on a new one.

You know the way some air intakes have to be checked and serviced very frequently? Well, with the K&N 57-3050 Cold Air Intake Kit’s oversized air filter that can trap more dirt, you don’t have to worry about checking the engine so often.

Worried about the installation? Don’t be, as the process is a piece of cake, taking one and a half hours at most. The K&N 57-3050 Cold Air Intake Kit also comes with a handy set-up guide, which makes the process even easier.

Highlighted Features:

  • Simple and quick installation
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    Washable filter
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    Effective cotton filter
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    From a trusted brand
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    Oversized air filter for trapping more dirt
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    Street legal in all the states
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    Increases horsepower by about 11 units
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    Works with the OEM computer systems

5. K&N Performance Air Intake Kit 57-3070 with Lifetime Red Oiled Filter for Chevrolet Silverado Suburban Tahoe GMC Yukon Denali Avalanche GM Truck and SUV

Unleash your vehicle’s power to the next level with K&N 57-3070 cold air intake. The performance air intake is quite larger than the factory intake and is capable of drawing more air.

Therefore, your vehicle’s engine will be able to get more power with better combustion and fuel efficiency as well.

This performance kit will add 10.25 horsepower @5342 RPM. That means more power for both towing and climbing. In addition to that, torque acceleration also improves.

With this air intake, cold air flows to the engine without any restriction. Thanks to its conical tube which is large enough to do that. The heat shield prevents the engine to transfer heat.

You do not have to worry about off-road driving if you get this one, no matter how punishing the condition is. Its high-density polyethylene can reduce turbulence significantly during air intake.

As the filter is made from washable cotton gauze, it can protect the engine from microscopic debris. Reusability ensures that you can remain settled with this kit for a long time.

To more preciously, this air intake is designed for Chevy Silverado 1500. But you can buy this for your truck also.

Greetings for the people living in California – this aftermarket performance air intake kit is CARB certified. Even you can use it in all 50 states of U.S.A.

Installing with the included adapters is pretty easy. You can set it up on your truck within 1.5 hours without any drilling or welding.

Highlighted Features:

  • Boosts up to 10 Horsepower
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    Washable and reusable cotton gauze air filter
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    Polyethylene tube intake allows more air to flow
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    Arrives CARB certified

6. Airaid AIR-200-996 M.I.T. Modular Intake Tube

We’re going to start off with the Airaid AIR-200-996 M.I.T, and there are good reasons for that. This cold air intake is based on the principle that better breathing equals more energy and its components are designed to work for optimal air intake.

The system is made of crosslinked polyethylene with high density, and the outline of these tubes is that there is no restriction to the flow of air into the internal combustion engine.

The Airaid AIR-200-996 M.I.T’s installation is straightforward, and you don’t have to be a mechanic to pull it off. All you need to do is follow their handy instructional manual, and you’re good to go.

How would you like to buy a cold air intake that offers you a lifetime warranty? Isn’t that just an amazing deal? And do you know why Airaid is ready to give you such an offer? Because they know that as long as their air filter is handled properly, it will serve you for life.

With this product’s unmatched durability, you can forget about air filter replacement costs.

The Airaid AIR-200-996 M.I.T is for those who need to really save on fuel. At first, you will get an MPG increase of just about 1 to 2, but as the engine gets used to the new part, you will see an MPG increase of up to 15, which is quite impressive.

Highlighted Features:

  • Relatively inexpensive
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    MPG boost of up to 15
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    Lifetime warranty
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    Increased airflow into the engine

7. K&N Performance Cold Air Intake 57-1542

If you are not satisfied with the way stock air intake performs and want to add more power to the engine, then this cold air intake is the one you need.

K&N 57-1542 air intake comes with a chrome topped high-flowing filtercharger air filter. The size of the air filter is pretty big. It provides the engine with a massive amount of air due to the oversize.

In result, both the power and torque of your vehicle will increase. This filter is made of cotton-gauze. You can easily wash and reuse it, no matter how many times you want.

It also spots a heat shield. An aerodynamically engineered intake tube sucks the air and sends into the engine to generate more power. The tube is accommodated with a crankcase vent hose and factory air temperature sensor.

In addition to that, crosslink nylon intake tube makes your vehicle even faster and cooler. Adapters of reinforced nylon and silicone into the tubes are extremely durable.

K&N shaped the tubes precisely so that they can help to reduce turbulence. Also, they accelerate the air flow into the engine more effectively. All these add much to the improvement of overall power and performance.

Depending on the condition, your vehicle can run for up to 100,000 miles without any servicing.

Whether you live in California or any other state of the USA, you can hit the road with this air intake without any problem. It has CARB certification and is legal to use in all 50 states.

Highlighted Features:

  • Oversize air filter increases more horsepower and torque
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    Estimated horsepower gain is up to 21 HP at 5216 RPM
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    Capable of driving 100,000 miles without an overhaul
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    Washable and reusable air filter
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    Comes CARB certified

8. S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake Kit 

The most amazing thing about the S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake Kit is the increased airflow it presents. Do you know that this cold air intake increases the airflow by more than 50% of what the OEM air intake offers?

Increased airflow means that more oxygen reaches the internal combustion engine, and as a result, there’s higher fuel burning efficiency and more horsepower and torque.

Perhaps you don’t want to have to replace the factory remote start. Well, you’re in luck because the S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake Kit works just fine with it.

Some of you might be wondering if you will have problems with the authorities because of the modification. Tell you what? This piece of equipment is legal for installation in all the states, including California.

Your car has a turbocharger? Great! The cold air intake works well with turbochargers, helping the turbo spool faster than before. The throttle also responds better particularly when you’re in the 0 to 50 mph speed range.

Oh, and by the way, for those who love a stronger engine sound, the S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake Kit is a perfect choice. It can make your turbo up to 30 percent louder. And of course, when you’re inside the vehicle with the windows and doors closed, you won’t hear the sound.

Highlighted Features:

  • Step-by-step guide for installation
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    Easy setup that takes just over an hour or even less
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    Enhanced sound
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    Increased throttle response
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    Street legal in all 50 states

9. Spectre Performance Cold Air Intake 9918

The Spectre 9918 is a top-rated cold air intake designed for the most convenient installation as you get all the necessary hardware for the job, including the clamps.

But, that’s not all that this cold air intake is about. The Spectre 9918 Cold Air Intake is also designed for increased horsepower and torque while offering your maximum engine protection against any debris that might try to get in through the air intake system.

If you want a ‘truly cold’ air intake, then this would be a perfect choice. Why? The tubing used is made of high-grade polished aluminum, thus removing any chances of hot air from the engine getting in, perhaps through a leak. Besides, there’s a heat shield to ensure that the heat coming from the engine doesn’t affect the temperature of the air coming from the cold air intake.

With the Spectre 9918 Cold Air Intake, you’re able to save on fuel costs. The tool introduces more air into the combustion chamber, thus reducing the need to use more fuel. Watch out for that rise in mpg.

Love a deeper engine sound? Well, you’re one purchase away from getting that.

Highlighted Features:

  • Extremely easy to install
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    High-quality aluminum tube for durability and temperature control
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    A steel shield for preventing engine heat from heating the air
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    Comes with all the hardware for installation

10. K&N Performance Air Intake Kit 69-7078TS with Metal Tube and Lifetime Red Oiled Filter for Infiniti G37, Nissan 370Z 3.7L V6

Here is yet another cold air intake that is ideal for someone who’s too busy to clean the air filter frequently. How so? The K&N 69-7078TS Air Intake Kit comes with a huge air filter that’s capable of holding more grit; it will be quite sometime before you need to clean the filter.

As a matter of fact, you might drive more than 100,000 miles before having to clean the air filter. Yep, the air intake is that good and convenient.

Another major advantage that the K&N 69-7078TS Air Intake Kit offers is the improved airflow. This system is designed to replace the entire stock air flow, from the filter to the pipe heading to the engine, introducing a smoother, unrestricted flow all the way.

This unit is all about ensuring the internal combustion engine receives air that is truly cool. That is made possible by the heat shield that is installed on the filter. This shield ensures that the heat coming from the engine doesn’t increase the temperature of the air coming through the unit.

And as we all can agree, cooler temperatures equals better combustion and higher engine performance.

The adapters connecting the tube to the engine are made from reinforced nylon and silicon among other high-strength materials.

This not only means there’s a more robust connection that minimizes the chances of a leak but also the higher durability of the system as it is held in place and prevented from knocking against other parts and breaking down.

Highlighted Features:

  • Large air filter
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    Washable air filter
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    A million-mile warranty
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    Easy installation – no cutting or drilling
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    Heat shield on the air filter
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    Robust connection of the tube to the engine

Features to Consider for Buying a Good Cold Air Intakes

There are lots of cold air intakes on the market. But choosing the right one according to your need might be a bit confusing. If you are someone who researches a lot before buying a valuable tool, this buying guide will help you do that.

So, what are those essential factors that you need to look for buying a cold air intake? Stay with us till the end of this section, and you will know.

1. Filtering Dust and Dirt:

For a cold air intake, it is very likely that a good one will become less obstacle for flowing the air into the engine. But if the filter also allows dust and dirt to flow with the air, then it would be problematic for the engine.

Make sure your cold air intake’s filter flows air properly into the engine while not leaving enough space for dust and dirt to go there too.

Furthermore, the filter should easily be washed so that you do not have to pay an extra penny for that. It would be unpleasant if you need to replace the air intake every now and then. So, reusability is another crucial factor to look for.

2. Having a Proper Thermal Barrier:

The less your engine gets hot, the well it will run your car. As it is the hottest part of your vehicle, it is really important to choose the right one with proper thermal barrier feature.

The materials used in intake should be able to resist heat transfer. It will keep the air as cool as possible on its way to the engine. This thermal factor is very important especially when you want your engine to gain even more power.

3. How Durable it is:

No one likes facing constructional issues with their purchases. Make sure you are buying a cold air intake with solid construction design. Just looking for features will not bring any good for long if it hardly lasts.

Spend time in researching the customer reviews about the durability of your desired item.

4. The Size That Fits Your Vehicle:

Do not just go with exotic design and features of a cold air intake. If it does not fit under the hood, what would be the point of buying it?

Therefore, look under the hood and determine the accurate size for installing it. Your engine will tell you everything about the size you need.

On the other hand, if you have a considerable space under the hood, then feel relax regarding this issue. Make sure; you are not squeezing anything that is beyond the engine’s capacity. You might find some specific kit that is for specific car models.

5. Oil Filtering:

Small particles of oil are good for wind up all throughout the engine. If they get access into your air intake, it will ruin your upgrade. So, another must-have feature to look for is the ability to filter oil.

6. Protection from Water Damage:

Water should not get into the system. It is most likely to contact with water when you drive off roads. Additionally, driving in the rain can be an issue for your intake system.

To avoid that, look for a kit such as a bypass valve that will prevent water from getting in.

7. CARB Approval for Californian:

If you live in California, your air intake or exhaust system must have permission from California Air Resource Board. You will be fined if your intake or exhaust system does not have a CARB EO number.

Benefits of Using Air Intakes

You already know (from basic science) that air is vital for combustion. Well, the same applies to your vehicle’s internal combustion system; you know, the one that turns fuel and air into mechanical energy. Your vehicle came with an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) air intake, which pulls air from the outside and introduces it into the internal combustion.

The problem is, the OEM air intake is not the most efficient air intake your vehicle could have. As a matter of fact, most expert mechanics recommend replacing an OEM air intake with an aftermarket model as soon as possible.

When considering to make such a replacement, you have various options. You could go for a ram, short pipe or cold air intake, but for those looking to optimize engine performance without much strain during installation, the cold air intake is the right option.

Below Here are the advantages of using a cold air intake.

1. Fuel economy

When there isn’t adequate air in the internal combustion system, the engine uses more fuel to compensate for the insufficiency of air. You should know that the OEM air intakes are designed for quietness rather than optimized air intake, and thus you end up using more gas.

With an aftermarket cold air intake, you will be able to pump more air in there, and as a result, you will need less fuel. If you’re looking for a way to reduce your fuel costs, then installing a cold air intake will be a great step.

2. Improved acceleration

A cold air intake introduces more air into the internal combustion engine and with that comes more horsepower. If you want to boost your engine’s responsiveness when you step on the gas, then this benefit will be very useful. This is even more helpful for people who are into racing.

3. Efficient air filtering

The OEM air intakes installed in most vehicles use a disposable paper filter to trap debris from outside and prevent it from reaching the engine. Though these filters work just fine, they fail eventually, and you need to replace them. And by the way, what if you don’t realize soon enough that the filter has gone bad? You can only imagine the damage that the debris from outside will do to the engine.

The advantage of having an aftermarket cold air intake is that this is a lasting piece of equipment. Rather than replacing it, you only need to clean it every 25k to 50k miles.

That not only means that you save the cash you’d have spent on a replacement but also offers you a more effectual means of preventing damage to the engine from debris.

4. Enhanced overall performance

Aftermarket air intakes offer you better overall performance in such aspects as speed, sound, and power. Warm air requires more fuel to spark than cold air, thus making a cold air intake more efficient than an OEM air intake. So, when you replace your OEM air intake with an aftermarket cold air intake, you’re looking to increase efficiency in multiple vital areas like fuel consumption, power, speed, air filtering, and more.

5. Stronger sound

If you’re like us, and you enjoy a roaring rather than a quiet car engine, then you will find an aftermarket cold air intake very suitable. As more air gets absorbed into the vehicle, that thrilling car sound is produced.

By the by, if you’d love to benefit from the increased performance that a cold air intake has to offer without having to deal with the noise, you can get a model than muffles out the noise.

Types of  Air Intakes

Air intakes are part of the initial processes in which the engine provides power to the vehicle. Of course, your car came with a factory air intake, but in most cases, factory or OEM air intakes are designed to optimize noise reduction while compromising air intake.

Aftermarket models, on the other hand, are mostly designed for increased air intake.

There are various types of air intakes for both new and old-model vehicles, and you can take advantage of them to boost performance.

In general, the aftermarket air intakes are divided into 3 classes:

  • 1
    Cold
  • 2
    Ram
  • 3
    Short pipe

Let’s see what each of these has to offer.

1. Cold Air Intakes

A cold air intake comprises a long pipe that draws air from the area around the front bumper or the wheel well and a high-flow air filter.

Such intakes draw air from a point that is away from the engine, and thus the air introduces into the system is cold rather than hot. As cold air is denser than hot air, the engine gets more power.

If you’re looking for the most effective air intake, then you’re considering a cold air model; the performance it offers is unmatched. The only problem with this kind of air intake is that it is a little bit complex, and as such you might need some help. But, worry not; a little later in this article, we will show you installing process.

2. Ram Air Intakes

A ram air intake is like a cold air intake, introducing cold air into the engine. But in addition to that, this air intake has a special collector that draws more air into the system when the vehicle moves forward.

A ram air intake operates on the principles of air resistance. You know the forces you feel when you hold your hand out of the car on the freeway? Those are the same forces that ram air intakes utilize.

So, the faster the car moves, the more power it gets. Moreover, it helps the engine burn more fuel, thus increasing the power further.

The ram air intake is most definitely very effective; in fact, it’s the most effective type for those seeking the most power. However, this model is very tricky when it comes to installation, and unless you’re a professional, we doubt that you will be able to do it.

That is why we recommend going for the cold air intake, which is almost as effectual as the ram air intake and easier to install.

3. Short-Pipe Air Intakes

The short-pipe air intake is the simplest model and also the easiest to install. Its design is composed of an aluminum pipe and a high-flow filter, which boosts the air flow into the intake manifold. That gives the engine more power particularly when the RPM is high.

The main drawback with this model is that it introduces heated air (from beneath the hood) into the system, and as hot air is not as dense as cold air, this means the vehicle doesn’t get as much power as it can.

How Does Work?

A cold air intake is a bolt-on performance kit and air filter that you can install on any car. Let’s look at how it works.

Think of your vehicle engine as a breathing system for the engine. For power to be produced, the engine has to inhale the air needed for energy production. Keeping in mind that cold air contains a higher percentage of oxygen than hot air, injecting a dose of cold air makes it possible for the engine to burn energy more efficiently.

A cold air intake is composed of 2 major parts – the tubing, the mass flow sensor, the air filter, and the throttle body.

The tubing, which is mostly made of either plastic or aluminum, runs from the air entry point (known as the intake snorkel) to the air filter housing, and then to the intake manifold, where the air mixes with the fuel before being sent to the cylinders.

The work of the tubing is to relay air from one point to the other, while the work of the filter is to ensure that grit and other unwanted particles don’t enter the engine, as they could damage it.

A good-quality cold air intakes utilize a heat shield to prevent the engine’s heat from increasing the temperature of the air inside the filter and the tubing.

Top-Rated Cold Air Intake Brands on The Market

1. K&N Engineering, Inc.

Founded in the 60s, K&N happens to be the true pioneer of reusable air filters. The company is based in Riverside, California, and today, it is arguably the leading manufacturer of high-flow air intakes in the world.

Venturing mainly into filtration systems for engines, the company sells more than 5000 products worldwide, and their products are popular among the consumers for a couple of reasons. For instance, their K&N 69-7078TS Air Intake Kit features a million-mile warranty, and again, it is street legal in all the states.

The most amazing thing about K&N products is the quality presented. If you’re looking for the most powerful cold air intake for your vehicle, consider buying from K&N.

2. AIRAID

Based in the US, AIRAID was founded in 1997. At first, the company made air intakes for sports cars and light trucks, but as the consumers noted the excellent quality offered, the products found their way into regular vehicles.

The AIRAID air intake kits are composed of an intake tube and a cotton-gauze filter, and what is most notable about them is the ease of installation. Apart from that, AIRAID filters are known to increase the air flow dramatically while boosting horsepower and torque.

3. Spectre

Spectre is a US-based manufacturer of vehicle filtration systems that was founded back in 83. The unique thing we learned about this company is the rigorous testing exercise that its products undergo to ensure they’re of superb quality.

With their state-of-the-art chassis dynamometer, among other equipment, those guys measure everything from pressure to velocity to ensure that you get nothing short of the great quality.

4. S&B

Want a great cold air intake for your truck or SUV? Then we’d encourage you to get one from a company that specializes in air filters and intake systems for trucks and SUVs – S&B.

Based in the US, the company engineers air intake systems targeted at minimizing restriction to airflow, ensuring your engine breathes freely and has the energy needed to provide adequate power to big vehicles.

How to Install it on Vehicle: Beginners Guide

Installing an aftermarket cold air intake enhances performance, sound, and fuel economy. As a matter of fact, if you install the air intake properly, the installation will definitely pay for itself (in the form of the saved fuel costs) and leave you with more savings.

Realize that every air intake has its set of installation instructions but there are certain general patterns, and that’s what we will delve into.

(A). The Preparation

1. Verify your car’s specifications

If yours is a commonly-customized car like a Honda, the only things you need to establish are the year, the model, and the type of engine. Vehicles that are not typically modified are a little tricky when it comes to finding aftermarket parts.

After that, head to Amazon or an automotive parts shop and get the perfect air intake according to your needs.

There are short-pipe, cold, and ram air intakes, but we’d recommend going for cold air intakes because of the performance they present as well as the relatively easy installation involved. Remember, cold air contains more oxygen, thus optimizing fuel combustion.

2. Park the car in a suitable place

Go for a well-lit area so that you can vividly see what you’re doing. The car should have lots of space in front, so you’re able to test the installation when you’re done.

Turn off the car and give the engine some time to cool down cold completely before you proceed. Why? Because when the engine is running, the parts in there can get very hot to the point of burning your hands if you touch them.

Lastly, in the preparation exercise, unplug the battery. Remove the negative terminal (it’s usually the black one) and remove the positive terminal (typically the red one).

(B). Removal of the OEM/factory Air Intake

1. Locate it

The OEM air intake shouldn’t be hard to identify. It normally looks like a huge plastic tube that runs from the engine to a big box, which is the filter.

2. Detach it

You will need to remove the tube running from the engine to the filter box. The air filter and the filter box also need to be detached. Sometimes, a little plastic mount will connect some of these components to the engine bay, and if so, you will need to have a socket set or wrench on hand.   

If there’s a hose clamp attaching the parts, you can remove it by using a screwdriver to unscrew the little bolt at the end.

There may be air sensors along the system, and these need to go too. Note that air sensors are quite sensitive, and hence they be handled with care.

Tip: handle the original air intake carefully during removal and store it appropriately in a safe place. That way, if the new equipment does not fit, or if it develops an issue afterward, you will just reinstall the OEM air intake, and life will go on.

(C). Installation of the new air intake

Different manufacturers have different recommendations as to which part to install first so be sure to check that. Where appropriate, ensure that the intake hose is well secured with hose clamps.

If you removed any sensors when you removed the old air intake, be sure to reinstall them.

Once you’re done installing the new intake, install the new air filter. Now that cold air intakes pull air from the area around the wheel well and the front bumper, you will need to go underneath the car to complete the installation. That means you will need to jack up the car and remove the wheel.

Don’t forget to tighten any bolts connecting the air intake to the engine bay to prevent it from striking other objects when the car is on the move.

Re-connect the battery terminals – start with the positive one and proceed to the negative one.

You think the installation is all good? Well, it’s time to take your new intake on a test run. Use the space you left in front of the car to see if the new intake is working as intended and if everything is okay; you can hit the open road.

You might notice that the sound made by the engine is richer, adding life to the car.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Air Intake 

A cold air intake is designed to pull cool air into the internal combustion system. This type of air intake utilizes a smooth pipe and a strategic positioning of the filter away from the engine so that only cool air is introduced into the engine.

As cold air is denser than hot air, and as it contains more oxygen, it is more favorable for the engine than hot air. When the internal combustion system uses cool rather than hot air, there’s more power output as well as increased fuel efficiency.

A cold air intake is a bridge between the atmosphere and the engine, and thus it faces risks from both sides. Again, a problem that arises in the intake might swiftly proceed to affect vital parts of the engine, and hence detecting it early is essential.

Here are a few symptoms to look out for.

1. Reduced engine performance

This happens to be among the most common signs of a bad cold air intake. If, for instance, the air filter is dirty or clogged, the grit can lead to a power reduction, as well as diminishing acceleration and fuel efficiency.

When the problem is severe, the car might stall or even fail to start.

2. Abnormally high idle speed

Idle speed refers to the rpm when the engine is on, but the car is not moving. When the idle speed is high, this could be a warning that there’s a problem with the air intake. Normally, the intake has a vacuum port that accommodates the routing of the OEM air intake, and if the hoses therein get loose or break, or the port breaks, the vacuum will leak, and consequently, the idle speed will surge.

3. Check engine warning light

There are many reasons why the check engine warning light can illuminate; even a bad pressure sensor can cause it to illuminate.

However, if you have a high idle RPM, a problem with starting the car or accelerating it, and an illuminated check engine warning light, that tells you there’s probably something wrong with the cold air intake.

If your car displays the symptoms outlined above, then you better examine the cold air intake. Most probably, the problem is nothing but dirt, and by cleaning the filter, things might go back to normal. Keep in mind that cold air intakes normally have a recommended timeframe for cleaning the air intake, like every 25,000 miles. Check that on your manual.

There are a couple of maintenance routines that you should follow to minimize the chances of your cold air intake failing, and in the next section, you will find some of the most important ones. 

Air Intakes Maintenance Tips

Whether you’re only considering to purchase a cold air intake or you’re already using one, knowing how to maintain it is crucial if you need to work properly for a long time. Fortunately, the kind of maintenance it requires is not much, and it’s a no-brainer. It also doesn’t need much cash.

Before we dive into the maintenance procedures, bear in mind that maintenance is largely about cleaning and oiling at regular intervals. Mostly 30000-mile intervals are recommended but as different manufacturers might recommend varying durations, be sure to check your manual.

Again, if you spend lots of time driving in areas that are very dusty, you will need to clean the intake more frequently.

Let’s examine the basic maintenance steps folks take.

Step 1

Turn off the engine and allow it to cool down.

Step 2

Illuminate the filter with a light source, like a flashlight. Holding it up to a light source, you should see through the filter. Can you see an air gap? That tells you it’s time to get a new filter. But, if you deem that you can adjust the filter media and restore it to the original position, then go for it.

Step 3

Blow compressed air through the filter from the inside-out, to blow debris out of the way. Bending pleats will also help in the removal of debris. Following that, oil and dry the filter. You can use a nylon-bristle brush to remove the dirt but avoid using a metal-bristle brush, as it could damage the pleats and the filter media.

Note: if there is too much grit, then you might need to repeat the steps to make the exercise more effectual.

Check the tubing and wipe it down with a towel if it’s dirty. But more importantly, tighten any loose clamps or nuts you come across.

Tips

  • Want to make the filtration of air more effective and widen the servicing intervals? Try installing hydro-shields and pre-filters. The hydro-filters are for preventing water from getting into the motor, where it could cause damage to the engine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is a cold air intake?

A cold air intake allows the air filter to flow outside of the engine so the cold air can get into the engine. It is an aftermarket product and installed as the replacement of stock air intake. It looks like a bent pipe. On one end, there is a filter and an opening to the engine on the other.

2. What is the work of air intakes?

As the name suggests, air intakes are pieces of equipment that draw air into the engine. There are different types of air intakes, such as short-pipe, ram, and cold air intakes. Ram and cold air intakes are preferred as they draw cool air (which is better for the combustion process) into the engine, but cold air intakes are good for DIYers due to their relative ease of installation.

3. Why is cold air better for the engine?

Mechanics and car experts prefer cold air intakes because cold air contains more oxygen than hot air, and with more oxygen, the combustion process is enhanced. With cool air entering the internal combustion system, there is improved fuel efficiency as well as more horsepower and torque.

4. Where in the air intake located in the vehicle?

The intake is usually a system composed mainly of a tube, a filter, a mass flow sensor, and a throttle body, and it is located strategically in the engine bay, normally at the front, so it can be able to pull air from outside, either from under the hood scoop, the grille or the wheel well.

5. Does a cold air intake boost the mileage?

Yes, of course. With better combustion of the fuel, there’s not only increased horsepower but also better fuel efficiency.

As a matter of fact, you can note an increase in mileage by up to 5 miles per gallon. Horsepower can rise by up to 20.

Note that the cold air intake introduces more air into the internal combustion engine, and some folks want to compensate for that by adding fuel; that’s the wrong approach. Use fuel as usual, and you will realize the efficiency we’re talking about. 

6. Will a cold air intake harm my car?

Not at all. On the contrary, a cold air intake will improve the performance of your engine and your car in general. When the engine combusts fuel at a lower temperature, fuel efficiency will also improve, meaning that you will also spend less on fuel.

7. Is a cold air intake good for a turbocharged engine?

Yes. As you might already know if you have a car with a turbocharger, increased horsepower and torque are acquired through increased compression of gases. A cold air intake introduces more air into the internal combustion engine, availing more air for compression and enhancing the speed further.

8. What is the risk of using a bad air filter?

A bad air filter presents lots of trouble for the car. First, if the air is not filtered as it should be, and dirt and debris reach the engine, that might cause damage to the engine; sometimes the damage can be substantial or irreparable.

Again, a bad air filter prevents adequate clean air from reaching the engine, and as a result, the car’s emission control system can be affected. That leads to the emission of black, sooty exhaust gases.

As the fuel-air mixture contains too much fuel and too little air, the spark plugs might also get damaged.

9. Why should I replace my factory air intake?

The factory air intake is designed for low engine noise. Well, that is okay, but it compromises air intake, and subsequently, performance. Factory air intakes or rather OEM air intakes are designed to draw air from beneath the hood, and the air they draw is normally hot.

Unlike cold air, hot air doesn’t have much density, and as such, there isn’t as much oxygen in hot air as you would find in cooler air. Keeping in mind that oxygen is what is needed for efficient combustion to happen, replacing the factory air intake with an aftermarket cold air intake is a great move. It improves performance, sound, and fuel efficiency.

10. How much does it cost to replace a factory air intake with a cold air intake?

If you’re hoping to buy a cold air intake from Amazon and install it yourself, as a DIY project, then you’re looking to spend around 150 to 400 bucks, depending on the quality of the cold air intake you purchase. Having it installed by a mechanic could cost you up to 200 bucks extra, so we’d say do it yourself; it’s a simple installation anyway.

11. Where can I buy cold air intake?

You can either get it from an auto parts dealer or buy it online. But, the latter choice is much better for obvious reasons like the ability to compare prices, models, and qualities, not to mention the shopping convenience that an online retail outlet like Amazon offers.

Have a look at the models reviewed in this article. We have researched each of them, and we believe they have what you’re looking for.

12. Do cold air intake increase the horsepower?

As the air flowing ability increases due to the cold air intake, the engine gets cold air and does not get much hotter. Therefore, to some extent, the horsepower of the engine increases.

Final Words

Honestly saying, you cannot fully unleash the ultimate power of your car until you look for aftermarket modifications.

And choosing the best cold air intake would be one of the most important adjustments to your vehicle’s system if you want to gain performance and improve fuel efficiency.

Hopefully, you have chosen the right air intake for your vehicle from our top 5 picks. Additionally, the buying guide will help you to understand where you need to focus on making your valuable purchase.

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