Air Intake Kits
Quality Cold Air Intakes
There aren't many bolt on parts that match the gains delivered by a good cold air intake kit. Quality air intake kits deliver a good horsepower boost and are easy to install. Installation of a direct fit air intake kit is very simple and requires only a few basic tools. Their low price relative to the horsepower you get is the reason to add one early on. Many cold air kits even boost fuel mileage. There's really no reason not to have one!
Benefits of a Quality Cold Air Intake Kit
- + Improve air flow to the engine to increase power and possibly fuel mileage
- + Provide the coolest air possible to increase power
- + Provide a good looking air intake kit
Quality cold air intake kits all have a few characteristics that make them better than others. Adding an air intake kit improves power because it reduces restrictive factory intake tubes and offers improved air flow. Air intake tubes and pipes should have smooth flowing bends. Mandrel bending is used with metal pipe. This keeps the pipe the same diameter throughout the bend and prevents squashed pipes that can hinder air flow. Open cotton air filters are common among the better air intakes.
Most air filters on air intake kits are washable eliminating the need to buy throw-away air cleaners. The air filters are made to restrict air flow as little as possible.
Cold Air Intake Kits Vs. Air Intake Kits
Most OEM air filters pull air from inside the engine compartment where engine heat raises the temperature of the air being used. Since cooler air makes more power because it is more dense, you want the cooler air (unless you live in the Arctic). The best cold air intake kits for building power pull air from outside of the engine compartment. That is the coolest air available to your vehicle. Other cold air intake kits that use engine compartment air will work, but they are usually not as good at building power. All quality cold air kits increase air flow. The question to ask it where the air is drawn from.
Air Intakes & Fuel Mileage
Almost all of the better air intake kit manufacturers are careful not to over promise on fuel mileage benefits. They're too hard to prove. Besides that, driving habits alter fuel mileage. Put one person in a cold air equipped car and you may get one result. Put a different driver in that same car with the air intake and you may see something else. Mileage gains are usually small anyway. If you see a 1-5 mpg improvement, that is all that is expected. There are too many other factors that that effect the fuel mileage benefits from a cold air intake. Buy a cold air intake kit for the performance gains. If you see improved fuel mileage, that's a bonus. Most other speed parts cost you in fuel mileage.
Cold Air Kits Under the Hood
You have the choice of many different kits. Some look better than others with polished aluminum or chrome inlet tubes. Some manufacturers use certain colors that go with your vehicle color better. Most air boxes are molded from black polyethylene. Volant adds an aluminum top to some of their cold air boxes to dress them up. Most air filters that are visible in the engine compartment are the same brownish maroon color like the K&N air cleaners. Some are blue, depending on the manufacturer.
Air Cleaner / Filter Elements
Air filter elements used in the better cold air kits are washable units that cost a little up front, but pay off long term, especially if you drive in a dustier environment. Air filters are usually a pleated style made of cotton. Filter shapes vary between kits and applications. Most use a conical air filter that work very well for increased air flow.