The internal combustion engine is basically a big air pump. The air intake brings the fresh air in; the exhaust lets the spent air out. Of course, there are many technical aspects to all of this, but that’s the gist of it. So it only seems logical that if you let in more fresh air, you get more power. And that’s why the cold air intake kit is such an effective power producer.
The Benefits of an Air Intake System
Of course, like anything else, too much can be, well, too much. So, most cold air intake upgrades go hand in hand with a new throttle body spacer and mass air flow sensor, so the fuel delivery can keep up with the air delivery.
So, how much extra power can you get? That depends on your vehicle. An F150 cold air intake bolted to a gas-burning V8 will garner 8 – 15 ponies, but a kit bolted to a diesel-burning F-250 for instance, can deliver up to 40 horsepower. Basically, a bigger engine is a bigger air pump, so the more air it can pump the more powerful it’ll be. But a small engine is still a small pump, so adding power isn’t as easy. One trick used to maximize smaller engines is to shorten the intake tube with a short ram intake, which gets the air where it needs to be faster.
How Air Intakes Work
Thanks to massive popularity, there are many cold air intake brands to choose from. The biggest names are Volant, K&N, aFe and AEM. According to the many cold air intake reviews out there though, the K&N cold air intake system is hands-down the most popular, followed closely by the Volant cold air intake system.
Choosing the Best Air Intake System
In a nut shell, air intakes deliver the air to the engine. Cold air intakes force huge amounts of power-producing air right down your power plant’s throat for a huge increase in power, torque and driving excitement.