Oxygen. You might not be able to see it, feel it or taste it, but your engine craves the stuff. In fact, without air in your powerplant, it couldn’t pump out any power. But, the stock intake that’s living under your hood right now isn’t engineered for maximum airflow efficiency. Instead of ensuring that massive blasts of air reach your cylinders, stock intakes try and muffle your motor’s natural rumble while allowing just enough oxygen in to keep you limping along.
The time has come to unlock your ride’s hidden horsepower with a performance intake system. Now, the only tricky part is making a decision between two of the industry’s most adrenaline-filled makers: AEM and Injen. In this battle, though, there really are no losers. An intake from Injen or AEM is sure to kick start your get-up-and-go. However, there are some subtle differences between the two that you should know about before you buy. Here’s the skinny:
The Benefits of AEM Cold Air Intakes
The year was 1987 when AEM first opened their doors for business, and they’ve been designing and building some of the trickest car, truck and SUV upgrades ever since. In fact, AEM has developed an almost cult following in the sport compact arena because of their specialty intake designs, like the 2002 Eclipse V2 AEM intake system. These V2 series intakes are not only custom designed for a flawless fit, but they also sport a unique twin-chamber design and custom tuned for maximum induction.
The V2 isn’t the only series of intakes that AEM crafts. Their latest lineup of intakes is the Brute Force. These bigger, beefier systems are engineered primarily for SUVs and trucks, like the AEM cold air intake for the Nissan Frontier. But, they also have intakes for fire-breathing muscle cars, including the 2006 Pontiac GTO AEM Brute Force CAI.
Drive around in an auto with tight clearances in the engine bay? Not a problem. AEM has another line of short ram intakes that squeeze into the most restrictive nooks and crannies. Case in point: there’s an AEM short ram intake for the Mini Cooper, and it doesn’t get much tighter under the hood than in a Mini. Another popular setup is the AEM cold air intake system 21-690C for the Honda S2000, which gives the Mini a serious run for its money in the lack-of-elbow-room department.
No matter which AEM intake you go with, they’re all equipped with one similar feature: an oil-free, Dryflow air filter. Unlike oiled cotton-gauze filters, the Dryflow is simple to clean, won’t muck up your mass airflow sensor, and are completely reusable.
The Benefits of Injen Cold Air Intakes
Although Injen didn’t begin building intakes until 1993, they’ve been developing breakthrough designs year after year. In fact, the old dogs like AEM have had to work twice as hard to keep up with the heart-pounding intakes that have rolled out of Injen’s factories.
So, what makes an Injen cold air intake such a formidable challenger? Expert engineering, for one. Every intake, from their latest Injen SP Series intakes to an Injen IS Series Short Ram Intake is deftly carved and mandrel bent for both a precision fit and greatly diminished air turbulence. This keeps oxygen from tripping over itself while it rushes into your engine, so there’s no bottlenecking while it flows in.
Innovation is another reason why Injen is a force to be reckoned with. Because their cold air intakes dip so low to gather the coolest, freshest air, the Injen air filters on the intakes are at risk for getting water logged. How did Injen handle this risk? Instead of sacrificing performance by keeping the filter in the engine compartment, they designed the Injen Hydro Shield, a pre-filter that shields the filter from moisture while still allowing fresh air to flow in. Mad geniuses? We think so.
Which Intake System is Right for You?
Injen and AEM are more similar than they are different. Both companies build tuned intakes. Both companies have a strong following with sport compact drivers. And, both companies have earned reputations for delivering hair-trigger performance. The biggest difference comes down to filters. AEM uses Dryflow filters, and Injen uses oiled filters. You can read AEM or Injen air intake reviews to help guide your selection, too. We also have plenty of air intake systems reviews on our site. Don’t forget to check them out.