What can a new air intake do for my vehicle
- An instant increase in horsepower
- A noticeable boost to your throttle response
- Improved fuel economy
- A long-life, washable performance air filter
- Specialized engineering that’s fine-tuned to your specific vehicle
- Straightforward, simple installation virtually anyone can complete
How it works: the basics of performance air intakes
Your engine relies on a balanced mixture of fuel and air for combustion. Currently, your vehicle draws air through the original manufacturer’s intake tube and air box, which is typically loaded with a disposable paper air filter. Automakers design your vehicle’s intake tubeto be the quietest possible unit that can fit in your engine compartment.
While reduced engine noise is of benefit to you, it comes from an intake tube with multiple turns and bends. The result is a drop in the volume of air delivered to the combustion chamber. And, because your stock intake system completely confines the air box in your engine compartment, the air is usually hot when taken in. This combination of limited and warmer air causes fuel-rich combustion mixtures that don’t burn at maximum power efficiency.
Performance air intake kits solve a few of these problems in one impressive unit. First, a performance air intake replaces your stock intake tube with a wider pipe that has fewer bends. The result is a higher volume of air that flows more freely, filling your combustion chamber with more oxygen molecules for igniting fuel at balanced, efficient mixtures that maximize power.
Cold air intake kits models also relocate the air box outside the engine compartment, where cooler air can be sucked in by the air filter. The typical relocation spot for a cold air intake’s air box is in the upper wheel well above the tire. Taking in cooler air for combustion means an air mixture that’s denser with oxygen molecules for a better burn and ultimately more power.
Not all performance intakes are cold air intakes that move the air box and/or filter. In general, manufacturers test both types of performance intakes on a vehicle to see if there’s a significant benefit to relocating the air box.
A guide to the horsepower increase from a performance air intake
As your new performance intake draws in a higher volume of air which may be much cooler, your engine can breathe easier than with a limiting stock system. With your combustion chamber filled by cooler, oxygen-rich air, fuel burns at a more efficient mixture. You get more power out of every drop of fuel when it’s combined with the right amount of air.
With more air in the chamber, you can also burn more fuel than before. That’s how a performance intake puts power at the pedal for you: reducing air temperatures, balancing fuel mixtures and providing more air for combustion.
How big will your horsepower increase be? That’s the $64 million question. Horsepower increases provided by performance air intakes vary by vehicle, engine size, other installed performance upgrades and more. The typical horsepower increase advertised by air intake manufacturers is 5-10 hp. But, most of these companies, including K&N, Injen and Airaid, like to under promise and over deliver. You may experience a bigger or smaller increase.
Quick reference: performance air intakes and boosted throttle response
With more air and cooler air ready and waiting for combustion, your engine’s response at stoplights and freeway onramps quickens. Stock intakes often deliver warmer, fuel-rich combustion mixtures that cause your engine to lose power and responsiveness while running hotter and more sluggishly.
The difference in responsiveness isn’t just noticeable; you can literally feel it in the seat of your pants. With a free-breathing intake system attached to your throttle body, your engine is literally inviting you to punch it.
A quick guide to increased fuel economy with a performance air intake
You’re probably guessing that extra power, cooler temperatures and improved gas mileage can’t all come from the same product. Guess again! Performance air intake kits can help your fuel economy in this wallet-gouging, price-per-gallon era by helping your air to fuel ratio get in line. Because you’re getting more power from every drop by burning more efficiently, your engine uses less fuel at all times – city or highway. On average, drivers will see a 1-2mpg improvement.
There’s a catch, though. Many drivers trade their limiting air intake for a performance air intake and can’t resist using every bit of the horsepower and throttle gains. They’ll drive like mad to the grocery store. They might peel-out at stoplights. Or even race the cops. It’s called hard driving, and it’s the fastest way to burn-up the gas mileage improvements provided by a performance air intake. Your best bet is to keep your driving habits relatively unchanged, enjoy the extra power at the pedal, and collect on the gas mileage savings.
For even greater engine efficiency and energy, match your new intake with a performance exhaust system and a performance chip. You’ll go flying past the pump with this trio of power-packed accessories.
The basics of your air intake’s performance filter
The heart of an air intake system is the performance air filter. At first glance, you’ll notice just how much different it looks than your original paper filter. Typically, performance air intake kits employ a conical filter with many grooves and folds. Though this design appears to be smaller than your paper filter, it actually has more surface area for drawing in air from all directions. And, the increased surface area provides extra places for trapping dirt.
Performance air filters put paper disposable filters to shame with their dirt-trapping power. Beyond extra surface area, a performance filter is oiled to catch the dirt much better than paper. Plus, performance filters employ multiple layers of cloth material that allow the filter to breathe much better than paper – even after trapping an abundance of dirt in the oiled layers.
The result is a higher volume of cleaner air than restrictive paper filters can provide. And, as we learned earlier, more air and cleaner air means extra power, improved acceleration and better gas mileage.
Beyond just these benefits, performance air filters are completely reusable. Stock paper air filters have to be tossed for a new one about every 15,000 miles, while your performance air filter needs cleaning just every 30,000 – 50,000 miles. All you have to do is wash the filter, re-oil and reinstall. You can pick up air filter cleaning kits from all the major intake makers, such as AFE, AEM and True Flow.
Warranties and guarantees on performance air filters vary by manufacturer, but it’s safe to say the filter will outlive your car. Some of our performance air intakes showcase filters that are guaranteed for 1,000,000 miles! K&N, for example, is legendary for their warranty and durability.
A guide to the expert engineering of an air intake system
Forget about cheap infomercial products claiming to boost your horsepower or save gas. AutoAnything’s performance air intakes boast the time, care and expertise of precise engineering to maximize the potential of your engine. Companies like Airaid, Injen and True Flow do not earn world-class reputations by crafting flimsy intakes.
This isn’t a piece of drainage pipe with a filter on the end. Air intake systems employ specially-shaped intake tubes designed to straighten airflow as much as possible while looking great in your engine compartment. These pipes are typically mandrel-bent, a process that doesn’t crimp the pipe diameter at the bend.
Special care is given to locating the intake tube, air box and filter in the position that best fosters maximum performance. The materials used are also selected with optimum engine conditions in mind.
Which air intake system is best for my vehicle?
The first step to finding the best performance air intake for your vehicle is to select your vehicle from AutoAnything’s vehicle selector tool. This ensures a custom fit specifically for your engine. Next, consider the following factors:
- Whether you would like a standard performance air intake or a performance cold air intake
- The looks of the performance air intake you want
- Your performance upgrades budget
Is a standard performance air intake or a performance cold air intake best for my vehicle?
A cold air style intake system may not be available for your vehicle.
Any of AutoAnything’s performance intakes will boost your horsepower, increase throttle response and improve mileage. Cold air performance intakes, however, can go a step further by drawing air from outside the engine compartment. The installation is a little more intricate, but it can make a difference in performance.
- If you want the coolest possible airflow for your vehicle, select a performance cold air intake from companies such as Injen, AEM and Volant.
- When easier installation or full containment in your engine compartment is important, pick a standard performance air intake from brands like True Flow, S&B and Airaid.
- If you drive through high waters frequently, a cold air intake could potentially damage your engine by sucking water into the combustion chamber. In this case, pick a standard performance air intake.
Which air intake system looks best with my engine?
Most modern stock air intakes use a specialized plastic intake tube. Many of AutoAnything’s air intake systems come with the same look and material as stock intakes, while several of our models come in specialized painted or chromed metal colors.
- If you want subdued style that blends in with the rest of your engine, select an air intake system with a black plastic intake pipe. S&B, Airaid and Volant all make intakes with plastic and composite tubing.
- When you want style on top of performance for dressing-up the look of your engine, go for a painted or chromed metal pipe air intake system. Look to AEM, Injen and K&N for quality metal intakes.
What is your budget for performance upgrades?
Air intake kits come in a variety of designs that meet any budget. Some are less expensive than others, thanks to lower-cost materials used in their construction. Each air intake kit AutoAnything offers will provide excellent performance, regardless of price.
- If price is no object and style is at a premium, pick a performance air intake with a painted or chromed metal intake tube
- For the ultimate in air flow performance, pair your performance air intake with a mass air flow sensor.
- To fit your air intake in a performance budget or to save a few bucks for gas, grab an air intake system with a black plastic intake tube.
- For some of the performance benefits of a performance air intake in a more budget-friendly product, select a custom performance air filter (without the intake tube) instead.
The fundamentals of installing a performance air intake on your vehicle
Not only is a performance air intake one of the most essential upgrades to your vehicle, it happens to be one of the easiest additions to install. With little more than a common socket set, a couple of screwdrivers and half an hour’s time, you can have your new air intake in place and ready to roar.
Detailed instructions are included with every intake kit. These instructions go through the simple process of removing your stock intake system (including the tube and air box), and installing the new air intake in just a few minutes to stock mounting positions. No cutting, drilling or other modifications are required. What you do with your limiting stock intake next is, well, up to you.
Other air intake system performance upgrades: a quick reference
When you want to maximize the effect of a new performance air intake, additional intake performance accessories are a great idea. They can help power-up your air flow even more, or assist the engine in reading the abundance of oxygen entering the system.
Throttle body spacers
AutoAnything’s throttle body spacers bolt-on between the intake tubeand the throttle body. The inner ring of this performance part sports a unique bore design that spins the incoming air from the intake tubeinto a whirling flow that better mixes with fuel. Throttle body spacerscan be installed alone for a performance and mileage increase, or in tandem with a performance air intake to accentuate the power gains. Early throttle body spacers caused a loud whistling noise, but AutoAnything’s more evolved models greatly reduce or even eliminate this nuisance.
Mass air flow sensors
Sometimes, a stock air flow sensor isn’t equipped to harness all the extra air provided by a performance air intake. Mass air flow sensorsread more accurately than a stock sensor, sending the engine the data it needs to use a more balanced air to fuel ratio for combustion.
Beyond simple accuracy, mass air flow sensors boast a larger diameter than stock parts. While this improvement gives you quite a boost when attached to a stock intake, the effect is even greater when paired with a performance air intake. The larger intake tube connects to the larger mass air flow sensor, which connects directly to efficient combustion and boosted power.
Key information: performance air intakes, original warranties and street legal use
Air intake manufacturers, including K&N, S&B and Injen, run their products through the rigors of earning smog-legal distinction. Most manufacturers design their air intakes to earn C.A.R.B. certification. This certificate means your air intake is compliant with the toughest smog laws in the land: California’s.
A performance intake won’t cause you to fail smog, and installing one won’t void your vehicle’s warranty. Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, dealerships cannot deny you warranty service on your vehicle unless they can directly prove the aftermarket part (in this case, an air intake) is the cause of damage to your engine – a highly unlikely scenario. In fact, dealerships carry both performance filters and intakes, and may even try to up-sell you on either item when you’re shopping for a vehicle.