Air in, Speed Out: How to Increase Speed by Installing a Vehicle’s Cold Air Intake
Interested in amping up the power in your ride’s naturally aspirated engine? Installing a cold air intake system is the simplest, most cost-effective way to increase speed without having to make intricate engine alterations that will have you reaching deep into your wallet.
Keep reading to find out how you can increase speed by modifying your vehicle’s cold air intake.
Air in, Speed Out: An Equation Breakdown
To increase an engine’s power output, one thing needs to be tweaked during the engine process (the moment when the fuel-air mix comes into the combustion chamber and gets ignited to produce power). That thing is air. Without changing the compartment size, cold air intakes are one solution that allows you to pack more air into the engine mix for a higher power output.
How does a cold air intake system work its magic? By moving the car’s air filter to the outside of the engine’s compartment, a larger opening allows cooler air to freely flood into the engine. Colder air, by nature, is denser than air that’s already been warmed by the engine’s high-temperature environment. Air with a higher density takes up less space, so more of it can be squeezed into the same size chamber. And there you have it: More oxygen in, more power out.
Installing a Cold Air Intake: Pros, Cons, and Considerations
Installing a cold air intake has its perks, of course: Aside from increased horsepower (anywhere from 5 to 20), your ride is likely to be audibly speedier, too.
Since more air in the combustion chamber means you’re using the fuel that’s pumped through to its fullest potential, cold air intakes can increase efficiency. But if you’re an enthusiast who’s loving your motor’s newfound roar, stepping on the gas to hear it a little louder could even things out or ultimately cost you when it comes to mpgs.
Installing a cold air intake does have other internal risks. The intake opening could wind up letting water in and sending said water right into the engine, which is a major problem. To combat this, you can install a bypass valve as a better safe-than-sorry type of a precaution.
Even though installing a cold air intake may not be a major engine change by many motorheads’ standards, it could potentially void the engine warranty set out by your car’s manufacturer, so be mindful of this before you get under the hood to tinker.
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