- Wheels & Tires
One of the most basic and straight-forward upgrades that most enthusiasts install on their gas-powered vehicle to improve performance and efficiency is an air intake.
Your combustion engine is an air pump, inhaling fresh air and expelling spent gasses. While the intake system filters the air for combustion, it can also be a power-inhibiting restriction. This is where aftermarket intakes could help to improve efficiency while also increasing horsepower and torque. Intakes can be subdivided into three categories, the filter upgrade, the short ram intake system, and the cold air intake system.
Factory air filters are typically composed of a paper fiber element. Higher-flowing aftermarket solutions typically offer improved airflow which lends to efficient aspiration and often an increase in output. These filter elements are usually media composed of an oiled cotton, a dry synthetic, or a foam filter. Some can be cleaned and reused while others are disposable.
Short ram intakes raise the performance bar. Positioning the filter element or elements within the engine bay, a short ram intake is ideal for those seeking added performance with the convenience of easy access for filter maintenance. This intake variety often includes a pipe made from silicone, aluminum, or steel making the connection between the throttle body, and the filter. Short ram intakes offer the convenience of easy access for cleaning and maintenance and are best suited for those anticipating adverse weather conditions and extensive commutes.
Cold air intake systems offer the greatest performance gains by design. As the name implies, cold air systems draw ambient air from beyond the engine bay, delivering cooler, denser air to the engine – which then permits the ECU to safely increase the amount of fuel delivered for combustion, resulting in increased output. Cold air systems involve more complex piping in order to route the filter outside of the engine bay to cooler areas behind the bumper cover. These intakes risk more direct exposure to the elements, are best suited for dry driving environments, and require more frequent cleaning for optimal performance.