Performance Air Intake

A Performance air intake is an easy beneficial upgrade to any vehicle.  A Performance air intake will allow your vehicle to finally “breathe”.  These systems allow more air to be drawn in vs. factory intakes.  The more air your vehicle takes in, the more combustion.  The more combustion you have, the more power. Not only will performance air intakes assist with power gains, they can help you achieve better sound and gas mileage.

There are two types of performance air intakes available in the market. You can either go with a Short Ram Intake (SRI) or a Cold Air Intake (CAI).  Each system has their very own benefits, which we will cover below.  

Short Ram Intakes

K&N Short Ram Intake
K&N Short Ram Intake

Short ram intakes (SRI) are a great factory replacement.  Short ram intakes are usually a simple bolt on replacement.  The SRI will rid you of factory restrictions, and increase your airflow.  This is achieved by smoother piping and open element air filters.

AIRAID Universal Air Box
AIRAID Universal Air Box

Some Short Ram Intakes come with an air box.  An air box is great if your vehicle does not have a heat shield.  Air boxes are also beneficial if you have an issue with your radiator fan recirculating hot air around your engine bay.  A great example of a Short Ram intake with air box are the Volant Intakes. Additionally, if your vehicle already is equipped with a factory air box, replacing it with an aftermarket air box is beneficial as well. It will allow your new system to work more efficiently and promote greater airflow.

Power gains from short ram intakes are relatively low, however with this style intake you can expect better miles per gallon.  You can also expect better throttle response.  Lastly, short ram intakes tend to be more cost efficient then a cold air intake.  This price difference is due to less piping needed.

Cold Air Intakes

AEM Cold Air Intake
AEM Cold Air Intake

A Cold Air Intake (CAI) will relocate your factory air intake outside of your engine bay.  This relocation will move the filter into the upper wheel well or your front fender.  This new location will allow for the intake to bring in much cooler air.  Cooler air is more oxygenated. Additionally, CAI’s use large diameter tubing that allows for better airflow. All of this results in more engine combustion, which as stated earlier, results in more power.  You can expect a power gain from 5HP – 20HP when upgrading to a cold air intake. 

There is one thing to keep in mind when installing a cold air intake.  Since a cold air intake is closer to the ground, its now exposed to more hazardous elements.  The main thing you need to be cautious of is a large puddle.  Although its rare, you can hydro-lock your vehicle.  Hydro-locking is when water is sucked up by your CAI instead of air.  The water then makes its way into your engine, and causes catastrophic damage. To prevent hydro-locking, many manufacturers have developed their own way to prevent this from happening.  A common way this is done is with a air bypass valve.  An air bypass valve is located in the middle of a cold air intake.  The higher pressure of air coming into the air bypass valve would not allow water to get through.  Other companies have created shields for your filter. 

Final Words

When deciding which performance air intake to go with its important to think about your intended vehicle use. Secondly, you should be thinking about the amount of space available in your engine bay / wheel well. As with any upgrade its advised to speak to a professional so they can help you make the best choice for your vehicle.