A very common question we get when a new customer is starting to modify their vehicle is "What does a Cold Air Intake Do?" or "What are the benefits of a aftermarket intake system?"
It's literally one of the first "go to" modifications of new high performance vehicle owners and usually a great choice to increase performance and sound.
A performance cold air intake kit will move your air filter from the factory air stock system outside the engine compartment where air is denser so cold, or cooler air can be sucked into the engine for combustion. Cooler air brings more oxygen into the combustion chamber, which will gain you more power!
A general rule of thumb is for every 10 degree's cooler the intake air charge gets, you will free up roughly 1% in horse power for your vehicle . (the term horsepower, or H.P. is the industry standard unit of power). This may not seem like much, but on some models, you may see an increased performance of 8-15HP.
Cold and short ram intake systems today are mainly made with an aluminum intake pipe tube. When the intake was becoming a wide spread modification, there were actually 2 different kinds of intake piping being used with 2 different train of thoughts. There used to be plastic piping being used on some cold air kits and of course, aluminum intake tube.
Today, as we know, aluminum piping, allows for much better temperature control. Although it does get hotter and take on heat quicker, the aluminum piping dissipates the heat much quicker.
The aluminum piping is cooled down once it pulls in outside fresh, cooler, air. At first, the thinking was plastic did not retain the heat as much, and was a better choice for performance.
However, as we know today, there are no plastic tubing made cold air intakes. It was not an efficient material to be used on street driven vehicles. One red light, and you instantly had heat soak and could never get it cool enough.
Whereas, the aluminum piped version cold air intakes, would cool right back down once you had airflow going through it. Within a few seconds of acceleration the engine would pull enough fresh cool air to get the aluminum piping back down as close to ambient temperature as possible.
With all that being said, some intake systems are still using plastic tubes for short ram intakes, which is usually not a problem as they are accompanied by a heat shield air box, so it maintains a constant source of fresh cooler air.
Another common question we get asked alot is does a cold air intake system increase gas mileage? Adding a cold air intake can help achieve better gas mileage due to the efficiency of the intake airflow. If you were to drive your car at the speed limit, with no hard acceleration, you would absolutely see an increase of gas millage from the cold air intake installation.
However, we like to be honest with our customers. The additional power and roar of the engine, will likely cause you to have worse gas mileage. Once you feel the increased horsepower, and hear the new sound of your engine from the new intake system, you will probably be harder on the gas.
This will obviously cause your MPG to go down. Most customers don't mind this as the sound of your engine roaring from the intake system will surely give you way more, SPG, or "Smiles per Gallon" instead. :)
A Short Ram Intake will still increase amount of power & performance by reducing the amount of restriction compared to your factory intake. Installing a short ram intake will also give your vehicle engine a nice aggressive sound, increasing your SPG, "Smiles Per Gallon". The amount of work installing the intake tube and air filter is also much easier as well.
Short Ram intakes are ideal for high revving engines increasing performance and engine horsepower "up top" in the RPM range. As its name implies "Short Ram Intake", the short distance from the high flow air filter thru the intake pipe to your throttle body allows your engine to breath freely. Allowing your engine to breath freely free's up valuable power that the factory OEM intakes hold back.
Another benefit and choice for some customers choosing a short ram intake over the cold air intake is you run less of a risk in sucking up any water. In the early days of modifying cars around 2000-2005, "hydrolocking" your engine was one of the biggest fears of adding a low hanging cold air intake. Luckily most intake systems now a days also include a heat shield which helps block the engine heat from being pulled in while not having to worry about hydrolocking your motor.
Since then, better designs have made that a forgotten term or worry. However, for vehicles that experience a lot of rain, or deep puddles on the road, we would recommend choosing the short ram air intake over the cold air intake
Sport Compact Warehouse is your premier source for performance air intake systems. We carry a large inventory of both short ram intakes and cold air intakes which have their pro's and cons outlined above. You can find either of them in multiple powder coated color finishes to add some pop to your engine bay as well.
If you have any questions about what the best cold air intake would be best for you, feel free to reach out to one of our experienced representatives. We will help you make a more informative decision for your vehicle and ensure you make the right choice, the first time around.