Discover the Amazing Benefits of Cold Air Intakes

By: Mike Rosania

Your relationship with your car is a lot like your relationship with your girlfriend. When you first get her, she is flawless. I'm talking perfect -- spotless paintjob, shinning chrome, totally clean under the hood, nice tight brakes. But after a few months of breaking her in, you start to realize every little flaw. Where did that dent come from? The engine never used to make that sound, did it? Slamming the gas doesn't give you the same thrill that it used to. Well here is your solution.

Three words - Cold. Air. Intake. Cold air intakes provide amazing benefits for you and your vehicle. A cold air intake may be just what the doctor ordered to rekindle you and your car's passion.

What is a cold air intake? A cold air intake is a system used to lower the temperature of the air going into a car for the purpose of increasing the power of the internal-combustion engine. A secondary goal is to increase the appeal of a car by altering the appearance of a car's engine bay and consequently creating an attractive engine noise.

The cold air intake replaces your car's stock air filter with a cylindrical tube that has cone-shaped filter on the end of it. The long, cylindrical extension tube strategically positions the filter in a cooler part of the engine bay, allowing for the engine to draw in cooler air than a normal filter.

The purpose of the intake is to collect a colder air charge than inside the engine compartment, allowing the fuel management system to give the engine a denser air/fuel charge into the combustion chamber. To clarify: Cold Air = More Horsepower. The warm air from your engine compartment is good for fuel economy, but because it has less oxygen molecules than a cold air charge, the fuel will be leaned out. This increases your fuel efficiency, but decreases your horsepower.

Next time a ricer Civic pulls up next to you at the stop light, you can look over and laugh with confidence. Simply tap your gas and listen to that beautiful intake breathe. His fart-can muffler will pale in comparison to your car's throaty growl.

Cold air intakes are also extremely easy to install. If you have two hands and a screwdriver you can install it yourself. Most kits come with directions, which you will only need as a rough guideline. You basically need to pop out your old air box and pop on your new cold air intake.

But how on Earth will I know which CAI (cold air intake) to get for my car? Well my friend, you are in luck. They recently came out with this crazy invention called the internet. You can research, shop and buy one, all from the comfort of your home. A lot of automotive sites, or at least the good ones, have a vehicle selector features. All you have to do is pick out which year, make, and model you have and the site will return all the intakes that will fit.

K&N is probably the most popular brand, but companies like AEM, AFE, Volant, and Injen also make quality products. The K&N FIPK (fuel injection performance kit) offers gains of up to 26 horsepower. In addition to the added power, the intake will add a nice growl as you accelerate, but isn't too loud.

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