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There is a simple modification that you can perform on your car that will yield you considerably more horsepower. This modification involves removing your existing air filter and installing a device called a Cold Air Intake. How much more horsepower, you ask? The actual amount will vary from car to car, of course, but experts say you can expect some 5-25 more horsepower with a properly installed cold air intake. And this can cost as little as $100 for the entire kit.

The status quo

Car manufacturers mount their engine air filters in all sorts of spots under the hood. Often the location is dictated more by where there’s room to mount it than where it should be. The problem is that sometimes the air filter gets placed where really hot air is (for example, near the exhaust manifold) and it gets pulled into the engine during operation. The problem with this is that hot air is less dense and contains less oxygen than cooler air. Because of this, it leads to a less power from an engine than cooler air.

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How cold air intakes work

A cold air intake works by moving the engine’s air filter well away from the engine. This assures that cooler air is being sucked into the engine during operation. Usually cold air intakes are mounted up in the front of the engine compartment flanking the radiator. Does this really make a difference, you ask? Yes, the difference in temperature between a remote under-hood location like this and right on top of the engine can be as much as 50 degrees (F). As mentioned above, this equates to some 5-25 horsepower depending on the engine and other details.

Bonus effect

There is a secondary effect that a cool air intake may provide for you. It involves the path that the air intake takes into your car now. Car manufacturers know that the network of tubing that connects from the air filter to the intake manifold should be relatively straight. When it is straight, there is less resistance to air being pulled into the engine and this leads to a little more efficiency. The problem is that there’s a lot of stuff under the hood of today’s cars and the engineers are forced to plumb the air intakes wherever they can. This can lead to some rather convoluted intake piping. This is where a cold air intake system can help. Often a cold air intake is a straighter path with minimal resistance to air flow. The result is a small gain in efficiency just because the intake air flows more smoothly.

DIY project

Yes, in many cases you can mount a cool air intake yourself. It does take a bit of DIY skills and a good set of tools to complete. A garage out of the weather helps too. If these requirements don’t describe you, it might be best to have a professional mechanic do the installation for you. We would estimate that the entire installation would take a professional from 1-2 hours.

Can’t wait to do it on my new car!

Hold on. All we have told you about cold air intakes is true and you can likely install a cold air intake on your car or truck, but be careful. Our friends at Dutchess Jeep of Poughkeepsie, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Poughkeepsie, NY, tell us to be careful. If you have a newer car that is still covered by a warranty, engine modifications could void that warranty. So as much as you’d like to do add a cold air intake to your car, check with your local car dealer first.