Advantages and disadvantages of installing a cold air intake on your truck

To increase the performance and power of your truck it is not necessary to install a new engine or transmission, although they can definitely be options. An easy-to-install option that is gaining popularity with the truck crowd is the cold air intake. Cold air intakes have long been a staple of race cars and street racing cars, but they can just as easily be applied to your truck. Why would you install a cold air intake on your truck? Let’s first see how they work.

A cold air intake system takes the place of your OEM air filter and intake system. Typically, you will need to remove the original breather box as well as the tubing leading to the engine. By installing a cold air intake, you can add horsepower to your truck. This happens because a cold air intake brings cooler air to your engine. Cold air is much denser than warm air. This means that your engine can burn fuel much more efficiently, increasing its available power. While the payoff won’t be incredible, it will show.

The cold air intake system is generally routed similar to the OEM system, on the engine. However, as you travel from there, you will end up in a different location. Usually this occurs low on the engine, behind the headlights, or even lower. The goal is to get the intake as far away from the heat of your engine as possible. This is the only way to get air cool enough to do the job right.

What else does a cold air intake do for your vehicle? It can increase fuel consumption under certain conditions, although that is not why most people install it in their vehicles. The main reason, of course, is to add power in the form of speed and torque. Some of the most popular brands are K&N and Volant. Understand, too, that adding a cold air intake to your truck will change the way your truck sounds. While it won’t sound like a street racer, it will definitely sound different.

Now, let’s look at some of the downsides of adding a cold air intake.

First, there is the expense. While they are relatively inexpensive compared to other truck accessories and performance enhancers, they represent at least a modest investment. You must also modify your vehicle; many times alone. Some dealerships will not install these devices on trucks, while others will charge hefty labor fees.

However, the biggest drawback comes in the form of water. This threat is much more prevalent in shorter vehicles, such as passenger cars, but it is also present in trucks. Fitting the air filter makes it possible for water to splash from the road or mud onto the air filter. From there, it sucks up the length of the intake pipe until it reaches your engine. Once there, it wreaks havoc. Of course, it takes more than a few drops of water to disable your engine, but the threat is present and should be taken into account when discussing the possibility of adding one of these systems to your truck.

That said, there are some drawbacks to this, especially in exchange for the extra power you’ll enjoy. You can find several quality systems that will work well in this situation, although K&N has been a trusted name for years. Its filters are designed to last a lifetime, and only cleaning is required to continue using the filter.

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